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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

The rights stuff, that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.

The Greek Chorus about constitutional rights continues over American citizen Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah Al-Muhajir.  The Bush administration says he's a battlefield combatant and the military will deal with him.  Padilla's lawyer and some others are saying his rights are being violated because he's not being charged in a criminal court.

Senator Tom Daschle is asking why we didn't know about Padilla's arrest in Chicago for a month, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is fretting that Mr. Bush is trying to scare us.  Wow!

Let's take them one by one.  First of all, Jose Padilla did not have a job.  He had no visible means of support.  Yet Jose whipped around the world like a frequent flyer miles champ.  First Jose goes to Pakistan, a vacation spot, to be sure.  Aren't you thinking about taking your family there this summer?  See the Musharraf wax museum, the Al Qaeda water slide?

Forget Orlando, Lahore, Pakistan, is the place to be.

So then Jose travels around with some big Al Qaeda guys, according to the big Al Qaeda guy we captured, Abu Zubaydah.  Jose leaves South Asia, goes to Switzerland, then goes to Cairo to see his Egyptian wife, and finally lands in Chicago with 10 grand in cash.

Not bad for an unemployed guy.

After the feds pick him up, other feds raid his apartment in Pakistan and find out his computer is loaded with stuff on how to make a radioactive bomb.  Nice hobby.

But we still hear the wailings of Padilla's attorney and others.  We are violating his rights.  He should be tried in criminal court.  Where's the evidence?

Please.

The issue, once again, comes down to war versus crime.  We are fighting a war against terror.  Padilla is a suspect terrorist, and has been classified as a battlefield combatant based on his activities in South Asia.  That's perfectly legal in the USA.  Let the military deal with him, citizen or not.

If Padilla were to be tried in a civilian court, he could lawyer up, and the government would have to produce Abu Zubaydah.  Bye-bye any further cooperation from him or any other captured terrorist.

The big mistake the Bush administration is making is not asking Congress for an official declaration of war.  That would eliminate much of this rights debate.  Why that isn't happening is a mystery to Talking Points.

Finally, Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who last week mocked U.S. intelligence for their 9/11 failures, is now saying, quote, "It is bad enough that the terrorists are using fear as a device.  Does the Bush administration have to do the same thing?"

Well, yes, it does, Miss Dowd.  If Padilla was thinking about a radioactive bomb attack, the public has a right to know about that.  And if Ashcroft kept it quiet and something did happen, he'd be hung.

As for Senator Daschle, hey, the authorities might not have announced Padilla's arrest, senator, because they were looking for his friends.  And CBS is reporting that one of them has now been captured in Pakistan.  That's what happens in war, Senator, you capture the enemy and develop information.  We don't need to know everything on the battlefield real time.

Summing up, this hysteria over Padilla's rights is foolish, and war is different than crime.

OK?

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

The Swedish parliament has passed a bill that would make it illegal in Sweden to talk critically of homosexuals or any other "alternative lifestyle group."  If the bill becomes law, another vote is required in September.  Then preachers who condemn homosexuality in the pulpit in Sweden or read Old Testament passages from the Bible could be prosecuted.  The bill passed by just a slight margin in Stockholm, but it is ridiculous.  And if it becomes law over there, trust me, you'll be seeing this kind of stuff over here.  It will never pass, but you'll see it.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com