Oliver North

 BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Maybe it's something in the water. Perhaps it's a disorder created by the political silly season back home in the United States. Whatever the cause, it's pretty clear that Sen. John Kerry and a lot of my "colleagues" in the so-called mainstream media have been infected by a very bad case of Gloom and Doom.

 Based on Kerry's comments during the Great Debate this week -- and the punditry of his press pals -- we're in deep trouble here in Southwest Asia. To hear him and his buddies, the barons of bombast spin it, President Bush "took his eye off Osama" in Afghanistan and let him "get away" just to embroil America in the "quagmire" of Iraq. Where have these people been windsurfing, Madrid?

 Thankfully, the pessimistic prognostications that infect the Kerry camp and his cronies who pass for correspondents have yet to adversely affect the troops here or in Afghanistan. Earlier this week at the coalition base at Bagram, north of Kabul, I listened to soldiers and Marines who have been pursuing the remnants of Al Qaeda -- and helping to bring about next week's election -- the first real democratic ballot in the country's history. Set aside for a moment the belief of many -- from Kandahar to Kuwait -- that Osama has been dead for years. The most frequent complaint I heard at Bagram was that the "good news from Afghanistan never gets reported." Nobody grumbled about inadequate resources devoted to hunting Osama.

 At Bagram, where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Eduardo Aguirre welcomed dozens of our military personnel as new American citizens, I asked several if having more U.S. troops would help catch bin Laden. No one said, "Yes," but many replied with a question: "Where would they look, Pakistan?"

 Interestingly, these new citizen-soldiers serving in the shadow of the Hindu Kush seemed to believe: "These elections are a critical step forward in Afghanistan's transition to democracy. After years of suffering under a brutal and repressive Taliban regime, Afghanistan is free from tyranny and no longer a safe haven for terrorists." Those are the words of their commander in chief. Perhaps that's why the folks at home haven't heard them.

Oliver North

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.