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August 23, 2007

New! Improved! Iraq! Now with Democracy!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:43 AM * 108 comments

Remember the long list of Why We Had To Start A War With Iraq?

Pick a reason: It was because of Saddam’s support for al Qaeda. It was because of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It was because Saddam wasn’t following UN directives. It was because Saddam tried to kill my daddy. It was because we left the job unfinished in ‘91. It was because of mobile biowar laboratories. It was because of 9/11. It was because of yellowcake from Niger. It was because of aluminum tubes. It was because Afghanistan didn’t have any good targets.

Finally they decided (long after we were already there) that it was to set up a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, so that the folks in other countries, seeing how wonderful it was, would want some for themselves and spontaneously become democracies too.

Not so much any more.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Nightmarish political realities in Baghdad are prompting American officials to curb their vision for democracy in Iraq. Instead, the officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security.

A workable democratic and sovereign government in Iraq was one of the Bush administration’s stated goals of the war.

But for the first time, exasperated front-line U.S. generals talk openly of non-democratic governmental alternatives, and while the two top U.S. officials in Iraq still talk about preserving the country’s nascent democratic institutions, they say their ambitions aren’t as “lofty” as they once had been.

“Democratic institutions are not necessarily the way ahead in the long-term future,” said Brig. Gen. John “Mick” Bednarek, part of Task Force Lightning in Diyala province, one of the war’s major battlegrounds.

There you have it. We invaded Iraq, killed thousands of US troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and bankrupted the US treasury, in order to overthrow a dictator. But the price was worth it because at the end of the day the Iraqis would be ruled by … another dictator.

Comments on New! Improved! Iraq! Now with Democracy!:
#1 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Yes, but he'll be our dictator.

For maybe a month.

#2 ::: Jon Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 01:25 AM:

Two years ago I went to Iraq for Wired magazine and wound up writing a lengthy article about two young Americans who went there to wire the country to the Net.

One of them - who worked in Iraq for years, as the only American in an Iraqi company, and still maintains strong ties to the place - in other words, who knows what he's talking about, said earlier this year, if memory serves, that as far as he's concerned, the best-case scenario is now that a brutal tyrant takes over the country and enforces security with an iron fist.

Again, that's his best-case scenario.

#3 ::: maidstragedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:20 AM:

And sadly, I'm not even the tiniest bit surprised. It's so good being Australian, I can be so proud of what we've helped to achieve here.

#4 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Based on the latest schizophrenic babbling from the Bush about Prime Minister al-Maliki*, I think the Bushy Regime is getting tired of having to deal with Iraqi politicians they didn't pick, and want to wind the clock back a bit so they can stick in a better sockpuppet.


* "He sucks", "No, he's a good guy"; "He's not getting the job we need done", "He's the Iraqi peoples' Prime Minister, not ours".

#5 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:21 AM:

What Tania said.

I despair. And it doesn't help that there is a family in KC that lives on State Line in a place I have to pass that have put out a small flag for every death and a total count card at the end of the bank of flags (on both ends so it can be read both directions). It's updated daily.

I cry when I pass it. This is such a wasteful, stupid war. My brother didn't die from Viet Nam, but he may as well have. This war may leave much deeper scars.

#6 ::: R. M. Kehrli ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:34 AM:

Hey, but look at the bright side. At least they aren't communists!

...

#7 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:52 AM:

And, it pretty much is going to be a requirement that the strongman be a Sunni, unfriendly to Iran. In which case we're back to square one.

Unless, of course, they just go back to plan A and install Ahmed Chalabi like they intended to from the start, despite his ties to Iran.

#8 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:01 AM:

What about chopping up Iraq for spare parts and giving the Kurds a real official homeland, and maybe bankrolling the repatriation of Turkish Kurds to a new Kurdistani republic so that Turkey has one fewer ethnic group it's tempted to cleanse like the Armenians?

#9 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:40 AM:

Too bad Saddam Hussein has been executed already. His résumé looks really good for the job.

#10 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:59 AM:

To #8: the same reasons the partition of India and Ireland were dumb ideas -- mass intermingling of populations, and so-on.

This is part of an ongoing series on why the workers of the world have no nation.

#11 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 04:33 AM:

I'm sure they are trying to think outside the box as to how they can appoint an american to the job.

