Monthly Archives: September 2004

If Tena and I Blogged Ali Vs. Foreman: The Debates, Vol. 1

I’m in plain text, Tena’s bold. I’m drunk, she’s stoned. Where the fuck are my chicken wings?

Pre-debate on MSNBC. Sharpton clarifies Kerry’s position: I was wrong to trust you with that power, Mr. Bush. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the answer Kerry hasn’t come out with yet, so listen up, Mary Beth. And FUCK YOU, Joe Scarborough. God, how does presidential cock taste, anyway?

Laura and the future First Lady, Teresa Kerry, are saying hello. Laura looks like she just swallowed a codfish whole.

Catty moment: Mrs. Allen Greenspan looks like the Crypt Keeper. Yeeaaarch. “She’s got an odd-shaped head. She looks like a cat-head, that’s why we call her Meow Mix,” and bonus points to anybody who gets that reference.

Fangirl moment: Ron Reagan is hot. Boys, pay attention.

56 seconds to go.

Here we go.

No opening statements? The hell?

Nice handshake. Very good. Big smile. Is Bush wearing heel lifts?

Ok – after the first words about prayer, I knew – there’s not longer any question whatsoever in my mind — Bush is the anti-Christ.

Kerry: Preventing 9/11 attacks. “I can make America safer.” Kerry’s whaling on Bush and no “We’re 90% of the casualties in Iraq.” “Isolate the radical Islamic Muslims rather than let them isolate us.” Oooh, good one.

If I was drinking at every mention of terrorism I’d be blind already.

Bush: He’s repeating the 10 million registration for Afghanistan again … A-Q? What, is he Big G now?

Wait a minute, Bush is the one who’s rambling? Who’s going off on tangents now. Same shit, different venue, basically. He’s regurgitating talking points.

Kerry: “I believe in being strong and resolute but we also have to be smart.”

“He outsourced that job, too.” – Kerry referring to Afghanistan, Tora Bora, and the warlords we sent into Afghanistan rather than our soldiers. Goddamn. He is kicking his ass. 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost. Holy shit. I mean, holy shit.

Kerry just warmed up and suddenly, the room became filled with the perfume of roses and I know just how you felt when you listened to the Weld debate, Athenae. He’s really tearing him apart.

Bush is bringing up Kerry’s past statements, which are not in the slightest inconsistent with what Kerry just said. Bush looks snotty, rattled, and annoyed. Already.

Bush just mixed up Hussein and bin Laden … AGAIN.

Kerry rebuttal: Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it. I wonder if Mr. Athenae would mind if I left him for John Kerry.

Bush is just regurgitating talking points. Over, and over, and over. America will be safer. America will be safer. I promise. Trust me. Here, buy this snake oil.

We can succeed but I don’t think this president can – Kerry. Lehrer looks like Kerry just fucked his mother live on TV. He looks SHOCKED at Kerry’s prowess.

Oh, Game Fucking ON.

Kerry just picked up on the “mixed message” thing. First responders, oh, god, yes, hit ’em again.

Uh – paint a little mustache on that little pissant and say Seig Heil! He’s just out and out doing the Nazi thing today.

When bring troops home: Bush: When ambassador Negroponte (decides he’s raped the country to his satisfaction) decides it’s time to leave …

Kerry just brought up Bush’s dad. Bush looks like he swallowed a hamster.

The oil ministry guarded. Didn’t guard the nuclear facilities, forieng office. Kerry’s being pretty subtle with the combat digs.

John is just amazing. Two more debates – no fucking way. No fucking way.

Kerry looks like whatever Bush can dish out, he can take. I made mistake in how I talk about the war. President made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?

“I know how hard this is, I get the casualty reports.” Yeah, reading all those pages of names is taking the piss right out of you, flyboy. Right.

Kerry’s hitting him hard now. Kerry looks like a grownup. “What I’m trying to do is talk the truth to the Americna people. Truth is what good policy is based on.” Yeah. Kerry knows troop numbers.

