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During the September 10 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly said that the United States should remain in Iraq for at least another six months: "I think that this thing is worth another six months in the sense that [Gen. David] Petraeus comes in." O'Reilly also asserted that the "people of Iraq have said": "[M]ost of us are either too afraid ... or too steeped in crazy religious fanaticism that we'd rather kill people than have a country that runs in an orderly way." He later added that "we cannot count on the Muslim world to help us defeat the jihadists." By the time of his Fox News television program later the same day, O'Reilly had increased the amount of time the United States should stay in Iraq to at least another year, stating: "My feeling is that we should allow General Petraeus the resources he needs within a year's time. After that, the Iraqi army must step up and provide their own security with a few American battalions in support. For the future of both the USA and Iraq, that is probably the best course of action in a truly painful situation."
During the February 20, 2006, broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly similarly asserted that "[t]here are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them" and that "the only solution to this" is for the United States "to hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible."
During his September 10 radio broadcast, O'Reilly also stated that "the local population" in "a country like Iraq or Iran or Syria or any of these places" says, "Do we want democracy? Not really." O'Reilly then asserted, "If they wanted it, they'd have it. ... They don't really want it. ... They want their meals. They want to smoke. They want to go to the mosques. They want to sit around, and that's what they want to do. Do they want to vote? Do they want to get involved? Not really." O'Reilly said this assessment might be "too cynical," but went on to state, "I've been to these places, and I've watched this war very carefully. And that was the big miscalculation of the Bush administration, that these people in Iraq would" want "free enterprise," democracy, and peace. Instead, O'Reilly asserted, Iraqis say, "We want to kill the Sunnis. Oh, we want to kill these people because they did this to us. No, we're gonna kill them." Similarly, O'Reilly had said earlier in the program that "the miscalculation was that the Iraqis want freedom. Some of them do; not enough."
From the September 10 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Now, let's tell you the truth about Iraq. OK, let's get that. There is a chance that the aggressive actions on the part of the U.S. military will provide enough security so that the Iraqi armed forces this time next year could start to take over security. There's a chance of that happening. I can't put a percentage on it, but there's a chance. That's the truth. But it might not happen. It might not happen. Why? Because the government of Iraq, the Maliki government, is corrupt, and that's the truth. Somebody who says it isn't corrupt is lying to you. So if a commentator says the Maliki government in Iraq, the elected government, is not corrupt, that's a lie. It is corrupt.
Now, what do we do? We can't really do much, because these people were elected. Why were they elected? Because the mullahs, the Shiite mullahs said, "Go vote for them." The fundamental disappointment in Iraq is that the people of Iraq have said to the world loud and clear, "We don't really care about democracy. Some of us do. Some of us do, but most of us are either too afraid," and we understand the fear, "or too steeped in crazy religious fanaticism that we'd rather kill people than have a country that runs in an orderly way." And that's the truth. Again, that's the truth, so the miscalculation was that the Iraqis want freedom. Some of them do; not enough.
The other miscalculation -- and this has got to be a center point of any American foreign policy against the jihadists going on forward -- is that we cannot count on the Muslim world to help us defeat the jihadists. That's the truth. We cannot count on the Muslim world to do that. Some will. Jordan, OK. Elements in other countries. Some will, but the mass of people are gonna sit it out. They're gonna sit it out, and the violent jihadists are gonna be able to intimidate those people, because they'll kill you and your whole family in a heartbeat. That's why the Sunnis in Iraq have turned against Al Qaeda, because their, you know, little kids are getting blown up. Is it enough? Who knows?
O'REILLY: I've said this before. We've got to fight this war smarter against the jihadists. We've got to be smarter. We cannot count on Muslim civilians to help us. That means no more boots on the ground unless it's special forces activity, that kind of thing, because you just can't. You can't go into a country like Iraq or Iran or Syria or any of these places and think that the local population is going to help you. They're not gonna help you. It doesn't matter how many more 9-11s there are. You could have a 9-11 every week, and these people are going, "Look, we don't care about America. The mullahs are telling us that Americans are bad, and that's what we're gonna believe. Do we want democracy? Not really." If they wanted it, they'd have it. You know? They don't really want it.
In my opinion, they just don't. They want their meals. They want to smoke. They want to go to the mosques. They want to sit around, and that's what they want to do. Do they want to vote? Do they want to get involved? Not really. And maybe it's too cynical. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've been to these places, and I've watched this war very carefully. And that was the big miscalculation of the Bush administration, that these people in Iraq would say, "Hey, America's doing us a big favor. They got rid of Saddam [Hussein]. Now we can have a country that actually works. Now we can have, like, free enterprise, and we can vote for the guys that we like. And we won't have violence. Our kids can have a nice life." No. No, "We want to kill the Sunnis. Oh, we want to kill these people because they did this to us. No, we're gonna kill them." You just can't have it.
O'REILLY: I think that this thing is worth another six months in the sense that, you know, Petraeus comes in, he says, "Look, we're doing X, Y, and Z." Because if you think back six months ago, none of us -- maybe you [retired Col. David Hunt] did -- but I didn't have an inkling that the Sunnis would turn against Al Qaeda. I did not have a clue that would happen, all right, and it has happened. So that's a good unintended consequence.
O'REILLY: So what I'm thinking is this, and I'm looking out for America. I'm not looking out for Iraq. If you have that kind of an event that no one predicted that is a good development, because Al Qaeda's now taking it right on the chin. It's turning into a rout for them. If you give it another six more months at the current levels, or maybe take 20 out, 25 out, and make it clear to the Iraqi government that there is a timetable -- we're not gonna make it public, but there is -- some other things may happen like the Sunni thing. But if we say tomorrow, "See you. You sort it out," you know they're not gonna sort it out. They're gonna kill each other.
From the September 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: "Talking Points" believes General Petraeus is an honorable man, who sincerely believes that American forces can improve things in Iraq and give the good guys over there a fighting chance to defeat the bad guys. The problem is the USA is likely to lose another thousand killed in the process. So the question for every American becomes, "Is that sacrifice worth it?"
With a corrupt Iraqi national government and vicious religious-based killing, the political picture remains bleak. That is the awful truth about Iraq. But the stakes are incredibly high for the USA. Right now, Al Qaeda is being badly damaged in Iraq, and a pullback would give them air. No clear-thinking person should want that.
Also, Iran has been held in check. Should the USA withdraw from the theater, that country is likely to have its own surge, not only on Iraq, but also in the entire Gulf region.
Whenever I point that out to the cut-and-runners, I get no cogent response. Perhaps our upcoming guest Congressman Ron Paul will break that cycle this evening.
So what we have in Iraq is a conundrum, and we have to learn from it. It's clear to me that the USA can't count on Muslim civilians to help us in the war on terror. Some will, most will not for a variety of reasons -- fear being a major factor.
Thus, no more boots on the ground in the Muslim world. If we have to use military power, we'll have to get the bad guys from the air or the sea. That doesn't help us in Iraq. My feeling is that we should allow General Petraeus the resources he needs within a year's time. After that, the Iraqi army must step up and provide their own security with a few American battalions in support.
For the future of both the USA and Iraq, that is probably the best course of action in a truly painful situation. And that's the "Memo."