Oliver North
WASHINGTON -- My dear friend and fellow Marine Joe Foss -- a Medal of Honor recipient -- would ask me occasionally, "What were you thinking?" The question usually was prompted by my missed shot on a hunt or when he heard me make a confusing comment on radio or television. Given the recent revelations of bad behavior, incompetence, corruption, waste and fraud -- and a deluge of mystifying and misleading explanations -- the potentates of the press are asking the wrong questions. The American people need to ask our nation's leaders and the masters of the so-called mainstream media, "What were you thinking?" A few recent examples:

--The Secret Service scandal. On April 11, security cameras in Cartagena, Colombia, captured images of 11 Secret Service agents and at least 10 U.S. military personnel in the company of prostitutes. Set aside for a moment the lack of moral judgment by the participants or how an "advance team of experts" for the upcoming Summit of the Americas could be ignorant of security cameras. In the aftermath of this incident and an ongoing investigation, the president and likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- also a Secret Service protectee -- both have told reporters repeatedly that they still "have confidence" in Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan. "Why?" That ought to be the next question. But that isn't asked.

Perhaps the most unusual response to this event came from the lips of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At an April 16 news conference on the Middle East, the general was asked for his reaction to the caper in Cartagena. His answer was blatantly political: "We let the boss down, because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident." Let "the boss" down? What about potentially catastrophic security breaches, the incredible lack of judgment or even letting down the American people? But those questions aren't asked, either.

--Hillary's high jinks. On the evening of April 14, day one of the two-day, 33-nation summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently decided to take the heat off the Secret Service by performing for the cameras herself. Her antics at Cafe Havana nightclub were reminiscent of government bureaucrats on a taxpayer-funded General Services Administration boondoggle or a sorority gal at a frat party.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner dismissed the exhibition, saying: "I can confirm that she did indeed have a very good time and was just enjoying some of the nightlife in Cartagena. ... There's nothing to it." In a subsequent interview on CNN, Clinton laughed and said: "It was a lot of fun. We had a very good time just enjoying beautiful Cartagena."


Oliver North

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.