So what do you think Bush is doodling right now. “George Heart Laura 4 EVAH!!11!” He sure as hell isn’t taking notes.

I thought Bush was going to ask for everyone’s prayers there at the last.

Kerry kicked ass. Total kung fu brain

Bush looks desperate to communicate his ideas. As if he knows people aren’t buying this bullshit.

Bush brings up a wife of a dead soldier. It’s hard work to love her as best I can knowing I sent her husband to his death. Oh, poor you, Georgie. I feel really bad.

“Want to make sure the outcome honors the nobility of their sacrifice.”

The president’s not getting the job done – Kerry.

It’s the same line over and over. Over and over and over and over. Bush: Kerry’s plan simply won’t work. Oh, okay, I guess we believe you because you’ve given us so much reason to believe you.

Bush: 100,000 troops trained by the end of the year. Yeah, we believe you. It’s hard work, it’s hard work, it’s hard work. You know what? I don’t want to know it’s hard work. I want to know you can do the work, goddammit.

Another preemptive war? Bush: I would hope I never have to. I never wanted to commit troops. The enemy attacked us.

Lehrer, ask it, dammit. Who’s the enemy. Who is it, George?

He’s really rambling far afield right now. By speaking clearly and spending messages we’ve affected the world in a policy way. A policy way?

O my fucking god – he said our enemies are not human. He really did. He said: we care for each one of our dead and that’s what distinguishes us from our enemies. He’s the Anti-Christ King Fascist Nazi American style and I don’t think I will be able to stay here if Kerry doesn’t become president.

Kerry’s got him now. Here comes the kill: Saddam Hussein didn’t attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. He’s got it.

Bush looks like he wants Karl to call the whole thing off.

“Of course I know Osama attacked us.” Whiny whine boy.

He’s hitting him on North Korea now. Oh, Tena, man, I wish I had your phone number, I want to call and just laugh and laugh.

Bush just SIGHED. Loudly. Did you hear that, Tweety?

“I won’t make decisions that are wrong for America.” Well, that’s a huge relief. God, is this groundbreakng rhetoric? Is this blazing new trails? “I also pledge not to kill kittens live on television, Jim, and as a special favor to you, I won’t bite your ear off.”

Bush: My concerns about the Senator is that he changes positions on the war in Iraq. You cannot lead if you send mexed missages. Well, that’s for fucking sure. I’m not sure what mexed missages are, but I don’t think we should send them.

Bush: I just know how this world works. “I just know.” Shorter Bush, trust me.

Kerry: It’s one thing to be certain. But you can be certain, and be wrong. What I worry about the president is that he’s not acknowledging the realities on the ground. Certainty sometimes can get you in trouble.

Kerry: “I’ve never wilted in my life. I’ve never wavered in my life.” Oh, God, is that a good line ever.

Bush, in 2000, he was a good debater. I’m not kidding. I thought he was clear and easy and funny and real. Evil, but real. This is … this is just bad. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

Okay, in the last five seconds, Bush just pronounced Kim Jong Il four ways. Fucking hell.

Bush is revealing himself to be a total wuss. He won’t make the attacks his surrogates are making while Kerry’s right there, whereas Kerry’s making the same arguments he’s always made, not cowed at all by Bush’s presence. He stands by his words.

Closing statements: Kerry thanks Bush, reiterates love for his country, different convctions. He’s so presidential. Another good line: I believe in freedom, not

fear. Responsible leadership that we deserve. Bush talking about America showing uncertainty and weakness not happen as long as I’m president. Yeah, not after tonight, motherfucker. Just pledged not to draft. Yeah, we trust you. We will fight the terrorists around the world so we don’t have to fight them here at home. Flypaper again. Gawd.

I knew Kerry was brilliant, but I’m awed. Really.

I can’t imagine them doing this two more times. I really can’t. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go refill my wine glass.

