GEORGETOWN, S.C. -- "What's this guy running for, emperor of the world?" asked the sunburned fellow at the next table where we stopped for lunch. Mr. Sunburn was holding a copy of the local newspaper and pointing to a headline, "Obama pledges to work for peace." The inquiry, addressed to those sitting beside him, elicited only shrugs, so he answered his own question: "Just doesn't make any sense to me."
The Obama Machine's "Hope and Change" world tour has left more than a few people perplexed. Some -- such as the gentleman beside us at the restaurant -- are American voters who wonder why the presumptive Democratic nominee is campaigning in foreign countries for president of the U.S. Others. These voters seem baffled by the places and people chosen for meetings and photo ops with the candidate. Apparently, among the mystified are members of the media, who should have been asking tough questions. A brief look at what actually took place during this 10-day soiree only adds to the confusion.
The first five legs of the Obama overseas campaign swing were paid for by the U.S. taxpayers. Billed as a "congressional fact-finding trip," it included Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and GOP dissident Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.
The first stop after departing the U.S. July 17 was Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. There Sen. Obama preened for the cameras with U.S. troops playing basketball -- a stunt unlikely to be replicated by Sen. John McCain, whose war wounds keep him from raising his arms over his shoulders and doing a decent layup.
Shortly thereafter, I got my first inquiry from a colleague, who asked, "Why do all the images taken by the U.S. military and released to the public show Obama in such a positive way?"
The answer, of course, is simple: No one in our armed forces today knows who the commander in chief is going to be in January, and no one in uniform is going to send out images of the man who could turn out to be their boss showing him picking his nose or committing a foul under the backboard.
Then it was on to Afghanistan for a surreal meeting in Jalalabad with Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of Nangarhar province. Though the governor is suspected of being involved in the Afghan opium trade, no one in the mainstream media questioned the propriety of such a confab. Later on Saturday, the "CODEL" -- militaryspeak for "congressional delegation" -- received a briefing at Bagram Air Base from Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commanding general of the NATO Regional Command East. Again, the photos and videotape were spectacular.
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.