#12 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:24 AM:

Jon Evans@2: Your link is broken. I'd really like to read the article though.

#13 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:28 AM:

As someone whose early views on American foreign policy were informed (as they say these days) by Tom Lehrer, that doesn't surprise me in the least.

#14 ::: Gag Halfrunt ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:53 AM:

Eve@12: Here's the article.

#15 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:12 AM:

Gag@14: Thanks, that's great.

#16 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:52 AM:

And meanwhile, with chaos and disorder the predominant examples of behavior in Iraq, over here in the US we have:

--Government sanctioned satellite surveillance of US citizens, in the US. (for your safety!)

--Increasing demands for "National ID" cards that you would be required to carry around with you at all times. ("papers, papers please")

--Government publications on how to stifle free speech and expression at Presidential speeches and rallies, by using organized "rally squads" to confront, outyell, and block anyone not showing the proper amount of support.

Gee thanks, Bush Jr., you're getting your wish to be remembered in history. It just won't be the way you wanted. At least Grant will be able to step down from the "worst President ever" podium when you're done.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:53 AM:

It was because of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and because of the Ballistic Missels.

#18 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:09 AM:

Serge 17:
Ballistic Missals? They were going to launch prayer books at us? The Fiends! That justifies the war for sure!

#19 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:10 AM:

See, it's really all about proving how those goddamn dirty hippies were wrong about Vietnam. That's what Bush says. And he should know. If it weren't for those goddamn dirty hippies taking all of the cool jobs in Vietnam, he'd have been a real war hero.

#20 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:23 AM:

David Bilek #9: Well, one big downside about Saddam (other than the genocide and other similar public relations issues) was the fact that he didn't stay bought. That's just unacceptable behavior in a puppet head of state, you know.

Bryan #11: Say, after we conquer Iran, let's appoint Christiane Amanpour as the new Head of State. She would do a great job!

#21 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:23 AM:

It's not the Iraqis we should have been worrying about, but the Belgians.

They've got Ballistic Mussels.

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:44 AM:

Eve @ 21... First the French, next the Belgians! You just can't trust people who speak French and... What? Oh. Nevermind.

#23 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 07:48 AM:

And here I thought the Belgians would have ballistic truffles...

#24 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 08:08 AM:

If we get into a war with Belgium, there will be the hideously difficult problem of decrypting front line tactical transmissions from the Flemish Codetalkers, you know.

#26 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 08:38 AM:

Well, Douglas Adams did tell us that "belgium" was one of the worse swearwords in the larger galaxy...now we see why!

(Not commenting on the actual post, because, goddammit, what a bloody horrible messy waste of 4.5 years.)

#27 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:33 AM:

The "beacon of democracy" line wasn't part of the administration's own prewar case for invading --- or at least, not part of their public argument. But for what it's worth, it was flogged endlessly, before the invasion, by one very prominent fellow traveler of theirs, Tom Friedman. (Here's an old blog entry which quotes the key bits from one such column --- which, by the way, dismisses the WMD-based official casus belli as nonsense, before the invasion even happened. America's Most Important Columnist knew the invasion was being promoted by liars, and supported it anyway).

Then there's Bernard Lewis, who apparently was influenced by a trip to Turkey in his youth to believing that what the moribund Muslim world needed was secular strongmen like Ataturk. Iraq already had one of those, but that didn't keep him from advocating invasion anyway...

#28 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:50 AM:

But, will they be a "kinder, gentler" dictator, or a "compassionate" dictator. Say, I hear George Jr. maybe looking for a new job in a year and a half.

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Well, now, the mighty George is now saying that if the US pulls out of Iraq it will be a replay of Vietnam (with the North Iraqis conquering the South?), complete with boat people, reëducation camps, and other horrors (whether this includes punching a refugee attempting to get on the last helicopter out is left as an exercise for the student). He also said that the wars in Korea and Vietnam were fought to introduce democracy. George, like Ronnie, seems to think that facts are stupid things.

#30 ::: Richard Crawford ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Yeah, another dictator would be the best option at at this point, it seems. When we got rid of Hussein we got rid of the one guy who seemed to be able to keep all of the centuries-old ethnic and religious divisions to a tolerable level of hatred and strife. It just baffles me that the Bush administration didn't take this into consideration when they were supposedly planning this fiasco -- but perhaps they were just too caught up in revenging the death threat against Bush, Sr.

