Now in order to make sense out of Iraq, you have to make a list of the good things accomplished and the bad things that have happened. Phony ideologues who say it's either all good or all bad are simply not telling the truth. The Iraq adventure has succeeded somewhat and failed somewhat.
First, the good thing: Saddam Hussein (search) is gone. The Iraqi people are basically free, at least for now. Syria and Iran, countries that help terrorists, are much more cautious with American troops on their borders. Saudi Arabia, another terrorist enabler, is also in a bad spot because the USA doesn't need their bases anymore.
Libya has folded and has given up its nuclear program. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic jihad can no longer train in Iraq or get money from Saddam. And Al Qaeda cannot operate as easily throughout the entire Gulf region. Those are all solid accomplishments, ladies and gentlemen.
Now for the downside: The weapons of mass destruction debacle has been a huge embarrassment for America, especially abroad. Many foreign countries continue to hate the USA. And the WMD situation gives them even more ammunition.
Terrorists have poured into Iraq and continue to kill Americans. The Iraqi people are still not fully cooperating with the USA. So-called U.S. allies like France are now even more haughty because the Iraq occupation has been so difficult. They'll be less inclined to help us in the future. And the U.S. military continues to be under enormous strain.
So there are the lists. You can compare them and make up your own mind whether the Iraq adventure was worth it. Of course, history will be the final judge. But over the next eight months, Americans will have to decide whether the president was right in going into Iraq. Right now, 52 percent of Americans, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, agree with the president, while 44 percent disagree.
Talking Points still supports the Iraq adventure because it's now much more difficult for Al Qaeda to operate. The USA has a stronger presence in the Middle East, much more intel, and has intimidated some countries that had helped Al Qaeda in the past, countries like Oman and Yemen.
So one year later, Americans should be circumspect when thinking about Iraq. Hundreds of Americans have been killed there, thousands wounded. Still not an easy call, but I think it was the right thing to do.
And that's the Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Thursday night, we told you that you might have some money due you and to check out unclaimed.org. I guess thousands of you did because the site crashed, but the following viewers did get paid last night. Of course, this is just a partial list. We don't have time for all of them:
Marine PSC David Cascarella, Okinawa, Japan
Jason Edwards, Noblesville, Indiana Patrick Dooley, Upland, California
Robert Cooper, Breckenridge, Colorado
Jane Howard, Charlotte, North Carolina
Patti Adams, Chino, California
Mary Jane Ethington, Vernon, Texas
Matt Scafidi, Gainesville, Florida
Charlie Newman, Amarillo, Texas
Jim Johnson, Ladera Ranch, California
Tom Kilgore, Las Vegas
Charles Foley, New South Wales, Australia
They all went on the Web site and got paid: www.unclaimed.org. So check it out. There's money to be had.
Ridiculous? Not at all. We're looking out for you. Come on. You've got to believe it.
--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: firstname.lastname@example.org