Criticism of the War Effort

Legitimate criticism of the war effort is the subject of this Talking Points memo. 

A new CBS News/New York Times poll says confidence in America's war against terrorism is already waning, with just 28 percent of Americans strongly believing that the United States will kill or capture Usama bin Laden and only 29 percent confident the war on terrorism will result in a total victory.  That being said, an astronomical 87 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling his job. 

The problem is that we Americans are an impatient people and that the media is reporting on the problems the U.S. military is having in Afghanistan. 

Now, there are some Americans who believe that the media should never say a negative word while America is engaged in combat.  I get letters saying that all the time.  These people want to give the government full authority to do anything and everything without scrutiny.  That, of course, is dangerous, as we saw in the Vietnam War, where the government lied to us and created a disastrous situation. 

That being said, the media should be cautious and cut down on the speculation.  We don't know what's really going on inside of Afghanistan.  There's only one American reporter in Kabul and she is restricted in her movements.  Today we learned that U.S. forces are operating on the ground in that country.  I think that's enough information.  We don't need to pinpoint military strategy. 

But we do need to know if we are making progress toward our goals in a general way and the Bush administration should be up front about success and failure.  The public is mature enough to accept some setbacks because all conflicts have them. 

Finally, getting Usama bin Laden is a must.  That has to happen.  Bush's entire political future rides on bringing that man to justice, preferably dead.  So I am very confident America will find him.  There is simply no alternative, no matter how long it takes.  And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Jesse Jackson wants to cancel Halloween.  You guys think I make this stuff up, but I don't.  Rev. Jackson is calling for a nationwide boycott of trick-or-treating.  He says it's too soon after the terror attacks, and everybody should spend the night with their families.

I say give the little kids a break.  They look forward to Halloween all year.  So I'm against the boycott.  As always, you decide who's ridiculous.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: