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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

Declining American military morale in Iraq, that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.  A Washington Post article today says some U.S. troops are frustrated because the occupation in Iraq is  dangerous and difficult.  With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and some violence directed at  them by Iraqis, it's easy to understand how our fighting men and women could become disenchanted while on the defensive in a place thousands of miles from home.

Even though most Iraqis are grateful the coalition removed Saddam, people are generally selfish.  And chaotic conditions bring out hostility.  There's nothing that really can be done, other than imposing discipline in that difficult country that takes time.

Iraq, like most of the Third World, is made up of various factions, all of whom have different agendas.  And the USA cannot afford to allow anti-American factions to seize power.  Thus, we have to keep a big military presence there until free elections can be put together.

In the meantime, the Bush administration should ask other countries around the world to send peacekeepers to give the rebuilding effort in Iraq a global touch.  Mr. Bush could offer the countries that  help us out some oil discounts in the future, things like that.

As for the military itself, there should be as many rotations as possible.  Soldiers need to know when they will come home.  That would be a morale booster.

How bad is morale over there?  Well, we asked Colonel David Hunt to find out.  He'll be here in a few moments, but I suspect it's very tough.  Nobody likes to get shot at by thugs hiding behind civilians, but that's the situation the occupying forces face.

Things in Iraq will get better, but our forces need to maintain discipline.  And countries friendly to the USA need to help us out.  If that happens, victory will be achieved.

And that's The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

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No "Most Ridiculous Item" on Friday, June 20.

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