Taking Sides in the Middle East

To watch "the memo" click here.

Upon returning from Las Vegas, there was a mountain of mail, much of it about the war in the Middle East. Many Americans are taking sides.

That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Over the weekend here in the USA, there were pro-Israel demonstrations and pro-Palestinian rallies. There was also praise and criticism for President Bush, who wants the Israelis to pull back.

Talking Points would like to point out two things. First, that when evaluating the Middle East war, the good of America should be paramount for all Americans. And second, that President Bush is looking out for this country first, as he should be.

Mr. Bush understands that both sides in the conflict have done bad things and that both leaders, Arafat and Sharon, are flawed men. The president also knows that the more the U.S. supports Israel, the more enemies we make worldwide.

That being said, we must help Israel fight against terrorism. There's no question that the Israelis are under siege from evil people. Mad bombers who target women and children must be eradicated first and foremost.

Israel has inflicted a tremendous amount of damage on the Palestinian people, and now their forces should pull back. Mopping up terrorists is fine, but showing the world that Israel will compromise for peace is showing strength.

If the terrorism continues out of hand, the Israelis can always go back in.

Now, for the why of all this. The war between Israel and the Palestinians and the reason that many Arabs hate Israel and the USA is money. Most of the Muslim nations are extremely poor. Israel, by comparison, is very prosperous. The no Muslim nation has freedom. The United States is the freest society on earth.

There is a seething resentment in the Muslim world against Israel and America because, quite simply, we live much better than they do. That resentment is fanned by the Arab governments, who have failed dismally in bringing prosperity to their people, so they blame their failure on Israel and the USA.

Uneducated Arabs made fanatical by religious fervor are easy targets for that kind of propaganda. They want to believe that their plight is not the fault of their fellow Muslims, which it is, but the fault of the infidels, the Christians and the Jews.

This kind of foolish thinking is very hard to combat. All reason flies right out the window.

President Bush knows that more anti-American feeling among the 200 million Arabs in the world is very, very bad for America, so he has to walk a tightrope and appeal to all sides to be reasonable. If Israel disengages first, this puts pressure on the Arab leadership and takes pressure off America.

The world is a very dangerous place right now, and strategy is very important. Terrorism must be punished, but compromise must be in play as well.

Remember, if the Taliban had handed bin Laden over, we would not have pulverized Afghanistan despite their assistance to that monster.

All Americans should avoid getting emotionally involved with the war in the Middle East and see the entire playing field. We need to put America first.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Can you believe the first quarter of the year is already over? And with that time in the books, the current rankings of the cable news universe have been released.

The Factor is number one, followed by our pal, Larry King. But sneaking up on Mr. Suspenders is Shepard Smith. Currently number three, Hannity & Colmes, number four. And Brit Hume is number five. FOX has

four out of the five top rated news programs on cable.

No wonder FOX News chief Roger Ailes was chosen by Electronic Media Magazine today as the most powerful person in television news.


Only if you work for our competition.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com