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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly, reporting tonight from Los Angeles.  Thanks for watching us.

In the Impact segment this evening, we begin our Iraq coverage with a look at the Chirac and the pope situation.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo

Both the French government and the Vatican continue to be adamantly opposed to military action against Iraq.  If Chirac and the pope get their way, Saddam will keep his power and keep his weapons. 

That's because the USA cannot mass troops indefinitely, and everybody admits the only reason Saddam is disarming at all is because he is under pressure from American forces. 

So once those forces leave, and France is not going to put their soldiers there, Saddam is free to go ahead and continue doing whatever he wants.  Surely Chirac and the pope know this.  So what are we to think of these men?

"Talking Points" believes President Chirac is a man who does not care about the American people at all, a man who's jealous of U.S. power and who has placed his country's economic interests above the security of Americans. 

Also, by enabling Saddam to stay in power, Chirac has become a favorite among the terrorist set.  They see him as a protector.  Thus, it's less likely France will get attacked but more likely America will continue to be in danger. 

So it's quite obvious that Jacques Chirac is no friend to the U.S.

The pope, on the other hand, is another story.  He continues to say that an attack on Iraq would be immoral, but the pope is not anti-American in my opinion.  He a man of peace.  I believe that.

But as I've said before, I believe also that John Paul is naive and detached from reality.  If America does not lead an attack on Iraq, once again, Saddam remains in power and is free to use his anthrax and other terrible weapons as he chooses. 

So the pope does not seem to be concerned about that or about Saddam's behavior in general.  Once again, he must know Saddam is a killer.  He must know he's oppressed his own people using murder and torture.  He must know that. 

Is that scenario OK with the Vatican?  Is a murderous dictator immoral?  Isn't it morally right to neutralize a mass killer?

These are important moral questions for the Vatican to address, and immediately, if it wants to retain credibility among the American people, including Catholics like me. 

Selective indignation over military action is a tough argument to make.  You either confront evil or you don't.  But those who confront it, it seems to me, should not be labeled immoral. 

Summing up, Jacques Chirac is our enemy, and the pope, well, I don't know what to think.  I'll let you decide. 

And that's The Memo.

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