Following Bill O'Reilly, American troops are not getting enough support.
After a surreptitious trip to Afghanistan last weekend, the cantankerous Fox News Channel commentator told The Associated Press that he is disappointed that the United Service Organizations "doesn't put anybody out there (in Afghanistan)."
"I went to thank these guys on behalf of me and my audience," he said in an interview from Istanbul, Turkey. "As far as I know, the only famous people in the past year were (country music singer) Toby Keith and me."
The USO - the organization that famously brought Bob Hope to Vietnam and Marilyn Monroe to Korea - did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The non-proit charity group has been active sending comedians and professional golfers on entertainment tours to bases in the Persian Gulf.
O'Reilly, who flew to Afghanistan on Friday to visit Camp Eggers in Kabul and Bagram Air Base, has long been upbeat about the U.S. mission there. He has also been an impassioned supporter of the troops, unwilling to recognize any shades of gray when it comes to expressing opinion on the Armed Forces.
O'Reilly said he we went to Afghanistan to get an impression of the state of affairs there, but it was unclear whether he moved about the country without military escort or spent any time outside of the U.S. bases.
He met with General Dan McNeill, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Major General David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces there. "The O'Reilly Factor" will air interviews with the two commanders and other footage from the trip, which ended Sunday, next week.
But O'Reilly's main purpose, he said, was to pat the troops on the back.
"We'll hear a lot from the soldiers themselves," he said. "Nobody visits these guys, tells them we appreciate what they're doing."
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