WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I was reminded recently of the 1975 classic movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," starring Jack Nicholson as Randle Patrick McMurphy, a rebellious convict who gets himself transferred from prison to a mental hospital hoping that his incarceration will be easier under the authority of medics in white coats than prison guards with billy clubs. McMurphy soon realizes that life in the institution is a great deal more destructive than any prison could be.
The hospital is run by the evil and uncaring Nurse Mildred Ratched, who takes sadistic pleasure in stripping McMurphy and the other patients of their freedoms and self-reliance. Many of them have voluntarily checked themselves into the hospital and can ask to be discharged at any time. But they wind up staying for years because they believe this is an Institution of Healing -- if only they stay longer, their condition will improve. But they don't. There is just something about the institution -- the atmosphere, the conditions and the supervision of Nurse Ratched -- that guarantees that the patients' mental health will only deteriorate, but never improve.
In McMurphy's case, the institution forces him to undergo a lobotomy to "cure" him of the mental problems that were caused by the institution itself. It's a sad and depressing film whose commentary on the care in mental hospitals sparked some much-needed reform in that industry at that time in America's history.
I was reminded of the film after reading Jed Babbin's latest book, "Inside the Asylum: Why the United Nations and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think."
In it, Babbin, a former deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, describes how so many political leaders -- like the patients in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" -- continue to put their faith and trust in the United Nations, even after it fails them again and again. Babbin outlines the problems America faces when we attempt to conform U.S. national security policy to the dictates of the United Nations -- an asylum that is increasingly run by the inmates.
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.