There are three vital issues on the defense secretary's desk right now: the border, Iraq and Iran. Each of those things affects your life, your security.
Now on the border, I believe the Bush administration is being far too timid. A new FOX News poll shows the president has actually lost a few points since announcing that 6,000 National Guard troops would go to the Mexican border to help the border patrol.
Most of us think that's not nearly enough and that the Guard should be actively employed — not just backup — to stop the flow of human beings and narcotics into America.
But the president and Secretary Rumsfeld are being very cautious. Americans, however, are in no mood for cautious. On Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld remains a true believer in the ultimate victory there. I agree with him victory would greatly help this nation, but I am not as confident as is he is in the ultimate outcome. However, he knows far more than I do about the situation. And I respect his point of view.
Likewise on Iran, the secretary sounded confident the situation can be contained. I sincerely hope he's right. The only way President Bush will regain popularity and rise in the polls is if the folks see tangible improvements in Iraq, in border security, and in oil prices.
A billoreilly.com poll question shows that 69 percent of "Factor" viewers believe the president can come back, but a healthy 31 percent say he is done.
Finally, Secretary Rumsfeld is facing another Iraq setback if accusations that some Marines killed innocent civilians is borne out. Lt. Colonel Sean Gibson e-mailed me to say the investigation into that matter is not complete and no assumption should be made. Fair enough. Let's wait until the NCIS submits its findings.
All in all, the interview with Donald Rumsfeld was informative and needed. We are living in tough times. And the secretary is there to look out for us.
As always, you are "the decider" as to whether he is doing that.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
While many Americans feel the federal government is not getting tough enough on the border, one man cannot possibly feel that way, because...he's dead!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector fired at a black SUV after it tried to run through U.S. barriers and get to Mexico. The driver in the vehicle was killed. He is a suspected illegal immigrant smuggler.
The border was shut down for nine hours because of this incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Ridiculous? You make the call, but things are getting tense on the southern border. No question about it.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org