We had quite a trip to Afghanistan, the frontline in the war against terror. Like our trip to Iraq last year, we went to Afghanistan primarily to say thank you to the 25,000 Americans currently serving there. It is a very tough place.
Again, this is not O'Reilly playing foreign correspondent. I'll leave that to our fine FOX News reporters based overseas.
Now during our journey, we were able to meet thousands of troops, many of whom stood in line for hours to see us. We brought to gifts and well wishes from "Factor" viewers. And I was honored to speak with so many patriotic Americans:
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We just came over to say thanks to all the troops who are protecting us from very bad people. Happy Thanksgiving. Nice to meet you. You know, I'm just hoping the Afghans help you guys out is the key to it, you know. That's how the bad guys are. We sure appreciate your patriotism, sir.
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Now these brave men and women were very much like our troops in Iraq, determined to beat the terrorists — in this case the Taliban and Al Qaeda — who have wreaked havoc on the poor people of Afghanistan.
We had a very tight itinerary, but covered a lot of ground. And in the process, I spoke with most of the Americans in charge of this theater. I learned the following. The Taliban has adopted the suicide bombing techniques of the Iraqi terrorists, but unlike Iraq, Afghan terrorists have to operate secretly in much of the country because they lack popular support.
The reason the Taliban still operates at all is that the Pakistani government allows it to hide inside Pakistan. Iran is now sending bomb components and other weaponry to the Taliban. NATO forces are not able to control the opium industry. And as a result, Afghanistan now provides most of the world's heroin. But very little of that comes to America, where Mexican heroine dominates the market.
Some NATO countries in Afghanistan, like Canada, Britain, Australia and Poland are aggressive in the fight. Some other NATO countries are not.
The Afghan army will fight but the police remain largely ineffective and corrupt. U.S. forces are aggressively on the attack and have dealt the Taliban grievous losses. So far, about four hundred American service people have been killed in action in Afghanistan. Almost everyone admits the American presence in that country will be long term.
This is one of the most chaotic places on earth. Life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world: 44 years. And there is little infrastructure. Many of the 32 million Afghans don't even have electricity or plumbing.
If the USA pulled out, some form of dictatorship would move in. Either the Taliban or criminal warlord.
Right now, America is Afghanistan's only hope for future prosperity as most of the world could not care less as usual.
So once again, the USA is trying to do a noble thing — improve the lives of people halfway around the world and protect our own lives at the same time. It is expensive, frustrating, and difficult. Thank God we have to fine people fighting the good fight.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads and Patriots
It looks like that vile movie, "Redacted" is a huge bomb, as few Americans want to pay to see the U.S. military vilified.
The very few theaters that are even showing it are the subject of demonstrations — like this one in Denver — led by our pal Tom White. The theater canceled the film. So Mr. White and his group are patriots.
Of course, the pinhead of the season is Mark Cuban, who financed the awful movie. He remains unrepentant, while "Dancing with the Stars." So we put together a little tribute to Cuban:
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Keep dancing, pal. "Pinhead" doesn't even begin to cover it.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads and Patriots" 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