Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.
The truth about Iraq, that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo." There's no question in my mind that America's intentions in Iraq are noble. The USA wants stability in the Middle East to rob terrorists of their primary base. And a psychopathic dictator who was dangerous on a number of levels has been removed. Billions of American tax dollars have gone into to providing the Iraqi people with the chance for freedom. Hundreds of Americans have lost their lives in that effort.
So we're the good guys, right? Not according to millions of people all over the world, including a substantial minority here in the USA. To them, America is the great oppressor.
There is really little anyone can do to fight that perception. When I hear Americans disrespect what I think is a noble endeavor, I walk away. Those people are misguided and mostly ill-informed. There is, however, honest dissent when it comes to Iraq. And that must be respected. Perhaps this is the wrong battlefield on which to fight terrorism. Perhaps allowing Saddam to stay in power would have been better than the mess we have now.
The future really all hinges on the Iraqis themselves. If they fight for their freedom, they'll get it. If they support the terrorists and the religious fanatics, they'll be enslaved again.
We were supposed to discuss this tonight with the Iraqi ambassador, Rand al Rahim (search), but she abruptly canceled. "Talking Points" continues to believe that the Iraqi people may not have what it takes to embrace freedom. Certainly the ambassador hiding under her desk is not a good example.
Thus the Bush administration is caught in a very tight spot. Nobody knows if the Iraqis are going to help themselves. And we don't have years to find out. -- We have months. Those who continue to pound the drum the U.N. is the answer are simply wrong. Clear evidence now shows high level U.N. officials were bribed by Saddam, as were high level officials in Russia and France. Millions of oil-for-food (search) money somehow wound up in their bank accounts. At this point, the U.N. is largely corrupt.
On the home front, President Bush is under siege by the 9/11commission, which is casting doubt on his leadership. This makes Bush's Iraq strategy more difficult to sell. It goes to credibility.
Once again, the 9/11 truth is this: both Clinton and Bush were warned. Both did not heed the warnings. That's it. Franklin Roosevelt was warned Japan would attack America. He did not heed the warning.
Most politicians are reactive. They are not problem solvers or visionaries. They are consensus guys who are ultra-cautious. Lincoln was probably the last visionary president. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt.
Right now, the Iraq situation is impossible to predict. The media is distorting it. Boy did those uprisings die down fast. And the Bush administration has underestimated it. But the USA must hold on and continue to do the right thing. However, we cannot continue to do it indefinitely.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
A couple of notes before we get to the "Most Ridiculous Item." I will be making a rare personal appearance on Sunday, May 2, at the Office Depot Arena in Fort Lauderdale, I'll be opening for Aerosmith. No, that's not true. I'll just be there. Now information is on billoreilly.com or Ticketmaster. And it's going to be a really interesting, fun event. All right. So check that out. We'd love to see you down in Lauderdale on May 2.
Also, if you're looking out for mom and dad, we'll put your inscription to them into my book "Who Is Looking Out for You?" and I'll sign it for you, just as we did for Valentine's Day. This is a real nice gift for Mother's and Father's Days which are upcoming, and that's also available on billoreilly.com.
As is our poll question: If the chaos in Iraq continues, will President lose the election? Forty thousand of you voted, 62 percent saying no, that might be wishful thinking, 38 percent say yes. Now this poll is just for fun, but a new "Time" magazine poll is scientific and it asked, who do you believe, Richard Clarke (search) or Condoleezza Rice (search)? Forty-three percent said Rice, including 30 percent of Democratic voters, 36 percent said Clarke and 21 percent said Simon Cowell or something. They are lost and that is ridiculous. If you're not paying attention by now to Iraq, shame on you.
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org