FALLUJAH, Iraq -- For three weeks, my FOX News team has been immersed in little more than what's been happening around us. Memorial Day isn't, as they say over here, on our radar screens.
The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines we've been covering and living with in Al Anbar Province have been focused on chasing terrorists, avoiding IEDs and staying alive. They call it situational awareness -- being alert to only the friendly and enemy situation in the immediate vicinity is an absolute necessity for these young Americans in harm's way in this hot, dusty and dangerous place. And because these troops believe that what they are doing is important to their families and their country, it's a good thing they can't see what passes for "news" back in the states.
Earlier this week, we arrived at TQ, once one of Saddam's air force bases, now a major U.S. logistics installation between Fallujah and Baghdad. While we waited in a sweltering concrete hangar for a helicopter flight to Baghdad, one of the Marines offered the use of his "office," a plywood enclosure inside the revetment, so that we could charge the batteries on our equipment. Unfortunately, he also had recent editions of several U.S. newspapers and magazines, and a television. We made the mistake of reading the papers and turning on the TV.
The single satellite service in the region that airs U.S. programming carries only one cable news network, and it isn't FOX. Like the periodicals, the broadcast was a broadside of anti-American propaganda, worthy of a radical Islamic website. There were stories about how the Newsweek fable about U.S. prison guards desecrating the Quran "could have been true." Others provided the latest casualty figures from IEDs and suicide car bombers. Several highlighted the conviction of a U.S. soldier for "war crimes."
As is commonplace, various "experts" derided U.S. policies and tactics, bemoaned the "terrible consequences" for America in the region and whined about the absence of an "exit strategy." In one, Gen. Wesley Clark proffered a diatribe on U.S. failures. The rest of the "news" was about Michael Jackson's pedophilia trial and the threat of a "nuclear option" in the U.S. Senate over judicial nominees. There were no success stories, no mention of courageous U.S. troops carrying the fight to the enemy and no "knowledgeable authorities" testifying about how things just might be getting better 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.
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