There are surely Bill O'Reilly experts out there who have carefully charted the history of his pronouncements on the Iraq war. But as a casual observer, it seemed to me that in this evening's Talking Points, O'Reilly struck an altogether more negative tone on Iraq, with implications for future US foreign policy.
Here's what he had to say: "The chaos in Afghanistan and Iraq will never end, because there will always be people who hate Americans. And we are an occupying force in those countries. The very important question is how do we as citizens process what's going on in those theaters of war? In Afghanistan, the Taliban are just waiting until we leave and will always be waiting. Whether the Karzai government will ever be strong enough to defeat them is an open question.
"In Iraq the terrorists will also never stop bombing no matter what government is in place. The situation will parallel Israel. Terrorism will always be on display. That's the truth. Terrorism is here to stay. Muslim fanatics are not going anywhere so what should the USA do? The first thing is to be realistic. If we could go back to the fall of 2001 right after 9/11, you would still have to invade Afghanistan, no way could the USA allow Al Qaeda to remain there. But Iraq should be a lesson learned. We cannot ever again put American boots on the ground in a hostile Arab country. Iraq was an optional war. There will always be or there were other ways, I should say, of removing Saddam."
Appearing later in the program, former Dem presidential contender Wesley Clark was only too glad to welcome O'Reilly to the fold: "I am glad you have come around. Iraq was an unnecessary war. It's a failure by the way the President defined the mission."