WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Our so-called mainstream media just don't get it. A major, historic announcement was made this week -- and most of the potentates of the press missed it. Maybe that's because it wasn't made during the prurient trials of Scott Peterson, Kobe Bryant or Michael Jackson -- where most of our national press corps seems to have their celebrity-seeking attention focused.
Maybe that's why they weren't paying attention on Monday this week when President George W. Bush announced that as many as 70,000 troops and their families will soon be returning home from the European and Asian theaters. Maybe he made a mistake by saying it to my comrades-in-arms at their annual VFW convention in Cincinnati, because when he gave this stunning announcement, no reporters rushed to their laptops to file a story. They didn't all immediately grab their cell phones to call their editors. None of the big, hotshot television anchors rushed to check the tape. Nope, they just let it go with a yawn. Kind of like A-Rod batting a foul ball into the stands on his first pitch.
There is hope, though. John Kerry must have had a spy in the crowd, and as soon as he heard about the president's redeployment plan, he came out against it. Now that the Democrat presidential candidate has announced his opposition, there's hope. The masters of the media love controversy. Now they can come out against it, too.
Kerry surrogate, Wes Clark, was also paying attention. Air Force One had barely lifted off for Washington before the little general was looking for a microphone to whine that "now is not the time to pull back our forces." Clark ought to try that line on his pal Kerry, who wants to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq where they are needed, instead of out of Europe where they are not.
In his address to the annual VFW convention, President Bush noted that the world has changed dramatically since the post-World War II era, when we needed tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Europe and Korea. The War on Terror has replaced the Cold War. The Middle East has supplanted Europe as the global military hotspot. Meanwhile, U.S. military capabilities have grown exponentially.
Yet Kerry now charges that bringing servicemen and women home from Europe will somehow threaten U.S. national security. Why? Doesn't he trust them? Or was he so "seared" by imaginary events in Vietnam that he didn't notice that the wall has come down, the Evil Empire has collapsed and the Middle East is now the nexus of Global Terror?
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.