Politics and the Middle East

American politics and the violence in the Middle East: that's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

The Democrat's "Talking Points" go this way: The Bush administration is disengaged from the Middle East because of the Iraq debacle, therefore the violence between the terror groups and Israel is partly the president's fault.

The Republican's "Talking Points" say that the violence demonstrates how wicked the terrorists really are and they must be fought on the battlefield like we're doing in Iraq.

So what's the truth? Well, negotiations with terrorists usually fail. That's number one. The question is, should the USA even try? To do so empowers the terrorists and puts us in a position to offer these killers something. That is not a good position.

North Korea already mocked the Clinton administration by breaking the negotiated agreement on nukes. Do we give them another shot on it? The Bush administration says no and wants a coalition of countries to confront North Korea and other terrorist states.

Unfortunately much of the world looks at terrorism as an American problem or Israeli problem. And some misguided people, including a number of Americans, believe the USA and Israel are the cause of terrorism, that the actual terror killers are victims. Don't get me started on those people. They are foolish and in some cases dangerous.

If I were President Bush, would I urge restraint on Israel publicly, but privately encourage them to kill as many terrorists they could without harming civilians. That, of course, is exceedingly difficult, as Hezbollah and Hamas hide behind women and children. The terrorists do not care how many innocent people are killed and they believe any and all destruction helps them.

Israel knows the score. It knows world opinion will never favor the Jewish people. It understands leaders like French President Chirac would like to see Israel injured and knows it has to protect itself or perish. America could learn something from Israel on this score. Some Democrats believe we can negotiate ourselves out of the War on Terror. Do you believe that?

"Talking Points" is big on talking but only when the talk can accomplish something. Not when it will be used to delay justice or humiliate America. There are no easy solutions to the War on Terror. All Americans should wake up and understand that.

The terrorists want worldwide chaos and will not stop their killing to chat. War is hell, but that's what we are facing and we should all face it together.

That's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

As you know, I'm tough on newspaper reporters when they are dishonest, and that happens a lot in America, unfortunately. And not only here.

In the Irish Independent, a writer named Ian O'Doherty put forth:

"Bill O'Reilly, the hectoring blowhard on FOX, feels no discomfort at telling the son of a man who died on 9/11 that 'your father would be ashamed of you' because he opposed the war in Iraq."

That, of course, is a lie. Mr. O'Doherty flat out printed a falsehood.

Now the interview in question took place shortly after 9/11. Obviously, the Iraq war was not in existence. The Irish Independent should understand. Stuff like this is ridiculous and reflects very poorly on that newspaper.

Ahhhh, the Irish.