During the first 24 hours of the invasion, nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors and airmen were declared "MIA" -- missing in action. Many of the paratroopers, Army Rangers, "straight-leg infantrymen" and small-boat crewmen who were listed as "unaccounted for" in the first 48 hours of the invasion were eventually identified posthumously by graves registration personnel. Those captured by the Germans were re-listed as POWs -- prisoners of war. Some were never found and remain among the 74,000 World War II "open case files" at the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command. Today, in the 10th year of the global war on terror, it's the political elite in Washington and the so-called mainstream media who are MIA.
Though more than 155,000 Americans in uniform are serving in harm's way in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf and on anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean, the politicians, pundits and potentates of the press aren't inclined to dwell on our nation's heroes. Instead, they are preoccupied with the salacious sexual escapades of a creepy congressman, the prurient details of a mother-child murder trial in Florida and a president's plummeting poll numbers. Unfortunately, there are some things happening around the world that are likely to prove far more important than these highly covered events. Here's a sampler:
Defense Secretary Bob Gates, on his around-the-world goodbye tour, called home from Kabul -- and again from NATO headquarters in Brussels -- to warn against pulling too many U.S. troops out of Afghanistan this summer. That's not what President Barack Obama wanted to hear in the midst of playing musical deck chairs with his "national security team" on our ship of state.
Gates, who retires at the end of the month and will be replaced by current CIA Director Leon Panetta, has warned that anything more than a "modest withdrawal" would jeopardize "gains that have been won at such hard cost." Gen. David Petraeus, slated to be the next CIA director, is mum about future U.S. troop levels. And Ryan Crocker, designated as our next ambassador in Kabul, spent much of his Senate confirmation hearings this week answering questions about corruption in the Karzai government.
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.