Therefore, "news" from here tends to spotlight corruption in the Karzai government, the tribulations caused by pervasive opium production and American military losses. Reports datelined "Kabul" and stories filed from Kandahar and Herat frequently cite the ineffectiveness of the Afghan National Security Forces. Yet when Gen. David Petraeus commended the ANSF after the recent elections for "safeguarding a weapon with greater potential than any other: the people's right to vote," he was all but ignored.
The consistent theme in the U.S. media is that we are engaged in a war that cannot be won. "Reporters" here and editors at home have decided their theme: Afghanistan is a lost cause. It's all George W. Bush's fault for ignoring "the necessary war" and picking a fight with Saddam Hussein.
Negative news infatuation disorder is the only rational explanation for the exuberant coverage of the palace intrigues perpetrated by Washington insiders depicted in Bob Woodward's new book, "Obama's Wars." Instead of covering the troops fighting this war and concentrating on the far more relevant issue of how it is being fought, it's far easier -- and apparently more fun -- to focus on internecine battles within the present administration.
Some of the salacious gossip Woodward chronicles does, of course, matter to the outcome of the campaign in this difficult and dangerous place. In one passage widely circulated in advance of the book's release, the president is quoted as saying: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever ... we absorbed it and we are stronger." If this comment is cited accurately, it is a stunning, unprecedented and particularly heartless perspective for a democratically elected head of state.
Totalitarians often speak of the punishment their followers will tolerate. But no other Western president or prime minister -- even in the midst of World War II -- is quoted as saying his civilian population should be expected to "absorb" nearly 3,000 killed and nearly as many injured by an adversary in order to fulfill a political goal.
Thank goodness few of the warriors we are covering here in Afghanistan are even aware of the intrigues swirling in Washington or the negative news so fascinating to our media elites. The troops here are too busy fighting America's real enemies.
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.