WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Just days ago, I was in Iraq with Marines and soldiers who have left their families to defeat terrorists. They are defending America's interests and safety, building a democracy and befriending the Iraqi people. It's a difficult job, no doubt about it. These young men and women -- America's finest -- work long hours of tough, physical labor in the hot sun, sometimes for days at a time before they get to shower or sleep.
Most of these young Americans are in their early 20s. They are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment and the lives of their fellow soldiers and Marines. If that weren't enough, they also carry on their shoulders the hopes and dreams of Iraqi citizens who yearn for freedom and safety after years of torture and oppression under Saddam Hussein. It's a lot of responsibility for them. After all, the biggest decision of their peers back home is what movie to see on Friday night.
Yet they accept this responsibility willingly and carry out their difficult mission with a positive attitude and an optimism that has always embodied the American spirit.
Back home, there is nothing but a relentless stream of pessimism and criticism from the media and Congress, who have put their indignation into high gear after seeing photographs of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The media's "compassion" for these imprisoned miscreants and suspected terrorists is a front for their journalistic jihad against the administration.
Administration officials have rightly condemned the repugnant behavior at Abu Ghraib prison. President Bush called it "abhorrent." Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld said it was "totally unacceptable and un-American." White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president is sorry for what occurred." Yet that is not enough. The piranhas in the press are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Liberal senators on the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees -- eager for the same media attention given to the 9-11 Commission -- rushed to the nearest television camera and demanded full-scale investigations. But their outrage seems directed more to score political points than to find the "truth."
Let's face it, they have politicized the War in Iraq.
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.