Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
The war in Iraq, what really happened? -- That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
The following information comes from a single well-placed source with direct access to the Bush administration. Now I usually like to get two sources on things like this, but that's not possible right now. So take this memo for what it's worth.
As has been widely reported, the Defense Department is running the Iraq campaign with the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies, pretty much spectators to the decision making. Donald Rumsfeld and his deputies allied themselves early with Ahmed Chalabi (search), the Iraqi exile who wants to be president of Iraq.
Chalabi fed Rumsfeld in the Pentagon information that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And he also gave this information to "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller. The scenario, of course, turned out to be wildly overstated.
From the beginning, the military and the CIA did not trust Chalabi, with General Tommy Franks (search) specifically despising him. When Chalabi demanded to be on the scene for the fall of Saddam's statue, Franks said no, defying Secretary Rumsfeld (search).
Chalabi also told the Defense Department that his organization could run the civil service in Iraq during the occupation and that Saddam's army and the Ba'athists running the country for Saddam should all be fired, which they were. That turned out to be a disaster, as many of those people are now actively fighting against the coalition.
Chalabi also allegedly bragged about his personal relationship with reporter Judith Miller. And now "The New York Times" once again finds itself in a very difficult position. Many of Ms. Miller's stories turned out to be wrong. And her friendship with Chalabi is a potential embarrassment for the paper, which doesn't need that after the Jason Blair fiasco.
Now President Bush allowed Rumsfeld and his team to dictate the Iraq strategy on the strong advice of Vice President Dick Cheney, who also bought into the Chalabi propaganda. Now the Bush administration is scrambling to recover from the mistakes. And Chalabi is in deep trouble. The gloves are off. And the CIA which hates him says he spied for Iran.
Finally, we have told you, and as my source confirms, many military commanders in Iraq simply have no confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld, who is seen as indecisive and tainted by the Chalabi association. The Pentagon and Rumsfeld office are supposed to be on the same page. They are not.
President Bush has taken the first step in reorganizing his foreign policy situation by saying goodbye to CIA Chief Tenet. More resignations are likely.
So summing up, the U.S. government bought into Ahmed Chalabi's scheme and America is paying a big price for that decision. That's what happened. And that's "The Memo," which can be down loaded from The Factor Web site for your perusal.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
A new Gallup (search) poll says that 53 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 do not know who the USA fought in Europe during World War II. Can you believe it? Ridiculous off the chart. And I believe the poll, the collapse of the public education system in this country is staggering. Also popular culture has robbed many young people of any kind of learning in their leisure time.
Which leads me to rap superstar Jay-Z. In a new song entitled "Threat" the performer says this: "This is an unusual musical I've conducted. You're looking at the black Warren Buffett (search). I don't care if you see Dolores Tuckett or you're Bill O'Reilly, you won't be riling me up."
Hey Jay-Z, I don't want to rile you up. I just want to know what you're talking about. How do I get in these songs?
--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