The Legitimacy of War

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Hi.  I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thank you for watching us tonight.

The legitimacy of war.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo .

In just a few moments, we'll report on the growing evidence that the United States will initiate military action against Saddam Hussein next month.  But some Americans continue to dispute the legitimacy of such an action and "Talking Points" is losing patience with that wrong-headed argument.

Richard Reed, who lives in Bakersfield, Calif., writes, "O'Reilly, as usual, you are spinning.  In the first place, there was no 1991 peace treaty (after the Gulf War).  The document was a cease-fire.  And it was not a U.S. document, it was a U.N. document.  Stop your lies and misrepresentations to promulgate a war."

Well, Mr. Reed, I know you don't care about the fact, but I'll give them to you anyway.

In order to end a formal war in the Gulf, the United States and its allies agreed to U.N. Resolution 687, which was passed by the Security Council only, not the body of the United Nations.  It was, in effect, a peace treaty because if Saddam didn't sign it, the war would have continued.  The document was non-negotiable, so the words cease-fire were simply symbolic.

Saddam Hussein has violated two provisions of that resolution.  The first one stated Iraq must unconditionally accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all biological and chemical weapons.  A U.N. commission would supervise the destruction of the weapons.

That term was finalized in 1998 when Saddam expelled the U.N. inspectors, who had long list of weapons that have not been destroyed.  To this day, the Iraqis have not accounted for those weapons.

Second, the resolution stated that Iraq must officially condemn the practice of terrorism, halt its support for terrorist organizations and forbid terrorist organizations from operating within Iraqi territory.

As captured Palestinian documents prove, Iraq has continued to fund and train terrorists belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, among other groups.

So, Mr. Reed, the United States and the United Nations have the legal right to negate the resolution and remove Saddam by force.  And if you remember, sir, 293 Americans were killed and 467 wounded in the Gulf War, far more than any other country.

You'll also remember that after 9-11, President Bush and Congress agreed that the United States would fight a war on terror, not just a war on Al Qaeda.  In order to impose order on a dangerous world, those countries which have demonstrated they will support terrorists and certainly Saddam has done that, are fair targets for U.S. action.

Now think about it.  The Taliban posed no direct threat to the United States, other than protecting Al Qaeda.  Iraq poses the exact same threat.  It directly supports Hamas and others and has been seeking materials to develop nuclear weapons with.

It is naive and damaging to the world, I believe, to put forth that a man like Saddam deserves to stay in power when he has no legitimate right to do so.

Americans lost their lives defeating this man on the battlefield.  He violated the resolution.  He continues to be an active supporter of terrorism.  He has to go.  And that's The Memo .

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day..."

The controversy continues over the George Clooney-Charlton Heston situation.  Just today, I talked about it on Access Hollywood and Court TV.

Also today, syndicated columnist Liz Smith, who broke the story, chided me for comparing Clooney with Michael Jackson and Woody Allen.  Now I like Ms. Smith.  She's a very honest reporter.

But the point is that, once entertainers cross a line, whether it's by abysmal contact or irrational verbal attacks, many Americans will no longer support their work.  Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin, and other examples, in my opinion.

Now I could be wrong about Clooney.  He may stay at the top, but, judging by your expressions on my Web site,, he will lose significant business unless he apologizes to Heston.

Such an apology would not be ridiculous.