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Bill O'Reilly declares "World War III - we're in it"

Reported by Chrish - July 14, 2006 -

No denying that things are getting exponentially worse in the Middle East - it's been a scary and tense day. Ever one to jump the proverbial gun, Bill O'Reilly said tonight 7/13/06 on The Factor that he thinks we're in World War III. Those are explosive words in the ears of his viewers, whose average age is 71 and who probably remember World War II.

Amend: Video added 7/13/06 1:30 pm; see below.

As his guests O'reilly had Steven Cook from the influential and non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations and Danielle Pletka, VP of Foreign Policy Studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. .

O'Reilly is flummoxed by the complexity of the situation; although he "usually ha(s) a solution to problems," he doesn't see a way our of this (situations with North Korea and Iran). He listened respectfully to Pletka as she outlined what she thinks the US needs to do, which is to force China and Russia to veto resolutions against North Korea and Iran, respectively, in the UN Security Council. She wants it made very plain that they're the ones who are blocking sanctions.

O'Reilly then says that since the Bush administration doesn't want to worsen relations with both countries, China in particular ("which we need in economic, uh, area"), we can't embarrass them because they will not back down and that strengthens Iran and asks her to add to it. She reiterates we need to force them to make choices - which sounds like "you're either with us or against us" policy-making.

Cook agreed, and said that clearly this is an issue that the US needs to talk about with the Russians and Chinese. O'Reilly interrupted, saying "that's all bull", ("with all due respect - I'm not attacking," he says as if that excuses his rude behavior). He got into Bully O'Reilly mode and interrupted and overtalked, even though Cook was largely in agreement with Pletka's opinion, and believes that the Middle East is on the precipice of a regional war.

O'Reilly, who earlier said he didn't have a solution, has been arguing with these two foreign affairs experts for several minutes.

Pletka says the problem is really in Tehran and Demascus, not Beirut, and we should remember that when we allowed the Taliban, a lawless governemt, to control Afghanistan, they eventually teamed with Al Queda against us. That is what is going to happen in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, she says, and O'Reilly agrees "absolutely!" We're the ones they hate, their ultimate target. "We're the Great Satan", says Pletka.

O'Reilly speculates that Iran "will push us as far as they can,...then it'll draw back if it thinks military action is coming." Right? Cook's in agreement there, too. He says we are not in a good position to act militarily against Iran - they have cards to play in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Israel/Lebanon border.

Wrapping it up, O'Reilly says "World War III, right?" Cook responds carefully "possibly." O'Reilly says "I think we're in it - I absolutely think we're in it."

Comment: Just once this century I'd like for Congress to be the ones to declare war, just for old times' sake, a nod to the days when we had a healthy respect for the Constitution and checks and balances.