The O'Reilly Factor
A daily summary of segments aired on The O'Reilly Factor. A preview of the evening's rundown is posted before the show airs each weeknight.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
The Factor Rundown
Talking Points Memo & Top Story
Impact Segment
Personal Story Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment
Factor Follow Up Segment
Back of Book Segment
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Historic Iraqi election concludes
Guest: Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera

"By most accounts the Iraq election was very successful. This is obviously a huge blow against worldwide terrorism, which opposes any kind of democracy. The far-left web sites are silent, no doubt thinking up how they'll spin what is a defeat for them. On the political front, Senator Kennedy is looking very bad after his negative comments about Iraq last week. While it would be a mistake for Americans to get over-exuberant about the election, there's no question this is a huge victory for the coalition forces. The morale of US soldiers will most likely go up, Iraqi cooperation probably will improve, and President Bush looks like a sage. As Talking Points mentioned, failure in Iraq would have bolstered the terrorists and made all of our lives far more dangerous. Let's hope and pray things in Iraq improve dramatically from here on."


Reporting from Iraq, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera provided personal analysis of the election. "It was incredible to watch," Rivera told The Factor. "The ordinary, humble farmer and merchant going to the ballot box. These were people experiencing the awe of democracy for the first time. It was one of the most inspiring sights you could ever expect to see." Rivera spent election day talking with Iraqi citizens. "They mentioned how they had no rights under Saddam. These people are free of the shackles, feeling they have some power over their own lives."
The election & its meaning
Guests: Fox News contributor Dan Senor & Larry Korb, former Department of Defense official

Fox News contributor Dan Senor predicted the election's big loser could be terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "Zarqawi had declared himself against democracy, and said that if democracy is successful in Iraq, the terrorists would have to pick up and go elsewhere. And that's what happened. Millions of people risked their lives and defied the insurgents." Former Defense Department official Larry Korb sounded a more sober note. "The election is a good step," Korb agreed. "But if US casualties don't go down, the American people are going to become restless because we've raised expectations. People are looking for results, and the result is a decline in the number of Americans dying."

The same guests also considered the international political fallout from the election. Korb suggested the time is right for President Bush to enlist the help of other nations: "The President can use this election to leverage support from the Europeans. We need them to help train the Iraqi security forces, which will be the key to our leaving." Senor said the responsibility lies not with President Bush, but with other nations. "This is historic, the first time an Arab country will be able to hold its government accountable. And the international community should rally to this movement." The Factor agreed it's time for European nations to step up. "If Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder and Vladmir Putin don't help us in Iraq, then we have to take action against them--some kind of economic reprisal or a reassessment of our relationship with them."
Shepard Smith in Baghdad
Guest: Fox News anchor Shepard Smith

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who has been reporting from Iraq, was allowed to tour an elaborate bunker complex Saddam Hussein constructed under one of his palaces. "The complex has miles of tunnels and hundreds of rooms," Smith reported. " The military told us these were the most sophisticated bunkers anyone had seen outside the United States. And he built this while people were claiming that children were starving to death because of economic sanctions. Saddam's people were starving because he was spending billions of dollars on a bunker."
Military fallout
Guest: Fox News military analysts Col. David Hunt & Col. Bill Cowan

Military leaders hope US casualties will decline as Iraq gradually takes more control of its own security. Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt: "This was an amazing effort," Hunt said. "We have a good chance of success if the Iraqi military and police stand up like they did in the past few days." Col. William Cowan: "The Iraqi citizen can now sit back and say our security forces won the day. I think that is going to have a profound psychological effect on the Iraqi security forces. They're going to be empowered, and the Iraqi people will have a lot more confidence in them."
Aftershocks in the Arab world?
Guest: Prof. Walid Phares

What will be the election's political and social reverberations in the Middle East? "It is dividing the Arab world," said Professor Walid Phares. "The jihadists are going ballistic--they saw millions and millions of Arabs and Kurds voting, and they have no answer for this." Phares predicted the impact in specific Arab nations. "Syrian President Bashir Assad knows that the Baath party is gone in Iraq, and his Baath party in Syria is in real jeopardy. And in Iran, students and women will have an interest in having the same thing happen there that happened in Iraq. Iraq is going to emerge as the leading reformist society. This is just the beginning."
The democratic response
Guest: Fox News contributor Mary Anne Marsh

No politician has been more critical of US actions in Iraq than Senator Edward Kennedy, who has urged a gradual US withdrawal. Fox News consultant Mary Anne Marsh agreed that Kennedy and other anti-war Democrats are now in a difficult position. "The problem with the Democrats," Marsh said, "is they've simply been saying no to Bush. They have to come up with alternative plans, and come up with their own initiatives. The Democrats need to go on offense, and not just on Iraq." The Factor felt the party may be in even deeper trouble. "The perception is that Kennedy and Howard Dean are the spokespeople for the Democratic Party. After the election in Iraq, Kennedy's poll numbers are going to be in the basement, and that's where the Democratic Party is going to go because they're linked."