Oliver North: U.S. Troops and Iraq's Future

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You've seen him deliver hard-hitting commentary on Fox News, where he also hosts an award-winning show called War Stories.  But LtCol. Oliver North is a bestselling author as well. 

His new book, which was edited by CBN's own Chuck Holton, is called American Heroes in the Fight Against Radical Islam. I sat down with LtCol. North recently at CBN's Washington, D.C. studio, where we discussed the book, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, the book: a New York Times bestseller that details North's experiences covering American military units in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines.

Click play to watch Erick Stakelbeck's entire interview with Col. Oliver North.

"We got back from Afghanistan--Holton was over there with me, and my production team from Fox News Channel--and we covered what was happening on the ground over there," North told CBN News. "The wonderful thing about this book is it puts out a new chapter about Afghanistan that looks at the broader picture-some of the mistakes that have been made, how we got to where we are, and gives some thoughts about where we ought to be going. And my hope is that folks in this new administration will pay attention."

"I know that the American people are buying American Heroes because they can't keep it on the bookshelves," he added.  "And really, it's just their stories about what they've accomplished out there in this long and very difficult war."

Remaining Optimistic on Iraq

In the book, North recounts his time with U.S. troops in Iraq. He's optimistic about Iraq's future, and told us that January's provincial elections were a watershed moment in the country's slow march towards democracy.

"Eighty-five percent of the electorate goes to the polls, 65 percent of those who voted were women." he said. "Women are changing Iraq. Think about this: young Americans wearing flak jackets and helmets have become the protectors of Muslim women and children. That's what going to change that culture. It's not going to be a Jeffersonian democracy. But women are not going into business, into politics...to have their kids grow up to become suicide terrorists."

North--a former Marine who has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for his own combat service--praised the performance of U.S. troops in Iraq, which he has frequently witnessed firsthand.

"What's been happening in Iraq, what young Americans wearing flak jackets, helmets and flight suits have done is...created the circumstances under which Iraq can become our closest ally in that part of the world and still have a representative government," he stated.  "And that's going to be a very good thing considering what's going on in that neighborhood."

Tackling al Qaeda, Iran

The situation in Afghanistan, he explained, is more complex.

"The current borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan are artificial," North told us. "The Pashtun tribal folks who live all along there, the Tajiks, the Uzbeks--they don't recognize that border. Neither does the Taliban, and certainly neither does al Qaeda."

"What's got to happen," he continued. "Is the United States has got to invest itself in creating some kind of opportunity in Afghanistan besides growing heroin. 90 percent of the world's heroin is coming out of that country."

As for the nation, many consider America's number one foreign policy challenge, Iran, North is doubtful that the Obama administration's diplomatic overtures can succeed.

"The reality of it is, we've been doing this now with the so-called six-nation talks and all of the European Union, Russia, China and all the rest of them, and it hasn't worked," said North. "The sanctions that have been imposed have not worked. Clearly, they have not been universal enough to really get [Iran's] attention."

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CBN News
Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Correspondent

Erick Stakelbeck is a sought after authority on terrorism and national security issues with extensive experience in television, radio, and print media. Stakelbeck is a correspondent and terrorism analyst for CBN News.  Follow Erick on Twitter @Staks33.