HUE, VIETNAM -- Tony, congratulations on your new assignment. Your distinguished career in print, radio and TV journalism makes you perfectly suited for the job as the new White House Press Secretary -- and it couldn't have come at a better time. The president and his policies are under attack from the Left and their allies in the so-called mainstream media. So significant is your appointment that it made news even in this far corner of the world.
I've always admired those who stand in the line of fire to defend our country, and your willingness to face a hostile press corps on a daily basis is a testament to your courage and dedication to the president whom you now serve. You know the White House terrain, you've "been there, done that," as they say. What's more, you certainly understand the disdain with which the national press corps treats this president. It won't be easy, but you have the skill, poise and courage of conviction to get it done.
While you were surveying the battlefield that is the White House briefing room with the president, I returned to the old battlefield of Vietnam, on the 31st anniversary of the fall of Saigon. We're shooting a documentary for War Stories on the FOX News Channel (I think you are familiar with that network) about a battle that took place on Ap Bia Mountain near the Laotian border. It came to be known as Hamburger Hill. Our group started out in Hue -- the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, which was the visible centerpiece of the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was here where former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite decided the United States could not win the war.
I mention all this because where you are going -- the White House briefing room -- is home to many of the Armchair Admirals of the major media who have decided that the war in Iraq cannot be won. They came to this conclusion after three years of opposition to the war.
They are wrong, of course -- it can and must be won. You were right to say, in your first words from the White House podium, that "We've got a lot of big issues ahead, and we've got a lot of important things that all of us are going to be covering together."
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.