• By Bill O'Reilly

    Next month, we begin our 18th year here on The Factor a very long ride. And from the beginning, from the beginning one of my major themes has been the basic nobility of this country. That separates me from some on the left who think the U.S. is an exploitative place where the fix is in against the poor and working classes.

    Simply put, I believe America offers the greatest amount of people the best chance at a free and prosperous life and tens of millions of immigrants agree with me. Folks aren't going to Cuba, China, or even Finland. Folks want to come here.

    Also, since World War II the U.S.A. has literally freed hundreds of millions of people worldwide. We have righted many wrongs at great expense in our blood and treasure. That, of course, is noble. But now many Americans do not want to make that sacrifice any longer. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, those theaters of war have hurt this country. Thousands of brave men and women were killed or maimed. Our treasury depleted.

    Thus, some Americans have had enough. They are now willing to let evil go unchallenged because there is a never-ending supply of it. But I say that we Americans still have a responsibility to stop mass murder when we can as long as we don't damage our infrastructure in the process. Removing Saddam Hussein was noble but the cost was too high. Giving the Afghan people a chance at freedom is noble but the folks there may not care enough to embrace it.

    So what about Syria? No question the Syrian dictator, Assad kills women and children at will. No question, Iran is helping him do it. The evidence is strong that Assad violated the Geneva Convention by using poison gas to kill civilians. Thus, he is a war criminal.

    If the U.S.A. can punish Assad, we should but we have to be smart about it. We can't direct his overthrow but we can send a message to every tyrant in the world, slaughter civilians and you'll pay a steep price. Right now many evil men and women believe the U.S.A. is weak and lacks the courage to right wrongs. Certainly the Russian tyrant Putin believes that and so do some in the Chinese government.

    Back home we now have many Conservative people willing to give Assad a pass because they don't trust President Obama. Ironically, it was about ten years ago that many liberal people did not want to move against Saddam because they didn't trust President Bush. Same mind-set, different ideology.

    If the U.S.A. fails to act against Assad, the unintended consequence would be a loss of respect from those who care about a just world. If we sit back and do nothing, we will set up a free-fire zone where no weapons are off limits. Biological would be next. Mark my words.

    President Obama is correct in asking Congress to affirm his decision to punish Assad. The world needs to see exactly how our system works. Debate on the issue is good but in the end -- in the end, America needs to do what is right. We should use our power to protect the innocent if we can.

    Great Britain may not have the will to do that anymore but we Americans should set a better example for the world. If we don't -- if we don't, we will slowly lose the nobility that was gained by past sacrifice. Unfortunately, in this world, justice can be imposed by one people only -- us. To whom much is given, much is expected.

    And that's "The Memo."

    - You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com.