Debate Open Thread

Tena and I and hopefully Holden will be posting our thoughts later.

If any of you are not partying over at Atrios and Kos, feel free to party here.

A.

Bonus Debate Day Happy Kerry Photo

He will track down those last five undecided voters, and he will convince them.

A.

Congratulations to the Winner!

From Holden:

OK, so I’m a bit early. Kerry’s gonna KICK ASS!

Bush Boom, Bush Boom, Give Me Your Answer True

From Holden:

I’ve been courting the Bush Boom for many months now, but I still can’t get it to make an appearance. This is further evidenced by the fact that consumer spending was flat in August. Remember, consumer spending comprises roughly two-thirds of our economy. If Joe Lunchpail ain’t buyin’, the economy ain’t growin’.

In the “Oh, shit” department

An e-mail from a foreign correspondent that’s getting a lot of play on Romenesko and other places:


Iraqis like to call this mess ‘the situation.’ When asked ‘how are thing?’ they reply: ‘the situation is very bad.”

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn’t control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country’s roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health — which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers — has now stopped disclosing them.

Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.

A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq.

I get less and less articulate the more this war drags on, but I do want to say this. The reporters remaining in Iraq are some of the bravest people on earth. They get slammed at home for not reporting the “good news,” their families are probably scared shitless, they can hardly do anything anymore, but they won’t. Fucking. Leave. They’re willing to die to try to tell us what’s going on there. And for all the faults we might find as we sit here quite safe with our keyboards, that’s a profound public service, and one that inspires, humbles and comforts me.

They need to come home safe, and when they do, they deserve every single journalistic honor that can be heaped upon them.

A.

The Meme and the real expectations game

Okay, here’s the story on every radio station I listen to in the morning on my drive to the kitten groomer’s, up to and including the teeny-bopper Avril Lavigne-obssessed spot on the dial:

Kerry must win this debate in order to salvage his campaign.

That’s the meme. Not that Kerry has won or lost, but that this is it for him. You’d think there was only one debate. You’d think this was the last debate. You’d think that if Kerry didn’t actually rip Bush’s heart from his body and eat it on TV, Mary Beth and the rest of the Kerry gang were gonna shut down the Kerry blog and go home. You’d think the world was going to end tomorrow.

And lest we all think the deejays of Chicago are the only ones suffering from this delusion, you can read more about it here, here, and here.

What we need to do is stop buying into this. There are three debates. I know we’re excited, I know we can’t wait to see Kerry on stage with Bush, I know we think he’ll blow him away. This isn’t a case of a lack of confidence in the candidate on my part.

It’s a case of realizing there’s a whole month to go. No one will be happier than me when Kerry delivers a KO tonight. No one will be dancing faster (well, maybe Teresa). But we can’t think that after tonight, our work’s done.

There’s two more debates. There’s a month left of campaigning. For starters, Steve has some ideas about what we can do starting tomorrow.

Mars, bitches!

A.

369,000 New Jobless Duckies Can’t Find Their Bush Boom

From Holden:

New Jobless claims spiked last week:

In the week ending Sept. 25, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 369,000, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 351,000. The 4-week moving average was 343,500, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 341,250.

Hey John Kerry: Shake Bush’s Hand

From Holden:

I have one small piece of advice for John Kerry leading into tonight’s debate: shake your opponent’s hand.

Kerry should walk over to Bush’s podium when the debate begins and shake Bush’s hand. Maybe even give him a little hug.

Why? Because the Bush campaign made it plain in the 32-page debate memorandum of understanding that they do not want to have their candidate appear on camera with the much taller John Kerry.

If Kerry tries to shake Bush’s hand at the beginning of the debate he will put Bush in a tough spot. Bush will face the choice of accepting the handshake and appearing to be really short before 50 million teevee viewers (and, remember, the taller candidate usually wins these days) or he can shy away or even refuse to retrun this gesture of friendliness and show the nation what an ass he truly is.

