CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Some people just don't get it.
John Kerry couldn't figure out why his fellow swift boat veterans attacked him so vehemently after launching his presidential campaign with that "reporting for duty" line.
Jane Fonda confesses to being "befuddled" about why Vietnam vets, many even older than she is, hurl epithets -- and more -- when she shows up to hawk her books.
And now, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and his colleagues are wondering why so many people refuse to accept his "apology" for slandering the men and women of our armed forces by likening them to those of Hitler, Stalin and Cambodia's Pol Pot.
In failing to comprehend the consequences of their words and actions, the Fonda-Kerry-Durbin trio serves as an archetype of the far left in misunderstanding the antipathy most Americans feel toward those who aid and abet our enemies.
Of the three, Durbin's June 14 verbal assault from the well of the U.S. Senate is the most egregious. Fonda's self-gratifying capers with the communists in Hanoi were conducted as a private citizen. Kerry was in a similar status when he made his unfounded, attention-grabbing atrocity accusations in 1971 before a congressional subcommittee.
But Durbin is no private citizen. He's the minority whip, the No. 2 ranking member of his party in the Senate. His were no "off the cuff" remarks. His unsubstantiated accusations of "barbaric treatment" at our terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo came before an assembly that arrogantly describes itself as "the world's greatest deliberative body." Thus, it could not have been a surprise to him or his fellow-travelers that his words flashed around the world, demoralizing our troops in the line of fire and offering our enemies a propaganda windfall.
Every major media outlet throughout the Middle East gave "lead story" status to Durbin's unconscionable remarks. Two days later, after he refused to recant, Al-Jazeera, Saudi Television, Al-Arabya, Lebanon TV and other mouthpieces for our Islamo-fascist adversaries gleefully reported, "U.S. Senator Stands by Nazi Remark." And, unsurprisingly, Durbin's belated, tearful, pseudo-apology on June 21 has been ignored by that same media. And he still doesn't "get it."
Those who now say "we can put the situation behind us" because Durbin has finally done "the right thing" are wrong. First, the serious damage done to our country and our military will not be easily undone. Second, what Durbin offered was no apology or act of contrition: "I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings."
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.