A crucial decision in Iraq.
That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo. U.S. troops have surrounded radical Iraqi cleric al-Sadr (search) in a Najaf mosque. This vicious man has caused the deaths of hundreds, maybe thousands of people and hides behind a sacred shine for protection.
Al-Sadr knows that if American troops enter the mosque, that would be used by Muslims all over the world to stoke up even more hatred against the U.S.A. But what choice is there? This al-Sadr has to go.
In just a few moments, we'll talk with terrorism expert Ralph Peters about the situation, but "Talking Points" has come to the conclusion that the Bush administration has to fight to win right now in Iraq. Al-Sadr has had enough chances. He's a killer and he will not stop until Iraq becomes a fundamentalist nation, just what the world does not need.
So al-Sadr has to be neutralized now. If the Bush administration does not do that, it will not be fighting to win. Iraq at this point could go either way. Continue appeasement of terrorists will definitely lead to defeat, which of course, would be a disaster for America.
In a perfect world, Iraqi troops would enter the mosque and dispose of al-Sadr, but this is not a perfect world. And it seems the Iraqi forces are not up to the task.
So U.S. Marines may have to do it. And it should be done quickly. The longer this plays out, the more propaganda value it will have against the U.S.A.
There's no question Iraq is a huge campaign issue in the coming election. President Bush will lose the vote if the Iraqi situation does not improve. And it will not improve if al-Sadr isn't dealt with.
With him out of the way, at least there's a chance for some stability in that chaotic country. History will tell whether this whole Iraqi effort was worth it. But for now, immediate action has to be taken, mosque or no mosque. And that is the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Radio talk show guy Imus in the Morning (search) canceled an appearance by Victoria Gotti because she demanded certain questions not be asked. We back Imus on this one. We also feel Ms. Gotti's television program is appalling. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What? What?
VICTORIA GOTTI: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What?
GOTTI: Did we not have this discussion last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What discussion -- that I shrunk it down for -- what's the discussion?
GOTTI: What you shrunk it down to.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do me a favor...
GOTTI: What you shrunk it down to. How big was it, John?
GOTTI: You didn't tell Tula that you were just kidding with me last night?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ... that's what I told Tula. I was going to put it on the side of my back.
GOTTI: What did you say here? You moved it over an inch?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I did move it over an inch.
GOTTI: You know, John, I want you away from me right now. I don't want to talk to you. I don't even want to look at you right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You're crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Rather cleaver family. That's all we need in America, more examples of children disrespecting their mother. Ridiculous? Way more serious than that ... disgraceful.