Neither John McCain nor anyone in his campaign asked me to write this column. But I cannot sit silently while my fellow conservatives do to John McCain what GOP "moderates" did to me. Today the stakes for our country are far higher, and the implications for the future are far greater than who sits in one of 100 U.S. Senate seats. Now our nation is at war against a vicious foe. We need a president who has proved how to win it.
During the course of the past six years, I have made a dozen protracted trips to cover U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines defending us against a jihad hostile to all that we hold dear. In the dark days when Iraq's Anbar province was the bloodiest place on the planet, John McCain was one of the few in Congress brave enough to venture into that cauldron. I know because I saw him there.
During those trips, he listened to bright, brave young Americans wearing flak jackets and flight suits and became a steadfast supporter of a winning strategy for ending this long and costly conflict. But the senator's commitment goes far beyond political rhetoric. One of his sons is a student at our alma mater; the other is a Marine Corps lance corporal serving in harm's way. Thanks to John McCain's vision and resolve, a few weeks ago, my cameraman and I walked in shirt sleeves down streets in Ramadi and Fallujah, where we used to dodge bullets, IEDs and RPGs.
The election in November will determine how we proceed on the most profoundly important matter confronting our nation: the crucial outcome of an unprovoked war being waged against us by radical Islam. All other issues, as important as they are, pale in comparison to achieving victory over those who seek to destroy our very way of life.
Sen. McCain has pledged to win this war. We must do so, for the consequences of failure would be staggering. But as he has acknowledged, he cannot do that without the support of conservatives who man the phone banks, raise the funds, walk the precincts and turn out the vote on Election Day. I hope my fellow conservatives will decide as I have: We need John McCain as commander in chief.
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.