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On the June 19 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bill O'Reilly declared that if he were the president of Iraq, he would run the country "just like Saddam [Hussein] ran it," by establishing curfews and shooting violators "right between the eyes." O'Reilly added that what he proposed is "not the kind of country I want for Iraq," but reasoned that "you have to have that for a few months to stabilize the situation so the Iraqi government can get organized, can get security in place and get the structure going."
Later in the broadcast, responding to a caller who identified himself as a former Marine who had been stationed in Tal Afar, Iraq, O'Reilly reiterated his plan for Iraq:
O'REILLY: The curfews work. You shoot on sight. That's it. And if the Italian press doesn't like it, tough. The New York Times doesn't like it? Too bad. War is a performance business.
O'Reilly's remarks were first noted by the weblog Calling All Wingnuts.
From the June 19 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: So because -- what you have here now is a tipping point in history. A tipping point in history. So you have to win the Iraq situation. Now, to me, they're not fighting it hard enough. See, if I'm president, I've got probably another 50-60,000 with orders to shoot on sight anybody violating curfews. Shoot 'em on sight. That's me. President O'Reilly, curfew in Ramadi, 7 o'clock at night. You're on the street, you're dead. I shoot you right between the eyes. OK?
That's how I'd run that country -- just like Saddam ran it. Saddam didn't have explosions. He didn't have bombers, did he? Because if you got out of line, you're dead.
Now, is that the kind of country I want for Iraq? No. But you have to have that for a few months to stabilize the situation so the Iraqi government can get organized, can get security in place and get the structure going. So, any area that is giving you trouble, you have a 7-to-7 curfew. And you can't come out of your house. That's it. And if you do, we shoot you. That's how you control it. All right?
CALLER: Hey, not bad. Actually, I had a comment to say about when you -- talking about the curfew.
CALLER: That actually works.
O'REILLY: I know.
CALLER: We did it up in Tal Afar, Iraq, and it -- and actually works. It takes down all the IEDs, and it really works.
O'REILLY: What was your job in Iraq?
CALLER: I had to clear those IEDs.
O'REILLY: You're in the Marines?
CALLER: I was in the Marines when we invaded, and then I got out and joined the National Guard. When I was up there the second time, that's what I did.
O'REILLY: OK. Well, look, I don't just -- and I appreciate the call, [caller]. You hang on, I'll send you a Radio Factor mug. I don't talk through my hat here, OK, like many other talk show hosts do. We got military analysts over there. We got the best minds in the world. And I talk with them on a daily basis.
So I'm happy [caller] called. I don't know [caller]. But you gotta get serious about this thing over there. The curfews work. You shoot on sight. That's it. And if the Italian press doesn't like it, tough. The New York Times doesn't like it? Too bad. War is a performance business.