On Wednesday, before Marine Corps or U.S. officials in Afghanistan could even verify the origin or authenticity of the video, it was up on more than a dozen websites and produced an instant firestorm. Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos described what appears on the video as "not consistent with our Corps values" and ordered an immediate investigation of "every aspect of the filmed event to determine the facts." He pledged, "Once the investigation and preliminary inquiry are complete and the facts have been determined, then the Marine Corps will take the appropriate next steps."
That's what should happen. But that wasn't enough for the masters of the media. Within hours of the video's appearing on the Internet, "reporters" launched a global race to interview any and all who were willing to express righteous outrage over "the actions of our servicemen" and thereby disparage the reputations of the millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines who have served honorably and courageously in more than a decade of war.
By Thursday, with no new facts yet in hand, White House spokesman Jay Carney felt compelled to tell the world that President Barack Obama finds the event to be "deplorable" and "reprehensible." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's spokesman described the "hideous" incident as "egregious, disgusting behavior." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found a microphone to express "total dismay at the story concerning our Marines."
And as we found with Abu Ghraib and Newsweek magazine's phony 2005 story about a Quran's being flushed down a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, blanket criticism of U.S. military personnel quickly goes global. In Kabul, Afghanistan, before the nationality of any of the apparently dead enemy combatants could be confirmed, President Hamid Karzai accused "American soldiers" of "desecrating dead bodies of three Afghans."
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.