WASHINGTON -- When I was a young Marine, we were encouraged to read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" as a primer on conflict. Our mentors were officers and senior noncommissioned officers who had served in World War II, Korea and the early days of the conflict in Indochina. These were serious men for whom the profession of arms was no trivial matter. They taught us that Sun Tzu's tome, from the sixth century B.C., was relevant to the fight we were headed for in Vietnam and would serve us well in the future. According to Sun Tzu, "The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Therefore, it is a subject that must be seriously studied." The most recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize appears to have ignored this sage advice.
Prior to President Barack Obama's departing for Oslo this week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked whether Mr. Obama would be "accepting the Nobel Peace Prize as a war president."
Gibbs' stunning response, uttered with a straight face: "Exactly."
Unfortunately, we are at war. But there is scant evidence in Mr. Obama's words, actions and schedule that he is a "war president."
On Dec. 10, our "war president" flew to Norway to accept a surreal Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" and his "work" to build a "world free of nuclear weapons." In accepting the award, Mr. Obama eloquently apologized for America's past failures -- going back to Woodrow Wilson -- and credited himself with "banning torture" and closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. In a brief "presser" afterward, he once again took pains to emphasize his arbitrary and unprecedented July 2011 withdrawal schedule for the troops he just ordered to combat.
If the war is important to Mr. Obama, why did it take 10 months to decide that there is a need for 30,000 additional troops to fight in Afghanistan? If those who fight the war are important, why was there no rebuke for Chris Matthews, the left-wing commentator who described Eisenhower Hall at West Point as "the enemy camp"? And if building public and political support for the fight against radical Islam in Afghanistan and Pakistan is crucial, why not deliver the address before a joint session of Congress?
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.