FRESNO, Calif. -- In the U.S. military, there is a wonderful little expression: "A good plan never survives the first contact with the enemy." The corollary to this rule is: "Expect the unexpected." Then, of course, there is the expanded version of the Boy Scouts motto: "Be prepared -- for anything." This week has served to remind me how apt these quaint little expressions really are.
My plan for this week was very simple: conduct a series of quiet interviews for print and broadcast media and a few low-key appearances in preparation for the release of my new book, "American Heroes -- In the Fight Against Radical Islam." B&H, my publisher, and Fox News, my employer, had put together a launch plan that ensured we would promote the book first on Fox News. Then I would go on a relatively brief tour, signing books near military bases. Because the book is about the soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines I have covered in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Philippines, it all seemed very uncomplicated. Then the Rev. Jeremiah Wright intervened.
For reasons known only to the Rev. Wright, he chose this week to drag me into the mess he has made of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. During a surreal appearance Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, the Rev. Wright said that his congregation, of which Sen. Obama is a member, had "stood in solidarity with the peasants in El Salvador and Nicaragua while our government, through Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal, was supporting the Contras, who were killing the peasants and the Miskito Indians in these two countries."
When Wright made this stunningly inaccurate comment, I was blissfully unaware that he even knew my name -- until my cell phone started buzzing. In short order, the interviews we so carefully had arranged to talk about "American Heroes" became interrogations about events that took place more than two decades ago. I wanted to talk about the young Americans currently serving in harm's way -- the subjects in my new book. Unfortunately, the people calling me wanted to talk about presidential politics and ancient history. So much for the plan.
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.