WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A few days after returning from my seventh trip to Iraq for FOX News, I was called upon to comment on the most recent affront to those who are fighting terrorists in Saddam's former fiefdom. The offense occurred during the January 2nd broadcast of ABC News' "Nightline," when Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a combat-decorated Marine veteran of Korea and Vietnam, was asked by interviewer John Donovan about the Congressman's willingness to serve in our Armed Forces:
Q: "Would you join today?"
Donovan then opined, "And I think you're saying that the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying I don't want to serve."
A: "Well, exactly right."
Set aside for a moment whatever might be happening in Murtha's private, personal or political life that has prompted him to become the point-man for the "surrender now" wing of the Democrat party -- and consider the latent effect of such an exchange on an all-volunteer military in the midst of a war. This is not just dissent. It is at best, discouraging to young Americans who consider donning a uniform to be a noble way of serving their country. At worst, it is potentially disastrous.
Murtha's echo of the '60s mantra, "Hell no, I won't go," heard chanted on college campuses during the Vietnam war, is a step further into defeatism for the anti-military, blame-America-first leaders of his party. Fortunately, few of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines I have interviewed in Iraq have ever heard of Murtha. Unfortunately, thanks to the efforts of the so-called mainstream media, his words may well prompt some here at home to dismiss military service. In the midst of a war against brutal terrorists who fly airplanes into buildings, blow up trains and sever the heads of innocents, it undermines both America's effort in Iraq and presents problems for our national security as a whole.
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.