#31 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:15 AM:

John L #23: No, the Belgians would have ballistic waffles.

#32 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:26 AM:

We must remember that The George is a follower of a particular school of philosophy that holds that reasons after the fact are more important than before. They're called the Rationalizationists.

#33 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:28 AM:

Those who ignore history are condemned to flunk it and repeat it next term.

#34 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:35 AM:

Well, I'm still sending my Republican Congresswoman and Senator a postcard with flag-draped coffins on it every time the toll goes up. Message: Defund the war, bring our troops home...ALL of them.

I'll be needing to order more postcards soon.

My Democratic Senator has been getting "thank-yous" from me by email and phone. He's voting the right way.

#35 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:37 AM:

So, anybody else having 70's and 80's flashbacks, where in the name of democracy we supported dictators, monarchs and oligarchies throught the Middle-East and Central America?

#36 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:46 AM:

It may be a good while before anybody rules in Iraq.

#37 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:48 AM:

#16: I've read an argument that Grant's reputation suffered as a result of an active campaign to tarnish it, because he had pushed for anti-lynching laws and banning the KKK.

In any event, Bush already assumed that mantle long, long, long, long ago.

#38 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Steve 2 35

Oh, those are flashbacks? I though it was the same d*mned nightmare since the cast had only minor changes ....

#39 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 11:10 AM:

#38 P J Evans, and they've updated the soundtrack, and people's hair looks better. But, yeah, same cast, different roles.

#40 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 11:17 AM:

"One, two, three, what are we fighting for?"...

Shrub actually rattled off the line about boat people and reeducation camps with what might almost pass for eloquence (by his standards, anyway). I suppose it was a combo of heavy coaching and the relative relaxation of talking to a bunch of "patriotic" vets -- as opposed to the ones who saw first-hand just how deep that earlier quagmire was.

#41 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 11:38 AM:

The irony meter rang off the scale this morning, as NPR played the audio of Bush's speech to the veterans, where he used the Vietnam War to justify staying in Iraq. Evidently it's unimportant to him that 45,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese were killed in that conflict, nor does it matter that we were supporting a dictator, and that, oh, yeah, that fight between the South and the North was a civil war. But Bush undoubtedly believes that -- oh, never mind how that sentence ends. The guy never met a fact he couldn't ignore.

I hate this shit. I just don't know how to stop it.

#42 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 11:44 AM:

According to Firedoglake, the number of American killed in Vietnam was 58,000. Sorry. Bad memory, bad, bad.

#43 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 12:45 PM:

According to Juan Cole: "A rumor is circulating among well-connected and formerly high-level Iraqi bureaucrats in exile in places like Damascus that a military coup is being prepared for Iraq. I received the following from a reliable, knowledgeable contact. There is no certitude that this plan can or will be implemented. That it is being discussed at high levels seems highly likely."

Deja vu all over again.

#44 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 12:56 PM:

I long thought that the perfect absurdist ending to this fuligin black comedy of a war would be to have the U.S. reinstall Saddam as the only man who could bring security to Iraq, provide a counterforce to Iran, etc etc -- all the reasons that we supported him for so long in the first place. Given that God was clearly going for a pretty straightforward black comedy script here (influenced by Dr. Strangelove, perhaps, but frankly a little more absurdist, a little less realist), it seemed the perfect ending, particularly given the spectacle of the entire US commetariat turning on a dime and praising Saddam as the right man for the right moment, and proudly pointing where they could to their long-time support for him -- back in the 80's, when he was really tough!

And we got pretty close -- Johnathan Chait, liberal hawk (sic), actually proposed this with tongue only slightly in cheek some time ago.

Of course, in an earlier move, desperate for raitings, they killed off the character. But no matter: we'll take a Saddam clone. Dress him up in the same suit, and everyone will get the parallel. (I'm thinking of how Woody Allen, the early, Bananas Woody Allen would do it here: suit the same, big false mustache the same... actor barely visible under all that garb.) Won't have precisely the dramatic punch, but close enough not to matter.

And Christopher Hitchens and Don Rumsfeld can proudly proclaim that they were for a strong man in Iraq decades before the rest of us. And hey: for once they'll be telling the truth.

#45 ::: John Dallman ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 12:58 PM:

If anyone remembers Bush Senior and Brent Sowcroft's article about reasons for not unseating Sadam in 1991? They reckoned, basically, that they'd have to replace him with someone similar, and saw it as pointless.

