Two months after giving Iraqis "two more months" to pass oil bill, O'Reilly silent on their failure to do so

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

On his radio show on June 20, Bill O'Reilly asserted, "I'm gonna tell you that the big picture is, the Iraqis have two more months. They've got two more months. And if they don't step up and help more than they're helping" on oil legislation and security, "in two months, it's over. Come September and October, we're pulling back, and that's the truth." August 20 marks the end of the two-month period, but O'Reilly is yet to mention the Iraqi government's failure to reach an agreement on oil legislation or his claims about the need for improvements by the Iraqi Security Forces.

On the June 20 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly asserted, "I'm gonna tell you that the big picture is, the Iraqis have two more months. They've got two more months. And if they don't step up and help more than they're helping -- and by help, I mean, they have to pass oil legislation so everybody gets a piece of the oil pie." He added, "Their armed forces have to fight more aggressively and bravely alongside us, and if they don't do it in two months, it's over. Come September and October, we're pulling back, and that's the truth." August 20 marks two months since O'Reilly's comments, yet during the August 20 edition of his radio program, O'Reilly neither mentioned the Iraqi government's failure to reach an agreement on legislation regarding oil revenues nor his claims about the need for improvements by the Iraqi Security Forces within two months.

The White House's July 12 Initial Benchmark Assessment Report stated that the Iraqi government had made "unsatisfactory" progress in "[e]nacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources to the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shi'a Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner." It added that "it is too early to tell whether the Government of Iraq will enact and implement legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources to all Iraqis." However, as an August 11 Associated Press article noted, "Iraq's parliament went on vacation for a month [starting July 30] after failing either to pass legislation to share the nation's oil wealth or to reconcile differences among the factions."

On the August 11 edition of CNN's This Week at War, Rend al-Rahim, former Iraqi ambassador to the United States, asserted, "[W]hat we're talking about is specific legislation, as [CNN correspondent] Michael Ware said, about the oil, about de-Baathification. There are deep divisions inside the country about the utility of these laws and how to approach those laws. And the divisions are not just about the framing of the laws or the phrasing, but about what kind of Iraq you need to see." Earlier, Ware had said, "Dividing up the oil evenly, that's going to be a hard sell at the best of times." Rahim added, "What are the relationships within Iraq of the central government and the federated regions or the other regions? What is the power-sharing relationship between the different communities of Iraq? Those are what is going to determine these laws and how we pass those laws rather than simple phrasing or articles in those laws."

Blogger Steven Young noted O'Reilly's comments in a June 20 entry on The Huffington Post.

From the June 20 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

CALLER: Listen, I read the CENTCOM, the Central Command newsletter. It comes out every week, and there was a story in it sometime -- and this was a long time ago, though. It talked about how Iraqis and Americans built a power plant somewhere in northern Iraq. I don't remember the name of the city. Big story about how hundreds of people who never had power before now have power. A couple weeks later, Al Qaeda blew it up. That made the news. Nobody said a damn thing -- sorry, nobody said a thing about, "We built it." All right. They only report the bad news.

If NBC wants to be fair and balanced, why don't they take some of the source from the CENTCOM newsletter? We're talking about things that we're doing over there that is good all the time, all the time.

O'REILLY: Well, look, there -- it's not everybody at NBC News. It's not everybody, but there is a strain there that tilts it.

Now, I'm not one of these guys that say, "OK, because the United States built a school here and a dispensary here and a power plant here that that has to override the arch that this is a mess." I'm not that kind of guy. All right, I'm gonna tell you that the big picture is, the Iraqis have two more months. They've got two more months. And if they don't step up and help more than they're helping -- and by help, I mean, they have to pass oil legislation so everybody gets a piece of the oil pie. Their armed forces have to fight more aggressively and bravely alongside us, and if they don't do it in two months, it's over. Come September and October, we're pulling back, and that's the truth. That's what's going to happen. It's all on the Iraqis' plate right now.

And, you know. So what I report on Iraq, I tell you where it is, and that's true. Do I want America to win? Of course I do. Should you? Of course you should. That's best for the world, but I'll tell you what, there is so many people rooting against us, it's unbelievable. It is unbelievable.

From the August 11 edition of CNN's This Week at War:

RAHIM: Indeed, that's true. And, in fact, I would say the deals are made outside of Parliament by political leaders who may not be part of the parliamentary process. Having said that, it's -- we should also remember that Parliament has said that they were on standby, as it were, if anything urgent comes up. But that is meaningless. The fact is, the issues are much deeper than Parliament right now. They are on a national scale, they're on a political scale, and they're not just an issue of this legislation or that legislation.

FOREMAN: All right. Michael, is there any sense in the street, then, that these issues, these deeper issues are being addressed while Parliament is out?

WARE: No, not really. I mean, I'm sure there's some discussion behind the scenes, but let's face reality. These are American benchmarks. They're not Iraqi benchmarks. The Iraqis view this very, very differently, and, indeed, on many of the issues that the Americans are expecting success or demanding success on, the Iraqis don't share American interests here or Iraqi insights.

De-Baathification? I'm sorry, this government's just not even vaguely interested in it. Dividing up the oil evenly, that's going to be a hard sell at the best of times. There's a lot of stuff that has to be sorted out, and it's not going to be to an American timetable.

FOREMAN: Rend al-Rahim, here's what I don't understand about that, though. Not settling these issues brings continuing battle upon the country of Iraq. Do not the Iraqi people see that and say, "Whether we want to or not, we must settle this"?

RAHIM: Yes. But what we're talking about is specific legislation, as Michael Ware said, about the oil, about de-Baathification. There are deep divisions inside the country about the utility of these laws and how to approach those laws. And the divisions are not just about the framing of the laws or the phrasing, but about what kind of Iraq you need to see. What are the relationships within Iraq of the central government and the federated regions or the other regions? What is the power-sharing relationship between the different communities of Iraq? Those are what is going to determine these laws and how we pass those laws rather than simple phrasing or articles in those laws.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor
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