To use a favorite phrase of ESPN's Dan Patrick, Bill O'Reilly was "en fuego" in his Today show appearance this morning
The main subject was President Bush's scheduled speech today to discuss his Iraq strategy.
Katie Couric described the impending speech as "very important" and asked O'Reilly what people need to hear from it.
O'Reilly got matters off to an unexpected start by declaring: "I'm not even going to listen to the speech. Maybe that shocks people, but [the speech] really doesn't mean anything."
To illustrate, he pointed out that basic training for a US soldier only takes six weeks, with a little specialized training after that. He wondered why, three years later, the administration is still asking for more billions to train Iraqi recruits. "How many years have we been training these Iraqis, how many years? Gomer Pyle would have gotten this!"
O'Reilly continued: "It's a disaster for the country if we don't do well in Iraq. It's a disaster for the world if we don't do well in Iraq. These pinheads running around going 'get out of Iraq now' don't know what they are talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in WWII who said 'he's not such a bad guy.'"
Couric: "What is your biggest fear about a premature withdrawal of troops from Iraq?"
O'Reilly: "It's very simple. This is not a complicated issue. If we pull out of Iraq it turns into a terror state, just as Afghanistan before 9/11 was a terror state. The terrorists are going to do whatever they want there. Who's going to stop them? Iran, Syria? They're going to help them! An Iraq out of control is a direct threat to the United States because Al-Qaida gets in there and does whatever they want. Win the damn thing! That's what I want to hear. Win it. Stop the excuses, stop the carping, stop the sniping from the press. Win it!"
He later added: "You are looking to find a nation in the Middle East to help the West fight terror. Are the Shia going to do that? I don't know. But while we're in there we have to cause as much destruction to the enemy, the Sunni fanatics and Al-Qaida, as we can."
Moving to his central point, O'Reilly declared:
"See, this is a war, this is WWIII. Everyone watching today: this is WWIII! If these people get an atomic device, which Iran is making right now, they're going to set it off in America if they can. Wise up, let's knock this off, everybody should come together and do what we have to do to stabilize that country."
O'Reilly then trained his fire on Hillary Clinton, who recently sent a letter to supporters blaming President Bush for mismanaging the war.
O'Reilly: "I don't want to hear from Hillary Clinton and I don't want to read her dopey letter. All I want to hear from Hillary Clinton is 'what would you do differently, Senator, from what is being done now?' Very simple question. Has she answered that question? No. So I'm going to take the letter, I'm going to roll it up and I'm going to toss it right out the window."
O'Reilly is a self-confessed bloviator. He's a populist, some might say a demagogue. But he was spot-on this morning. Even Katie Couric didn't dare breathe a word of dissent.