But reading your predecessor's thoughts and reasons seems to have been too much for this administration, throughout. It's amazing the way they think "democracy = govenrment that does what we want". They can't even manage that reliably in the USA, never mind Iraq, Palestine, etc.

#46 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 01:04 PM:

#16, #37: I've always had the impression that Grant was nowhere near as close to the bottom of the presidential rankings as, say, Franklin Pierce or Warren G. Harding . . . and these days, it looks like Bush II is closing in on James Buchanan's bottom-of-the-pack position.

#47 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:08 PM:

Remember how just after the 2001 inauguration, the Bushies sent out those bizarre press releases claiming that the departing Clintonistas had sabotaged the White House laser printers with "porn bombs"?

It's all about the ballistic nipples.

(Imagine a gigantic nipple going *spung* into your face... forever.)

#48 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:32 PM:

And Christopher Hitchens and Don Rumsfeld can proudly proclaim that they were for a strong man in Iraq decades before the rest of us. And hey: for once they'll be telling the truth.

To be fair to Christopher Hitchens - and no, I'm not sure why I'm bothering, because I doubt he would be fair to me - I have the firm impression that he at least has been consistently in favour of democracy in Iraq, even if it's democracy-by-force. If he has any of his old principles left, he should be as horrified by the prospect of a puppet dictator as any of us. But I wouldn't be too surprised to be proved wrong about this. Possibly he would justify it on the grounds that a dictator would at least be secular (like, er, Saddam Hussein was).

#49 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Grant? Worst president in US history?

Not even close (IMO). That goes to Buchanan. After that there's a small line, in which Grant doesn't really stand. He had poor friends, and came to office in a bad time, but he wasn't even venal, just not the right man for the job.

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Julie L #47: I'm now going to see that as the horror in Room 101...

#51 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:49 PM:

Julie L @ 47... It's all about the ballistic nipples.

We need to get to the bosom of this.

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:56 PM:

Serge #51: I see you're keeping abreast of the situation.

#53 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 02:58 PM:

#51: I'm busy, but keep me abreast of your efforts.

#54 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:01 PM:

Man, why couldn't ONE of those vets stand up and shout:

"You fucking draft-dodging ASSWIPE, haven't you learned anything?"

Hell, one prosthetic leg clattering onto the stage would have spoke volumes.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Fragano & Stefan Jones... Yes, but the efforts to gather intelligence have been a bust.

#56 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Fragano, Stefan, Serge--I've heard of lowering the bra, but this is ridiculous. Corset has been making me laugh...

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:11 PM:

Serge @55
That's because they didn't use areole surveillance.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:24 PM:

Abi... TexAnne... Tit's getting ridiculous. I'd breast drop the subject.

#59 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:32 PM:

#48: Hitchens supported Saddam in 1976 -- see here for details. That's what I was referring to. But given that he's been consistent for longer than most of the cometariat, perhaps he's not the best example. He just rubs me the wrong way.

#60 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:34 PM:

Serge @58
I admit I was milking it.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 03:38 PM:

abi... coughgagsplutter... It's going from bad to nurse.

#62 ::: mds ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 54:

Man, why couldn't ONE of those vets stand up and shout:

"You fucking draft-dodging ASSWIPE, haven't you learned anything?"

Well, it wasn't quite as dramatic as all that, but remember this?

Gad, that photo brings back mammaries.

#63 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 04:36 PM:

Ridiculous. Udderly ridiculous.

#64 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 04:39 PM:

I know we should teat this much more seriously, but if I do I think I'm going to s-cream.

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Abi, Serge, TexAnne, Stefan Jones: We are clearly the cream of the crop. Perhaps we should take a page from H.L. Mencken and refer to ourselves as the booboisie.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:33 PM:

You guys are such a hoot.

#67 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister, Abi, Serge, TexAnne, Stefan Jones. The lack of support is apalling. Instead of lifting us you've separated us. It'll all come to naught in 18-hours unless there's a wonder and eventually we'll have to throw it all over our shoulders like a continental soldier...

What? All the good jokes were taken.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 05:46 PM:

This all reminds me it's been a long time since I've listened to Wagner's Ring of the Nipplelong...

