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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
The Gallup people have released the first poll taken in the Arab world after 9/11, and that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.
Nearly 10,000 residents in nine Muslim countries responded to the poll, and here are the highlights.
Just 9 percent believe America is morally justified in attacking Afghanistan. Eighteen percent say Muslims were responsible for the 9/11 terrorism, 61 believe Arabs were not responsible. And while 66 percent condemned the attacks, a sizable minority, 36 percent in Kuwait, for example, say killing American civilians is fine with them.
Now, no American should be surprised by the poll. There's no democracy in the Arab world, no free press, incredible poverty, and a huge dose of religious fanaticism.
There are two main reasons why Arabs dislike America. First is Israel. Obviously the overwhelming majority of Arabs hate Israel and perceive us as supporting the Jewish state, even though we provide money and assistance to most Arab states as well as Israel.
Secondly, many Arab governments routinely blame America for the poverty that exists in their own countries. The Pakistanis are poor because the USA exploits them, that kind of nonsense.
But when you hear this every day from the time you're a baby, a certain amount of brainwashing does seep in.
The Kuwaiti situation is a bit harder to understand. The USA saved that country, of course, from Saddam Hussein, and 299 Americans died in the effort. Yet a sizable part of the Kuwaiti population continues to hate America. That is a lesson learned. America cannot count on any Arab country to see things clearly and be fair.
And the USA must begin to back away from Arab oil. Someday, and I hope I don't live to see it, the Arab world will blow up. There's simply too much repression and poverty in those countries. And America cannot really do much about it.
We the taxpayers already send billions to the Arab world, and most of that money is used to repress freedom, not help the folks.
So this is one tough problem. Unlike China, which finally has a clue about economics, the Arab world is essentially corrupt, and there's little trickle-down of money to the masses, and little attempt to develop a viable economy. In places like Indonesia, Pakistan, and Morocco, most people live short, difficult lives.
Of course the affluence of America is going to breed resentment, especially when the leadership and religious fanatics are whipping it up.
Talking Points believes that all Americans should be well aware of the danger the Arab world poses not only to America but also to all modern countries. If the Bush administration doesn't start making a major effort to get away from Arab oil, it is putting all of us in jeopardy.
We got to stop fooling around here and protect ourselves, conserve oil and find alternative fuels, and do it now.
And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."
Congratulations to Fox News anchorman Shepard Smith. His newscast has surpassed Larry King in the cable ratings for the month of February. Shepard was last seen celebrating by doing the limbo, but he is raising the bar, instead of lowering it.
By the way, The Factor remains the most watched cable news program in the world. And I want to personally thank each and every one of you who watch us, because it would be ridiculous not to.
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