HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- For reasons not altogether clear to me, only brief snippets of Fox News Channel's broadcasts are carried on the satellite signals available on U.S. military installations here in Afghanistan. That means that if I want to watch the news over here, it has to be one of the "major network" shows carried on the American Forces Network -- or the 24/7 broadcasts of CNN International and Al-Jazeera.
That's how thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines assigned to these bases learned that their commander in chief was holding "backyard conversations" in lieu of campaign rallies this election season. And that's where they heard him talk about how "difficult" the war in Afghanistan has become, how "challenging" and "uncertain" it is, and how the outcome cannot be "a sure thing."
Here's some news, Mr. Obama: All wars are "difficult" and "challenging." Most armed engagements are "uncertain" while they are happening. And few are ever "a sure thing" between start and finish. No one I have met here on this visit to these battlefields is prepared to hoist a "Mission Accomplished" banner. But the U.S., allied and Afghan National Security Forces personnel we have talked to on this "embed" overwhelmingly believe we are winning. Perhaps more importantly, it doesn't help the morale or motivation of our troops, our allies or the Afghan populace -- but it does encourage our adversaries -- when the president of the United States is consistently ambivalent about the prospects for victory in this war.
It should be expected in this day and age that the so-called "mainstream media" will prognosticate disaster at every turn. That's what happened during the campaign in Mesopotamia. The potentates of the press told us Iraq was on the brink of civil war and forecast an irreparable sectarian upheaval. They were blind to the Sunni "Awakening" in Anbar province during 2006. Then they ignored the spreading nationalist movement when it was embraced by the Shiite tribes along the Tigris River basin. And now they are wrong about prospects in Afghanistan. All the more reason for our nation's leader to sing a different tune and use his bully pulpit to extol what is being accomplished here in the shadow of the Hindu Kush.
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.
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