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Bush's Numbers Falling? Forget About Plame and WMD's. It's All About Terror! Terror! Terror!

Reported by Marie Therese - November 19, 2005

After a typical Talking Points Memo bemoaning America's lack of will to face the Islamofascist terror threat, Bill O'Reilly expressed yet again his contempt for the press - only this time he didn't bother to use qualifiers like "elitist" or "mainstream" or "far left." He bashed "the press" as a whole. An oversight? Or has he decided that the entire fourth estate - with the exception of FOX News - now deserves his scorn?

Recent polls show that the war on terror is the the only area where George Bush has any juice at all. So like the good little propagandist it is, FOX News shouts the word "terror" from the rooftops in the vain hope that somehow, magically, Bush's flagging numbers will rise again.

(One wonders if there aren't just a few die-hard GOP strategists out there who secretly wish for another attack, just so Bush can don another flight suit and trot out his "tough on terror" platitudes? Remember that very interesting GOP internal memo that spelled out this very idea?)

O'Reilly lamented: "The press is appalling, full of indignation about stuff that doesn't matter - like Valerie Plame. Who cares? Who? The press. Lawyers for terrorists captured overseas. Who cares if they get lawyers? And a laser-like obsession with every military screw-up. Do you think the press has responsibly covered that?"

He then interviewed terror expert, Steve Emerson, author of "American Jihad." The two men discussed the inevitability of a terrorist attack within the United States, a POV that has become much more prevalent in the GOP talking points the past few weeks.

Although Emerson does have some credibility as a terror expert, there have been several instances where his statements were discovered to be false. He has a reputation for being so anti-Muslim that it obviates the informative things he has to say.

The main talking points were:

1) EMERSON: "... I also think it's a larger problem than just a military conflict ... It's a recognition that the Islamic militant threat is vast and that it requires a political response, an economic response, and to a certain extent we have legitimized radical Islamic groups by dialoguing with them, bringing them into meetings with the government, by giving them assistance in the United States - financial assistance. I think that's very dangerous. It goes beyond the whole issue of a military conflict, which, of course, is one part of it."

2) O'REILLY: "But we have almost a phony war going on here. 'Member the phony war, that nothing happens, we're safe? Yeah. We got hit on 9/11 but that was a long time ago. We're all havin' Thanksgiving comin' up, holidays, we're shopping, the malls are packed and meantime these people are planning our destruction. And what are we worried about? Valerie Plame. What are we worried about? Whether WMD's were misled [sic]. And, meantime, Mexican border remains wide open for four years. And I'm sayin' to myself: We're just not smart enough to realize what's gonna happen. ... 300 million Americans are not willing are not willing to make a personal sacrifice at this point."

3) EMERSON: "... It's incumbent upon the government essentially from the President on downwards to communicate to the American public the nature of the threat. ... To a certain extent there really needs to be a whole recalculation of how it's presented in terms of the radical Islamic threat ... The reality is it's a much larger problem than an Al Qaeda strike."

4) O'REILLY: " But, in our politically correct society, where you can't say anything bad about anybody, they're not gonna personalize the threat and say it's a Muslim threat ... But here's what disturbs me. The Kennedy School - and I went to the Kennedy School at Harvard - they came out and they said, look, you've got 50% of the nuclear arsenal in the Soviet Union unaccounted for, OK? It's floatin'. We already know that the Pakistani crazies can design a nuclear device and we already know anybody can sneak in here. Now, when you're faced with that kind of a threat, why are we arguing about WMDs before the Iraq - why? Why aren't we sayin': Here's the WMD threat. Why isn't that on the front page of every newspaper? I'm not gettin' this."

[COMMENT: Hey, Bill, don't you remember? The topic of missing Russian nuclear weapons was one of the linchpins of John Kerry's national security stump speech in 2004! Kerry was way ahead of you on this issue, it would seem. Tsk, tsk. Don't tell me this is another case of selective memory loss? You really must see a doctor about this disturbing mental condition!]

5) EMERSON: "The reality is, it has become politicized, and therefore there's an instant gratification, basically saying 'gotcha' by those who are criticizing the President. But in another sense the President and the administration need to be putting out more information about the threat. ... The administration and members of government undercut the whole war by legitimizing groups that embody the politics of Al Qaedism, Hamas or Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad or any fundamentalist group, so, in a certain sense, they've neutralized themselves. ... it's a war without end and you're 100% right, we're gonna have to make sacrifices."

6) O'REILLY: "We're gonna have to make sacrifices. We're gonna have to tell the press to knock it off. The big thing is, we can't torture anybody. No coerced interrogation. And I'm sittin' here goin', ya' know, Cleveland could be gone tomorrow and this is what - this is page one."

COMMENT

Like any red-blooded American Catholic boy who grew up in the 50's, Bill just can't enough of that old fashioned torture! He even admits it's the "big thing" on his list.

Wouldn't surprise me if he'd like to bring back stocks, the pillory, pressing, dunking, the Catherine wheel, public flogging and - of course, the rack.

As for Emerson, since the war on terror is a war without end, he stands to make an awful lot of money over the next 30 years. Now doesn't that just warm the cockles of your capitalist hearts?

If you'd like to write to O'Reilly, click here.

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