John Kerry (search) lost the presidential election because he had no coherent strategy to fight the war on terror. Pleading with France to help out didn't cut it with many independent American voters.
As "Talking Points" has pointed out, the anti-Bush forces in America pretty much object to everything Mr. Bush is doing to defeat terrorism. They're against coercive interrogation, the Patriot Act (search), increased surveillance and action on illegal aliens, the war in Iraq, Guantanamo detention, rendition, profling at airports and on and on and on.
But, like John Kerry, the anti-Bush people have no strategy to fight terror. They're simply critics. The hard truth is that many Americans — and I will say most who live overseas — lack the will to defeat Islamic fascists. Every misstep and mistake America makes in this brutal war is highlighted and blown up into front-page news. One mistake by a soldier, and it's an international scandal. No country can win a war this way.
During World War II, America and Britain killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Germany and Japan. Bombs dropped on civilians all the time. The strategy was to break the enemy's will to fight. Can you imagine that strategy today? There's no difference but scale between Al Qaeda (search) and the Nazi killers. No difference at all. But the outcry over the rights of the terrorists is deafening, and it's putting all of us in grave danger.
Once again, if Al Qaeda is able to obtain a nuclear weapon, it will use it. Keep that in mind the next time you see a front-page New York Times story about the rights of captured terrorists.
Today, President Bush vowed to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda and other murderous outfits. Mr. Bush believes a pro-active aggressive War on Terror must include holding governments like Iraq, Syria and Iran responsible for actions that help terrorists.
Now the anti-Bush forces and some conservatives who are included in that group disagree. They want a more passive approach, a world consensus before action is taken.
You can make up your mind on that, but keep this in mind: President Bush may well succeed in liberalizing the Middle East and creating some democratic process there. The elections in Iraq gave Mr. Bush a big lift, and fairness dictates that we Americans give his strategy a chance to work. Oversight is needed, no question about it. Criminal behavior must be punished as we are a nation of laws. But this constant, unrelenting, undermining of the terror war is wrong and incredibly misguided.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
A new Marist College poll about the 2008 presidential race says that most Americans still don't want Hillary Clinton to run. Forty-nine percent say don't do it, Senator. Forty-six percent say she should make the effort.
Since there's no question Mrs. Clinton does want the top job, the poll will not influence her. But one thing might: Bill Clinton must have more heart surgery, and that is very tough for a man as young as he is. We wish the former president the best. To not do so would be ridiculous.
I—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org