WASHINGTON -- On July 4, President George W. Bush told the troops and families of the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.V. that, "Our first Independence Day celebration took place in the midst of a war -- a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom." He went on to urge "more patience, more courage, more sacrifice," in order to achieve victory in Iraq. If we were to quit Iraq before the job is done, the president explained, "the terrorists would follow us here," and he reminded his critics, "These people want to strike us again."
What he didn't do was describe just who "these people" are. In the aftermath of last week's botched terror attacks by eight medical professionals in Great Britain -- explaining who "these people" are has became more difficult, and the potentates of the press aren't about to help him.
Mainstream media coverage of the three-part event -- two car bombs that failed to detonate in London and a flaming SUV driven into the front of the airport terminal in Glasgow, Scotland -- was a bigger dud than the doctors' poorly designed vehicular-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Even before the terror suspects were identified, cable news and wire service reports were trying to link the botched attack to the war in Iraq.
MSNBC described the attempted attacks as a "chilling new threat: Iraq-style devices. The car bombs were similar to highly destructive explosives used in Iraq and could have killed hundreds of people." According to AFP, "terror threat returns to London after two Iraq-style car bombs were defused." The words "Iraq-style" were hyped in dozens of other print and broadcast reports.
Activists and politicians who want to begin extracting U.S. and British troops from Iraq have seized on the London-Glasgow events as "proof" that the mission in Iraq has already failed. Readers, listeners and viewers are drawn inescapably to the conclusion that this attempted attack would likely not have happened had British troops been withdrawn from Mesopotamia. But those who know anything about terrorism realize that the description of this most recent event as "new" or "Iraq-style" is at best incompetent -- and at worst a scam.
First, it is interesting to note that while one of the alleged perpetrators, Dr. Bilal Abdullah, is apparently a refugee from Iraq, not one of the British government, police, or intelligence spokesmen who have described the London-Glasgow devices -- or those detained in connection with the failed attacks -- has uttered the words: "Iraq-style." The phrase is entirely the creation of the media.
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.