In the long and bloody autumn of 1944, no congressional committee chairman challenged Dwight Eisenhower to set a "reasonable timetable for a change of mission and redeployment of our troops" from Europe. Nor did any member of Congress summon Adm. Chester Nimitz in the aftermath of the battle for Iwo Jima to answer inane questions, such as: "Can you give us any idea as to how long it will take" to defeat imperial Japan? Such timorous bleating would have been unthinkable then, and it should be today.
At the close of his remarks, Petraeus noted, "Nothing means more to those in harm's way than the knowledge that their country appreciates their sacrifices and those of their families." That sentiment may have been lacking on Capitol Hill, but it was abundantly evident at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
While Congress was berating the general and the ambassador, the commander in chief was honoring one of the more than 4,000 Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. In an Oval Office ceremony, President Bush presented the Medal of Honor -- our nation's highest award for valor -- to the parents of Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL. Mike -- as his fellow SEALs called him -- was killed Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, when he threw himself on top of an enemy grenade in order to spare the lives of his fellow SEALs.
His platoon commander, now a lieutenant commander with whom our Fox News team has been embedded, said of the 25-year-old hero, "He made an instantaneous decision to save our teammates." Though wounded by shrapnel in the explosion, one of those with him that terrible morning said of Monsoor's unhesitating action: "He never took his eyes off the grenade. His only movement was down toward it. He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives."
Monsoor is just the fourth member of our armed forces to be awarded the Medal of Honor since war was declared against us Sept. 11, 2001. Call your grandstanding members of Congress and ask whether they know the four names.
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.