PHILADELPHIA -- This week's Army-Navy gridiron classic was preceded by a lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy from the Commander in Chief on the topic of "Victory." The speech immediately sparked a bitter partisan debate. Some pundits claim that the venue for the president's remarks gave the Midshipmen an edge over the Cadets on the football field. Unfortunately, most of the criticism was anything but lighthearted -- had nothing to do with sports -- and exacerbated the belief of many that the leaders of the Democrat Party deem partisan political interests to be more important than the good of our nation.
Since the summer protests outside his ranch in Crawford Texas -- followed by plummeting polls -- visceral opponents and weak-kneed Republicans have been urging President Bush to variously "pull out now," "set a timetable for withdrawing American troops" or benignly "lay out a strategy" for "where we're going" in the war on terror. All of this culminated in votes taken last month in both the House and the Senate on whether we should "stay the course." On Nov. 30 allies and enemies alike got their answer: a well delivered 40-minute speech and a 35-page report entitled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."
Both the speech and the accompanying document lay out a clear-cut definition of victory in a war that is now in its 32nd month. Importantly, both the president's speech and the National Security Council's report clearly articulate why victory in Iraq is of such vital interest, the consequences of failure and the goals and strategies of our enemies. Critics would do well to carefully read these sections before moving on to the eight "pillars" -- the objectives on which the whole plan is based. Sadly, the report will not get the visibility it deserves -- for it is unclassified and made publicly available to the media. If the administration had stamped it "Top Secret" and "leaked" it to the New York Times and CNN -- it would have been front-page news.
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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