By shaking Bush’s hand at the beginning of the debate Kerry will show that he harbors no personal dislike for the preznit, and at the very least he may be able to knock Bush off balance.

Shake hands for America, Senator Kerry!

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Sorry is still the hardest word:

Q Tony Blair has apologized for the evidence that brought the country into war against Iraq, apologizing since apparently some of it was wrong. Do you think the President will also apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has already talked about what Prime Minister Blair said. The President said we all thought we were going to find the stockpiles, and we’re surprised that we did not. But also look at what Prime Minister Blair said and what the President has said: It was the right decision to go in and remove Saddam Hussein’s regime from power; he was a threat that we could no longer afford to ignore and let — and let him continue to deceive the world.

Q Was it appropriate to apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has already spoken to that issue, John. So he’s already said that —

Q Did he apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: He’s already said that, I thought we would have found the stockpiles.

Q That’s not an apology.

Q Is that an apology?

MR. McCLELLAN: Dick, he’s already addressed this issue. It’s the same — Prime Minister Blair said what he’s been saying, too. We all expected to find the stockpiles, but the decision to remove Saddam Hussein, as Prime Minister Blair reiterated again yesterday, was the right decision, because he was a threat and the world is better off with Saddam Hussein removed from power. And that’s —

Q Can you say that’s more an explanation or an apology? I don’t think the statements are —

MR. McCLELLAN: The President said this quite some time ago, he spoke to this very issue quite some time ago. He said the same thing — Prime Minister Blair said we all thought we were going to find the stockpiles. We all thought we were going to find the stockpiles. But it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein —

Q Where is the word sorry?

MR. McCLELLAN: — from power, and that we’re better off — and we’re better off because of it.

Q — into a place where you use words like —

MR. McCLELLAN: I’d be glad to show you where he said that we all expected to.

Q It’s the contrition —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think he’s already said —

Q There’s no apology.

MR. McCLELLAN: He’s already talked to this very issue, Jodi.

Jerk Opens Mouth, Story at 10

Wow, is Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin’s opponent in Wisconsin a superficial prick:


Much of the debate focused on how the contenders would represent the people of Wisconsin during their term in office. According to Republican Magnum, Baldwin has spent more time representing special interest groups from the East and West Coasts than dealing with her constituents.

“I promise you that I won’t hang around Hollywood enough to get a starring role in a movie like ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,'” he said. “I have a goal to be your local representative in Congress. My special interest group is going to be you folks, the 685,000 people of this district. My goal is not going to be to be a national celebrity.”

In response, Baldwin said she has spent most of her time in office in Madison and has used her power to support her constituents.

“I’m very proud of my representation of this district,” she said. “I spend the vast majority of my time here, and this is where I get the chance to hear from you and represent you … and I’m very proud of my cameo appearance that I’m glad you think is a starring role in ‘[Fahrenheit] 9/11.'”

She added most issues she works on, like higher education and foreign policy, are important to all Americans, not just Wisconsinites.

Y’all may remember Tammy from the film. She’s also the only out lesbian in Congress, and with anti-equality measures on ballots all over this country, I can’t think of a more important perspective to keep in our national legislature. You can learn more about her here.

A.

Where Does the Bush Campaign End and the Government Begin?

From Holden:

Today the Washington Post tells us that the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development are pulling out all the stops to help Bush lie about conditions in Iraq:

The Bush administration, battling negative perceptions of the Iraq war, is sending Iraqi Americans to deliver what the Pentagon calls “good news” about Iraq to U.S. military bases, and has curtailed distribution of reports showing increasing violence in that country.

The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush’s reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans’ opinions about the Iraq conflict — a key element of Bush’s reelection message.

