Washington, D.C. -- As Americans celebrate our 227th Independence Day, we do so with more than 150,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines in Iraq, over 10,000 in Afghanistan, 6,000 in the Balkans, tens of thousands at sea around the world in warships and several thousand more now poised for deployment to Liberia. For all of them, any fireworks they observe on the Fourth of July are more likely to be deadly than celebratory. And, if we are to believe the polls, while they stand in harm's way around the globe, an increasing number of Americans here at home are becoming war weary.
This past week, both Fox News and the Gallup organization sampled American public opinion regarding the ongoing military action in Iraq. Both polls show that since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq to have ended, there has been a precipitous drop in public approval for staying the course. Dr. Frank Newport, the Gallup organization's editor in chief, told my radio audience that the 56 percent of Americans who now say they support military action in Iraq is down from a high of 76 percent in April -- a 20-point drop in exactly two months. When I asked him "Why?" he responded that, "the fact that we continue to take casualties and the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction are the primary reasons" Americans have changed their minds.
We have taken casualties. As of this writing, 26 Americans have been killed by enemy action in Iraq since May 1. And no stores of nerve agents, bio-toxins or nuclear weapons have yet been found in Saddam's treasure trove of armaments. Throw in the fact that we have yet to find either Saddam or Osama. Does this explain such a drastic softening of resolve in a nation that less than 22 months ago suffered 2,790 killed at the hands of Islamic terrorists?
Or is something else happening here? Has the mind-numbing, hyperbolic blather of Senator Robert Byrd finally taken effect? Have we succumbed to the globalist-pacifist rant from John Kerry and Howard Dean as they chase each other to the left in their quest for a presidential nomination? Or are we simply paying too much attention to the quagmire commentaries of the negative nannies in the Democrat party?
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.