Published January 14, 2015
This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 17, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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The soldiers have already set up a fund to help Steve-O begin a new life in America:
JH Iraqi Youth Trust
6660 Delmonico Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
JOHN KASICH, GUEST-HOST: Thanks for staying with us. I'm John Kasich reporting for Bill O'Reilly. In the unresolved problem segment tonight, fighting in the holy city of Najaf (search) intensified today even as peace talks were going on to end the standoff. In an interesting development, the radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has invited the pope to come mediate in the situation.
Joining us now from Washington is Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis. Colonel, as we look at Najaf, the heaviest fighting we've seen in months, how's it going down there, are we making progress?
LT. COL. BOB MAGINNIS, MILITARY ANALYST: Well, progress, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder. Sadr thinks he's making a great deal of progress, John. He's spinning this story like a Washington politician to his advantage. You indicated that eight of the delegates from the Iraqi congress went down there to try to get him basically turn in his weapons and abandon the sacred shrine. But he's not going to do that.
You know, this is like Lucy holding the football and Charlie Brown is stupid enough to keep trying to kick it. We have had a number of truces with this man. Somehow, he'll finagle another truce if we don't watch him. And, in fact, I believe that his populism, his popular support is on the rise. You know, asking the pope in there is really trying to glean support...
KASICH: That's a nutcase, asking for the pope to show up there. Now, Bob, look, does he have any support, or is he a figurehead maybe for the Iranians or for other radicals? I mean, the guy's not a religious figure. He never was. He's really a fraud. So does he have any base of support?
MAGINNIS: Well, he does among the gangs that are RPG carriers, you know, the disenfranchised youthful population that, you know, didn't have a purpose or a job before Saddam fell, and subsequently, just don't have any direction in life. He comes along -- they were not very religious beforehand, and of course, he's not much of a cleric in the eyes of the rest of those religious people.
KASICH: He's not a cleric, period. He's a fraud.
MAGINNIS: He is a fraud, John. But the reality is that, you know, the guy has held us at bay.
KASICH: Oh, he has, he has.
MAGINNIS: I'm very concerned that we don't need a Fallujah two here. And if we're not careful -- you know, we have the ability to go in there, there's no question.
MAGINNIS: But Allawi is walking a very tight rope. And behind the scenes, John, you know, you've got the likes of the Iranians that are supporting a host of these figures, to include him to a certain degree. All they want is to make sure Allawi's future is in the drain, that they don't have a democratic government in that part of the world, because that's going to hurt Iranian clerics who just are jealous of them.
KASICH: All right, well, I agree with that, Bob. Now, the real critical question here is if we can get Iraqis to go into these mosques, that would put a good face on it, wouldn't it? It would help us to clean this up, is that correct?
MAGINNIS: You have 800 national guardsmen and a special battalion of...
KASICH: And Bob, they've been fighting. They've been actually fighting these insurgents, which means to me that there is some progress being made, because Iraqis are actually fighting for themselves, correct?
MAGINNIS: Oh, a great deal. The Iraqis have improved in their capabilities, especially some of these battalions. They've been killing other Iraqis who have stood up against the government and against what they have in their best interest. Yes, we could go in there, John. But keep in mind, it's booby trapped right now. You've got probably hundreds of fighters.
They've been poking their noses out of that shrine, firing at us all along for the last week or so. So you know, they're well fortified in there. They'll stay there as long as we're allowing them to do that. Now, I think Allawi, unfortunately, he keeps flip flopping on his story. Today he is saying lay down your weapons. But the reality is, I think, he'll go through this again. He is just not firm enough.
KASICH: Bob, people might say, "Why doesn't the U.S. go in and take that shrine down?" I've tried to tell people that would be like marching into the Vatican. You could end up doing yourself far more harm worldwide than what you gain there. Is that the reason why we've resisted, and is that why Iraqis themselves can get this done with approval worldwide?
MAGINNIS: There are 160 to 200 million Shias in the world. Sixty percent of the Iraqi population are Shia. That's the most sacred of all Shia places in that country, perhaps in the world. So we don't need to have it desecrated. But if anybody's going to go in there and pull that renegade out of there, it's got to be Iraqis. Allawi knows that, and hopefully, he'll find the spine to pursue that particular objective.
KASICH: All right, Colonel, I'll tell you, I'm getting to the point where I'm fed up. I want to be sensitive, but frankly, this guy's got to go, period, and we're going to have to force them or, frankly, we may have to take some stronger action. Always good to have you, thanks for being with us.
Our own Heather Nauert joins us now with an update on the incredible story of a 14-year-old Iraqi boy who has been providing the U.S. military with, well, incredible intelligence. Heather, this kid is unbelievable. His name is Steve-O. Tell us what you know about him.
HEATHER NAUERT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. Well, Steve-O lives along the Iraqi-Syrian border town of Al Qaim. Soldiers from the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment ... company, essentially, were based up there. And these guys were getting hit up to 10 times a day by insurgents.
They would get some intelligence from the locals, but oftentimes, this intelligence was bad and, sometimes, intentionally misleading. One day, this kid you're looking at on the screen right now shows up and tells these soldiers that his father leads a 40-man cell of terrorists in the area.
So the soldiers, of course, don't quite believe him. They think it might be a setup. They go to the kid's house. Sure enough, they find a stockpile of RPGs, AK-47s, explosives, you name it. So the soldiers then knew that this kid was giving them some valuable intelligence.
They detained his dad and another guy. At the time, they knew if they let the kid stay home that the kid would likely be killed because he had, by then, folks would know that he had collaborated with the Americans. So they brought the kid back to their base. Lo and behold, the kid gives them piles and piles of incredible intelligence that enabled them to take more than 40 enemy fighters off the streets.
KASICH: Now, they killed his mother, is that right?
NAUERT: That's right. Once it was determined by the locals that the kid had worked with the Americans, his mom was killed.
KASICH: Heather, how is this possible? I mean, how does a 14-year-old kid stand up against, you know...
NAUERT: His dad.
NAUERT: Exactly. Well, especially in that part of the world, kids are particularly very close to their families, don't like to betray their families, so to speak. This kid's dad, Steve-O's father, had wanted Steve-O to become a fighter alongside him... had given Steve-O an AK-47 and said, "Go out and kill Americans." Steve-O went out on a couple of occasions to do it, but he didn't want to fight -- he didn't want to kill anyone.
KASICH: So you think the influence of mom -- you know, mom's critical. You think mom played a...
NAUERT: He was very close to his mom, yeah.
KASICH: What's going to happen to him? Are we going to bring him here?
NAUERT: He is scheduled to come to the United States within just a couple of weeks for medical treatment.
KASICH: Wow, wow. Let me tell you, that would be a huge story here when he comes. I hope that we'll pay attention to it. Do you think we will?
NAUERT: Absolutely. Well, I think they would like this kid to go on and live a normal life. Now, he'll get medical treatment once he's here. He will have the opportunity to apply for asylum. The soldiers have been talking with attorneys who have also been talking with the Department of Defense, the State Department, other federal agencies about his story. And the hope is that he'd be able to stay here in the United States.
KASICH: You know what, Heather? The world needs heroes, and sometimes, they're just 14-years-old.
NAUERT: That's absolutely right.
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