WASHINGTON -- For three years, politicians and pundits have been challenging the president's policy of spreading democracy around the world. Can't be done, particularly in the Middle East, they tell us. Won't help to make us safer, they claim. It's become a mantra of the left. To support their assertion that democracy has reached inevitable limits, they cite problems in Afghanistan with a resurgent Taliban and, of course, the U.S. "failure" in Iraq. Both of these issues were raised repeatedly with President Bush during his news conference on the economy this week.
Despite evidence of progress on the ground in Iraq, the masters of the media intend to continue their barrage of defeatism, and the majority in Congress appear unwilling to desist in their attacks. The mainstream media all but ignored news releases from Iraqi and coalition commands on successes against both Iranian-backed terror cells in Baghdad's Sadr City and Al Qaeda's network in Northern Iraq, Salahuddin, Diyala and Anbar provinces.
Instead of covering these stories with in-depth reporting from the front, the potentates of the press launched a shock-and-awe campaign of their own. The target? The Iraqi Parliament -- for taking a monthlong recess in the midst of a war.
Perhaps the media and politicians who are so outraged that the Iraqi legislature is on vacation should learn a bit of history. The British Parliament recessed for all but one holiday -- the summer of 1940 -- throughout World War II. In keeping with this democratic tradition, the U.S. Congress has done the same thing during every war we have fought, including our own Revolution.
Rather than firing barbs at the Iraqi legislature, critics should focus their ire on Capitol Hill. The 110th Congress, led by Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is setting new records for irresponsible behavior. Though they have found time to launch more than 600 investigatory hearings, our good senators and congressmen fled Washington this week for a month in the sun without passing any of a dozen appropriations bills, including those needed to support our troops in the field. This week, the shipment of new armored vehicles, necessary to protect U.S. soldiers from deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), was postponed for lack of funding.
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.