With the nation about to vote on the Iraq war - and don't kid yourself, that's exactly what the upcoming election is all about - it may be interesting to examine the emotions in play.
Most Americans, I believe, have turned against the Iraq campaign because the U.S. is not winning it. We're not losing either, but a bloody stalemate halfway around the world is no sane person's idea of a success story.
So all the polls show a deep disenchantment with Iraq, but it is based on performance, not a moral objection as we saw in the Vietnam era.
Clear-thinking Americans understand that removing Saddam Hussein from power was a noble effort. Giving a devastated country a chance at freedom is hard to knock. But there comes a point when American blood and treasure is exhausted, and that point has been reached in Iraq.
If those people will not step up and stop the chaos themselves, then they will have to live with the result. The United States cannot absorb much more punishment on behalf of a population that, at this point, doesn't seem entirely committed to fighting for freedom.
Predictably, the far left in America has seized upon the Iraq situation to once again paint their country as villainous. That is both sad and infuriating. Recently, I appeared on "The View" and "The Late Show With David Letterman" flogging my book "Culture Warrior."
Both Rosie O'Donnell, the new lead on "The View," and Letterman are liberal people who vehemently object to the war. So I asked them: "Do you want your country to win in Iraq?"
Neither would answer the question.
O'Donnell told me the query was an example of "antiquated thinking." Letterman said he couldn't answer because he was "thoughtful." I say, with all due respect, baloney. Every American should want Iraq to be free and an ally against Islamic fascism.
There is no question that if Iraq and Afghanistan become functioning democracies, al-Qaida and Iran will suffer major blows. That's why Iran is actively fostering violence in Iraq and why al-Qaida continues to murder people in both theaters.
Freedom is the archenemy of jihad. At this point, even the dimmest among us should realize that.
So why do O'Donnell, Letterman and others hesitate to say if they want a U.S. victory in Iraq? The answer, of course, is ideology.
Any success now in Iraq would help the beleaguered Bush administration, and that is intolerable to the far left. Thus, hurting the president and his crew has become more important to some Americans than seeing a victorious Iraqi campaign.
That kind of thinking is damaging to the country, because, in the long run, Americans are going to have to confront the jihadists and defeat them. Sorry, Barbra Streisand, the terrorists are not going away even if we do pull out of Iraq.
That doesn't mean Americans should support "staying the course." The course must be shown to be smart and effective because lives are at stake. There is nothing wrong with believing the Iraq war has been ineptly waged. That debate is certainly valid.
But pulling against your country in Iraq is simply not acceptable. The American military has fought long and hard to defeat terrorism and oppression there. We are the good guys, and all the twisted ideology in the world is not going to change that.
I may be an "antiquated" thinker, and I might not be as "thoughtful" as some liberal entertainers. But I do understand right from wrong. And it is wrong to root against America in Iraq.
Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His "Radio Factor" can be heard weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.
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