USAID said this week that it will restrict distribution of reports by contractor Kroll Security International showing that the number of daily attacks by insurgents in Iraq has increased. On Monday, a day after The Washington Post published a front-page story saying that “the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence,” a USAID official sent an e-mail to congressional aides stating: “This is the last Kroll report to come in. After the WPost story, they shut it down in order to regroup. I’ll let you know when it restarts.”

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s office has sent commanders of U.S. military facilities a five-page memorandum titled “Guidance to Commanders.” The Pentagon, the memo says, is sponsoring a group of Iraqi Americans and former officials from the Coalition Provisional Authority to speak at military bases throughout the United States starting Friday to provide “a first-hand account” of events in Iraq. The Iraqi Americans and the CPA officials worked on establishing the interim Iraqi government. The Iraqi Americans “feel strongly that the benefits of the coalition efforts have not been fully reported,” the memo says.

And, as I deduced on in Tuesday’s Obsession with the Gaggle the U.S. Embassy in Iraq as well as former CPA liar and current Bush campaign shill Dan Senor wrote Allawi’s speech before Congress:

[A]dministration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the prime minister was coached and aided by the U.S. government, its allies and friends of the administration. Among them was Dan Senor, former spokesman for the CPA who has more recently represented the Bush campaign in media appearances. Senor, who has denied writing the speech, sent Allawi recommended phrases. He also helped Allawi rehearse in New York last week, officials said. Senor declined to comment.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and British Foreign Service officials also helped Allawi with the text and delivery of his remarks, said administration officials who were involved.

The Pentagon, USAID, and the US Embassy in Iraq should not be working for the Bush campaign. Yet another issue for our friends the Johns.

Unfortunately for the Bushboy, reality is not a member of his campaign:

Insurgents escalated the violence in Iraq Thursday morning as separate bombing incidents killed dozens of people, including three American soldiers.

The most lethal attack appeared to be directed at troops and security forces near a government-sponsored ceremony marking the reopening of a Baghdad water treatment plant. Although details remained sketchy, Iraqi police told wire services that more than 30 people died in two successive blasts.

Separately, a car bomb killed one U.S. soldier and two Iraqi police at a checkpoint near Abu Ghraib on Thursday morning. Three American soldiers and 10 police were wounded in the Abu Ghraib attack, which also damaged a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, according to a statement by the U.S. military.

The Reuters news agency quoted a doctor at Abu Ghraib hospital saying that a total of around 60 people were wounded.

Ignorance Isn’t Free, Either

So nobody who supports Bush knows shit, basically:


Majorities of Bush supporters incorrectly assumed that Bush favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements (84%), and the US being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the International Criminal Court (66%), the treaty banning land mines (72%), and the Kyoto Treaty on global warming (51%). They were divided between those who knew that Bush favors building a new missile defense system now (44%) and those who incorrectly believe he wishes to do more research until its capabilities are proven (41%). However, majorities were correct that Bush favors increased defense spending (57%) and wants the US, not the UN, to take the stronger role in developing Iraq’s new government (70%).

You know, this is a theme that’s come up time and again from everybody from the pundits to my next door neighbor, a reasonably informed and smart human being who nonetheless accosted me in the hall the other day and asked, “Where’s Kerry been? He needs to start campaigning.”

I’ve always thought the most dangerous part of our democracy is the responsibility placed on us to seek out information about those things that affect our lives. We all bitch about the press and we worry about the influence of this or that innovation in media, but ultimately, it’s up to us.

If I want to know what John Kerry has been up to lately, there is ample information that would lead me to the conclusion that he’s been campaigning his ass off, it’s just that I live in a safely blue state and will never see him.

But I have to take the time to go and look, and sadly, it looks like quite a few people either can’t do that, or don’t want to. There’s a large part of me that says fuck those people, if they’re too lazy to work for what they want, they deserve whatever government they get. But in my good old bleeding liberal heart, I know we have to reach them, too. I’m just not sure how to do it.

A.