#69 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:10 PM:

Nipplelong. Isn't that a song by Jetro Tull?

#70 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Those who ignore history are condemned to flunk it and repeat it next term.

Those who ignore history are condemning others to repeat it.

#71 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Abi, Serge, TexAnne, Stefan Jones, Fragano Ledgister, and Julie L. for starting it.

*Applause*

*groan*

*bigger applause*

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 06:40 PM:

Dolloch... (Bows, and exits left without uddering any further joke.)

#73 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 08:18 PM:

#23 The real danger is the ballistic waffles, the Waffles Of Mass Destruction.

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Steve Buchheit #67: At least you have not descended to uddering falsies......

#75 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:24 PM:

I raise my cups to all of you.

#76 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 10:36 PM:

As long as it's not suffering from any lack of dose. I'd be intolerant of that.

#77 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2007, 11:59 PM:

John Warner has severed his leash to Bush and proposed troops come home.

#78 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Marilee, his proposal is that 5,000 of 160,000 come home by December. According to the LA Times, he says he would leave it to the president, as commander in chief, in consultation with the military, to decide "if a deployment such as I recommend is feasible, and any subsequent redeployments after that." He also says flatly that he will not support any Democratic proposals to actually Do Anything. This is not serious. This is Republican theater.

#79 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 12:41 AM:

Wow, you punsters are really hitting your straps!

#80 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Lizzy #78:

To be fair, the available alternatives all suck. Pulling out may be the best option available to us, and is certainly at least one we can probably manage, but we're probably going to leave behind a multiyear, multiethnic bloodbath, and quite possibly get an Iraq that we will like much, much less than the old secular thugocracy under Saddam.

#81 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:24 AM:

vian, of corset they are a clever group of punsters. It's a real teat to be able read their work, and occasionally express my own contributions.

#82 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:46 AM:

I've certainly found the whole exchange uplifting - one of those exchanges that really cleaves together. Really makes you want to linger, eh?

#83 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 01:57 AM:

And thank goodness none of the moderators have gotten thor, ax* one is wont to become, prior to issuing a sternum warning.

*vian, your lingerie is much better than my thorax

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 07:11 AM:

I, for one, am happy that in these horrible times (and I agree that the former Mr Elizabeth Taylor's proposal is nothing but Republican theatre) some of us can still produce a titter.

#85 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 07:33 AM:

(steadfastly ignoring the puns)

Stephen@59: Fair enough. The original article is remarkably mealy-mouthed, actually, but it's clearly an expression of support for Saddam. I shall clearly have to revise my idea that he has been a consistent supporter of democracyL it looks like the by-force part was always more important.

It's a shame, because I'm sure he used to say as many sensible things as he did ridiculous things. But now apparently he's picked the stupid ideas and decided that being consistent is a virtue even when he's wrong.

#86 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 07:51 AM:

If Saddam really had had weapons of mass destruction capable of attacking Britain in 45 minutes, he could have handed them over to the UN inspectors and he'd still be in power. We invaded Iraq because he didn't have them.

Can you imagine the "Help Wanted" ad? Wanted: Tyrant. Niceness not a requirement. Must have good communication skills, be secular, and have strong ties to the communities. This is an equal opportunity position.

#87 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:21 AM:

Jo Walton @ 86... Can you imagine the "Help Wanted" ad? Wanted: Tyrant.

That reminds me of a movie I caught the very end of, years ago. It was one of those things inspired by some martial-arts videogame. After the Bad Guy has been defeated, two of his henchmen, now unemployed, forlornly stand by a road carrying a sign that says "Will hench for food".

#88 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:45 AM:

So "Nouri al-Maliki" is Arabic for "Ngo Dinh Diem"?

Steve @ 35: I'm fucking nostagic for the '70s and '80s. At least those administrations felt enough shame to do their torture and brutality by foreign proxies, instead of ordering Americans to get blood on their hands.

#89 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Seth Gordon @ 88

Holy crap! The parallels really are uncanny. A president installed by foreign machinations, who's a member of a sect not trusted by other parts of the population during a time of great religious and ethnic division, brought down by internal forces at the behest of a US government which no longer believes he has their interests at heart - oh, wait, that hasn't happened to al-Maliki yet.

#90 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Serge #87: That would be Double Dragon. The two henchmen were played by two of my favorite stunt men, Jeff Imada (Hewey) and Al Leong (Lewis). One quote from the movie: "Huey, Lewis, any news?"

