BAGHDAD, Iraq - Former Marine Oliver North says Americans don't send their sons or daughters off to fight for gold or colonial conquest. "We do it to give other people the hope of freedom, and that's what they've done here in Iraq."
Twelve trips to the war zone as an embedded correspondent for FOX News have given Oliver North a unique perspective on the Global War on Terror. Most recently, he was in Iraq reporting on the five-year anniversary of the conflict there.
"The campaign was to make Iraq a better place, after Baghdad fell on the 9th of April," North told CBN News. "Its been a difficult job, very complex. We've seen it degenerate into sectarian violence and a kind of radical Islamic terrorism," he continued. "Quite frankly, it was very, very difficult to overcome and yet today we've been out down the street without a flight jacket and helmet where we've never been without being shot at."
Many of the troops responsible for this progress have endured three tours in Iraq, and their stories are preserved for posterity in North's newest book, called "American Heroes."
"This war is being won by young Americans who deserve to have their story told," North explained. "And the American people ought to be very proud of the kind of sons and daughters that they've got that wear the uniform today."
While North doesn't hesitate to point out that serious tactical mistakes have been made by U.S. Military commanders, he's very excited about the current state of progress in Iraq.
"I believe that the momentum in this campaign is in the right direction," he said. "And the American people will see it in this book, they'll see it in the documentary, they'll see it in the stuff you shot while you were here. And hopefully that will start changing some hearts and minds back at home - the only place this war could possibly be lost."
*Original broadcast May 13, 2008.