WASHINGTON -- "Does anyone know or care that we're turning things around over here?" The query was in one of several dozen e-mails I received this week from troops with whom our FOX News "War Stories" team has been embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them are on their third -- some even their fourth -- combat tour. The sender was chiding me for going to the Philippines to cover his comrades-in-arms in the campaign against Abu Sayyaf instead of heading back to Mesopotamia. In fact, his plaint could have been aimed at anyone in the so-called mainstream media -- where good news is no news -- and no bad news story is too old to resurrect with a new lead.
The soldier's lament is valid. As congressmen prepare to embark on their weeklong Independence Day recess, there will be no vacation at the beach for the 177,000 U.S. troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. While the rest of their countrymen are carping about $3 per gallon gasoline and whining about long lines at airports, young Americans deployed along the Tigris and Euphrates will don 50-pound flak jackets and Kevlar helmets and do battle against suicidal Islamic radicals in 130-degree heat. But no matter how effective our troops are, it's unlikely to make its way to the front page of your newspaper or the evening news.
If things continue to go as they began this week on Operation Arrowhead Ripper, there will be major successes against Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Baqubah and Diyala province. In Al Anbar, the Marines and their Sunni allies will continue the process of building new police stations and bringing security to neighborhoods once dominated by Al Qaeda. And in Maysan province, Iranian-supported Shiite militias will continue to get rolled up by U.S. and British Special Operations units. But little of that -- other than the inevitable casualty figures -- will be worthy of being called "news" by the potentates of the press.
Instead of good news from the war zone -- the masters of our media have decided to feed us a steady diet of bad news from a different battlefield -- Washington. And to do so, they have had to scrape the bottom of every political barrel they can find.
Tony Blair's departure from office -- after more than a decade as Prime Minister of Great Britain -- was depicted as a "major blow to Bush." Descriptions of Blair as the president's "last foreign ally" were a common theme, along with prognostications that the new PM, Gordon Brown, would move to "expeditiously withdraw British troops from Iraq." The fact that Blair had announced his intention to step down nearly a year ago was barely mentioned in these commentaries.
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.