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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly, reporting from Washington.  Thanks for watching us.

The pope weighs in on Iraq, that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo

In response to President Bush's ultimatum to Saddam, the Vatican has issued this statement today: "Those who decide that all peaceful means that international law makes available are exhausted assume a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history."

Pope John Paul II, as you may know, opposes military action against Iraq without, "a world consensus," which, of course, is impossible. 

Back in '99, the pope also opposed the bombing of Yugoslavia.  You'll remember President Clinton avoided the U.N., ignored the objections of France and under the banner of NATO, destroyed the infrastructure of Milosevic's government, leading to a regime change. 

Along the way, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was accidentally bombed, causing worldwide outrage.  During all of this, Tom Daschle said nothing.  Ted Kennedy said nothing.  But the pope said plenty.  He didn't like the bombing then and doesn't like military action now. 

However, as much as I respect the John Paul's desire for peace, if no military were taken, Milosevic and Saddam would keep their power.  Thus, thousands of people would continue to be murdered.

So my problem is if peace doesn't stop atrocities, what then?  The destruction of innocent people is a fact under the regimes of Milosevic and Saddam.  The pope's opposition to remove those men by force is also a fact. 

Saddam has ruled for 24 years.  Milosevic was in power for 11 years.  Peaceful means did not remove those tyrants.  As a lawyer Catholic, my conscience will not allow me to watch innocent people be brutalized, while good people stand on the sidelines.  That, in opinion, is simply wrong. 

The leadership of the Catholic League says I despise the pope.  That is bearing false witness-- flat out.  I admire John Paul as a philosopher and as a humanitarian.  I simply think he's a terrible administrator and is wrong about dealing with killers. 

At this very moment, the pope is allowing Cardinal Mahoney to stonewall authorities in Los Angeles who are investigating priest pedophilia.  At this very moment, the pope is harshly criticizing the American government for confronting Saddam, a psychopath who has weapons that could wipe out millions. 

This Sunday when I go to mass, I will pray that the pope will understand that children need to be aggressively protected, and so do adults who are threatened by tyrants.  And sometimes that protection can only be provided by force.  God, forgive me. 

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

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

Our pals over in France have thrown up a Web site that's encouraging French citizens to send pretzels to President Bush. --You remember the president fainted and fell off a sofa last year after gagging on a pretzel.-- Once again, France showing its true colors.  Of course, it's ridiculous.  And we continue to encourage you not to buy French stuff, particularly their pretzels.

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