Coalition Patrners Giving In To Terrorists

From Holden:

A member of the Italian Parliament has confirmed that his government paid a $1 million ransom for two hostages:

Despite an official government denial, a leading parliament member said he believed Italy had handed over about $US1 million ($1.39 million) to secure their freedom.

“In principle, one should not give in to ransoms. But this time, they had to,” Gustavo Selva, the head of the Foreign Affairs committee of the Chamber of Deputies, said on France’s RTL radio.

“The lives of the two girls was the most important thing.”

[snip]

Mr Selva belongs to National Alliance, a right-wing party in Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government.

[snip]

Mr Selva, however, suggested that the Government had to deny paying a ransom in order to save face. With more than a score of other hostages from various nations still in Iraq, the issue of ransom has practical and ethical ramifications.

Asked about a Kuwaiti newspaper report that $US1 million ($1.39 million) was paid, Mr Selva said: “The amount is probably correct.”

[snip]

La Stampa, a moderate Turin daily, quoted Mr Berlusconi as brushing off the questions over ransom, saying: “About this business, we won’t say anything.”

Giving in to the demands of terrorists worked so well for Berlusconi that Tony Blair wants to give it a whirl:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday he was ready to open up contact with captors of a British hostage in Iraq, shown on video begging Blair to save his life.

[snip]

“They’ve made no attempt to have any contact with us at all. If they did make contact, it would be something we would immediately respond to,” Blair told reporters on the fringes of his ruling Labour Party’s annual conference in the southern town of Brighton.

Congressmen Sound Off!

From Holden:

Talkradio News Service is a must-vist site for me each day. Not only do they provide me with gaggle transcripts (often before the White House deigns to post them) but they also give great audio clips.

Today we have:

Rep. John Lewis (D-CivilRightsHero) calling for Paul Wolfowitz’ resignation. (32 sec.)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-KickAssGirrrl) calling for Paul Wolfowitz’ resignation. (39 sec.)

Rep. Brian Baird (D-TellItBro) calling George Bush a liar. (1 min.)

Bush’s Top Ten Flip-Flops

From Holden:

According to CBS News’ David Paul Kuhn. Check out the full story, Kuhn has done a good job of putting together the relevant quotes.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Nation Building and the War in Iraq

Iraq and the Sept. 11 Attacks

The Sept. 11 Commission

Free Trade

Homeland Security Department

Same-Sex Marriage

Winning the War on Terror

Campaign Finance Reform

Gas Prices

Laura Bush Says We Will Be In Iraq for 80 to 100 Years

From Holden:

Henderson, Nevada, today:

Building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it took us in our country, even though we were given the perfect document by our founders. It took almost 100 years after our founders declared all men are created equal to abolish slavery in America. And not until 84 years ago did American women get the right to vote.

Channel the Young John Kerry

From Holden:

Fresh from deployment in Iraq, two young New York lawyers will never be the same:

Nightmares haunt Jason N. Thelen four times a week. When he’s awake, he struggles with memory and concentration problems.

Allen R. Vaught still deals with pain from where his back snapped in four places. He, too, battles memory problems.

Both men — former Army captains who returned home recently from fighting in Iraq — not only share symptoms, they share the cause: They nearly were killed while together on a mission.

[snip]

In the long months they served in Iraq before the ambush, they dodged AK-47 fire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades that came screaming out of minarets; endured endless days of 130-degree heat and months without showers; and drove Humvees through streets flooded with a foot-and-a-half of raw sewage. They say they waited in vain for Uncle Sam to provide radios so convoy vehicles could communicate; and they received body armor late — and then it was too small. The Army tasked them with teaching citizens of the former dictatorship about democracy, but many Iraqis just wanted them to leave. Their experiences left them deeply disillusioned about the possibility of successful societal transformation in the former dictatorship. “They [the Iraqis] will never be an American-style democracy,” Thelen says.

Vaught adds, “I don’t want another American to die for something that’s probably not going to work.”