"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival." -- Winston S. Churchill
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sir Winston delivered that line in the House of Commons on May 13 1940, in his first address as Prime Minister. As he was speaking, the French and British armies were reeling from Hitler's onslaught through neutral Belgium. It's a good thing Churchill didn't have "war heroes" like Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., in Parliament. Otherwise Great Britain might have been compelled to surrender at Dunkirk.
Regrettably, Messer's Kerry and Murtha are but the most visible and strident members of an increasingly ambitious cult of catastrophe. Though they claim to "support the troops," this is no "loyal opposition." Instead, their party -- and a pliant press corps -- has pushed this dynamic duo to the fore in demanding that the United States abandon Iraq and forego any hope for success in the Global war on Terror. To them, and the broader capitulationist cabal to which they belong, there shall be no "good news" from the battlefield, every American casualty is regarded as a campaign issue, and only critics of the war have credibility.
It's apparent from last week's acrimonious debate in the House of Representatives and this week's raucous ranting in the Senate that their party's leadership believes that a steady drumbeat of dismal defeatism is the best way to return Democrats to power in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Whether that's true or not remains to be seen -- but the "surrender now crowd" has unquestionably emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies overseas. A few recent examples:
Tokyo, alarmed over North Korean willingness to flight test its multi-stage, nuclear-capable Taepo-dong II intercontinental missile has decided to withdraw its 600 troops from Iraq and bring them home in the event that an emboldened Pyongyang becomes more aggressive.
From Caracas, Venezuelan strong-man Hugo Chavez, awash in petro-dollars, is actively intervening in the upcoming Nicaraguan elections. With overt and covert help from self-described "Bolivarian Socialist" Chavez, Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas are poised to reassert control over Nicaragua.
In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad, perceiving weakened American resolve, is slow-rolling a U.S.-European proposal offering incentives for Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. Meanwhile, the Iranians continue their crash program to install and "spin-up" more centrifuge arrays -- essential to manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear material.
In Mogadishu, Somalia, a coalition of radical Islamic groups, calling itself the Islamic Courts Union, has proclaimed that it now administers the Somali capital under "religious law." Though U.S. and allied forces are in neighboring Djibouti, the clerics and Islamic radicals appear confident that political discord in Washington will prevent any interference with their plans for establishing a Taliban-like regime.
And to prove once again that "good news" in Iraq is "no news" back home, the leaders of the "Get Out Now" movement either ignored or derided the announcement this week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that "more than 500 artillery rounds containing Sarin and Mustard gases have been found in Iraq." Rather than congratulating U.S. troops for locating and destroying these weapons that would be lethal in the hands of terrorists, the "Blame America First" crowd denounced the find as "nothing but old ammunition dating to before the first Gulf War."
Until now troops fighting the war have shrugged off the critiques. Because they understand the consequences better than most, they have largely ignored calls from the Kerry-Murtha Axis to set a "hard and fast deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces." To an extraordinary extent they have continued to re-enlist and volunteer for repeat tours of duty in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. And while all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines I have talked to in the last few weeks understand being held accountable for their actions -- they do not comprehend the politico-media fascination with negative news. Getting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a one-day story. American "atrocities" are news forever.
Earlier this week, shortly before the Pentagon announced that seven Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman would be court-martialed for crimes in Iraq, Sen. Richard "Dick" Durbin, D-Ill., stood in the well of the Senate to complain that we were fighting a war "that has gone on for more than three years -- with no end in sight." The next day a recently returned soldier I had covered in Iraq for FOX News called me up and said, "If we pull out now, the terrorists win." He then asked, "Where will we fight them next -- here?" It's a question the defeatists dare not answer.
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.