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:04 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 90... It almost makes me want to watch the whole movie. Should I succumb to temptation?

#92 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:33 AM:

#86: Bush demanded that Saddam let the inspectors come back, so Saddam let the inspectors come back. He demanded Saddam destroy missiles, so Saddam destroyed missiles. Saddam kept ultimately bowing down to his demands; sooner or later Bush was going to have to come up with a demand that was impossible for Saddam to meet, and use it to justify going to war.

#93 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:47 AM:

sooner or later Bush was going to have to come up with a demand that was impossible for Saddam to meet, and use it to justify going to war.
I don't think he ever actually came up with such a demand.

#94 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 11:50 AM:

I don't think he ever actually came up with such a demand.

I believe the final demand was to the effect of "Leave the country," then started bombing before the "or else" deadline.

#95 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Serge #91: Just so you know, I despised "My Dinner With Andre" and like martial arts movies, so my opinion is going to be skewed a bit from the norm. My priorities differ: for example, I think that Emmanuelle Seigner's fighting performance in "The Ninth Gate" was nicely understated. I'd say "Double Dragon" is at least worth a rental, but please don't hate me if you don't like it. heh.

#96 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Lizzy L, #78, I found that out later. :::sigh::: I shouldn't trust what the local news says, even though it's in DC.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2007, 10:07 PM:

Earl Cooley @ 95... I've never seen My Dinner with Andre. Oh, and Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite movies. I'll see if I can rent Double Dragon, but I'll have to wait for my wife not to be around. Her enjoyment of cinematic silliness isn't as acute as mine. Which is why I can't watch At The Earth's Core as often as I'd like.

#98 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 03:24 AM:

Earl Cooley @ 95

I'm confused ... are you saying that your low taste in movies is evidenced by your opinion of The Ninth Gate? Because I really enjoyed that movie, and I have good taste. You can tell, because all the big food companies want to put me in a can. Being a Linux kernel hacker these days, I guess that makes me Chicken of The C.

#99 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 04:43 AM:

Bruce Cohen: If the food companies succeed in putting you in a can, have no fear; we'll all be here to let you out.

#100 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 04:53 AM:

I suppose I also liked The Ninth Gate for most of the reasons other people do, it's just that my priorities are a bit off sometimes. If I got around to blogging movie reviews, I imagine I'd be better at explaining myself with more practice.

I was essentially indulging in a bit of self-deprecation with my #95. heh.

#101 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 01:50 PM:

#54: because (a) people with that independent turn of mind don't join organizations like the American Legion, just like I haven't joined AARP, or (b) the entire audience was vetted (cf the 2004 elections).

#80: "Shrub -- when it absolutely, positively has to become Somalia!" (Especially given this week's news, which makes clear for anyone who'd completely missed it before that the majority can't even work out power sharing among themselves; the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigade are close to an all-out war in the south.)

#102 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2007, 10:11 PM:

CHip, my dislike of AARP is not that it's a group, but that they lobby for whatever the management thinks is best, they never ask the members.

I'm not much for joining groups, though.

#103 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 03:25 AM:

The thing I don't like about the AARP was the huge freaking conflict of interests they had when lobbying for the hideous Medicare prescription coverage gap (the "Donut Hole From Hell") while they were in bed with an insurance company to shovel "exclusive health coverage benefits" at their membership. Bleargh.

#104 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Ah, I never knew about the "benefits." However, I am currently $56 from the donut hole, so I know all about that. Every year, I hit it earlier.

#105 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Marilee, you have my sympathy. It looks like I may be able to stave off the Hole Bandit a bit longer this year by having switched to as many generics as possible.

#106 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 01:19 AM:

I have as many generics as possible, too. The problem is that Medicare keeps taking my meds off their formulary. This year, it was oral iron (they cover IM iron), so instead of the co-pay, I'm paying for all of it. It's a bit more than $400 a year and that moves me earlier.

#107 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 05:29 AM:

One other thing which recurs with annoying frequency is Big Pharma reformulating perfectly decent medications to scuttle the competition when they go generic, combined with cynically evil Pharma lobbyists gaming the formulary.

#108 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Earl #107:

Things get kinda weird--and not necessarily in the right direction--when your prescription plan has BigPharmaName right on it.

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