HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
I'm watching Kerry take the stage at the Democratic National Convention live on TV at my desk, and I hope with all my being that some semblance of normalcy may yet be restored to the nation and the world. I'm watching the hopeful faces of the delegates on the convention floor -- they are black, white, Hispanic and Native American; they are young, old, gay and straight; they are Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and agnostic.
I have a hope for the future that someone listens to the hopes and expectations of an American people who still believe in equality, in civil rights, in civil spirit and honesty in our elected leaders.
My hope is that we will continue to evolve as human beings and strive for a world free of the horrors of war, poverty, famine and corruption.
This is my silent prayer, as I watch Kerry begin his speech.
I still believe.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
RICHARDS NOT LYING BACK AND ENJOYING IT
Former Democratic Texas Gov. Ann Richards, whom The New York Times described as "an overnight sensation at the 1988 Democratic convention," sucker-punched our cheerleader-in-chief Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention with an analogy women could relate to:
"You know," she began, in that famous Texas twang, "for American women in a Republican majority, their president has been like a marriage that's gone from bad to worse. You know the story. The guy has a great line, he's sort of cute, he tells you that life together will be bliss, and then in a few years he's snoring on the couch while the TV blares on the fifth football game of the day and the neighbors are screaming about the yard that never gets mowed, and there's a car up on blocks in the driveway, and your household budget is just stretched to the limit, and he's spending all the money on hunting trips, a new shotgun and a camo jumpsuit, and you're standing there at the sink thinking, 'I must have been out of my mind!' So here we are, almost four years past our shotgun wedding with this White House, and like we say in Texas: Honey, it's time to split the sheets and sign the legal papers."
MICHAEL MOORE SHOWS HIS TRUE COLORS
Although I have my own criticisms of Michael Moore and find him mildly annoying, he is absolutely necessary to beging countering the extreme, monolithic right-wing propaganda machine and the likes of Bush spokesman Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition.
On Tuesday, Moore joined conservative Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly in what USA Today called "a spirited debate."
True to form, O'Reilly put forward the desperate, ridiculous assertion that Moore was Saddam Hussein's "biggest defender in the media" -- as if opposing a misbegotten war waged for fictitious reasons equaled support for a former U.S.-backed despot.
Later, Moore showed a true sense of respect for his fellow human beings and an honest understanding of the cost of war. USA Today writes:
The lightest moment of the exchange, ironically, came after Moore asked O'Reilly three times whether he would be willing to "sacrifice his child" to fight with U.S. forces in Iraq.
"I would sacrifice myself," O'Reilly said.
"Can we sign him up? Can we sign him up right now?" Moore shouted with glee. "Where's the recruiter?"
"You'd love to get rid of me," said O'Reilly.
"No," Moore said, his voice softening. "I want you to live. I want you to live."
USA TODAY SACKS ANN COULTER
USA Today rejected the unintelligible radical ramblings of chief name-calling GOP apologist Ann Coulter, whom it had hired as a columnist during the Democratic National Convention in Boston this week.
“Apparently," Coulter says in comments published in conservative journal Human Events, "USA Today doesn’t like my ‘tone,’ humor, sarcasm, etc. etc., which raises the intriguing question of why they hired me to write forthem in the first place. Perhaps they thought they were getting Catherine Coulter.”
Humor, however, implies that jabs or criticisms are funny, something that seems to be lost on foaming-at-the-mouth Coulter. A cursory glance at her puerile tactics of baseless accusations, demonization and non sequitur reveals the two-dimensional approach that extreme right-wingers espouse.
One has to wonder why the usually moderate USA Today would employ such an extremist as Coulter. Salon.com reminds us that responsible conservatives have decried her support for terrorism in saying after Sept. 11, "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
(Salon also calls Coulter "a factually challenged name-caller.")
Below is the text of Coulter's spiked column, complete with comments from USA Today, in its entirety as posted by Human Events. I pity the poor USA Today editor who had tried to extract logic from the wild-eyed hatchet job that passes as writing in some circles.
Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My alliesare the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the "F-word" are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls andcops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.
USA Today: EYE-ROLLING? AT WHAT?
Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists -- with the exception of Boston's police, who'll be lauded as national heroes rightup until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.
USA Today: WHAT DEMOCRATS SUE THE POLICE? BUT THEY WON'T ACTUALLY REVERT TO BEING FASCIST PIGS, DON'T YOUMEAN THE DEMS WILL THINK THEY HAVE REVERTED TO BEING FASCIST PIGS?
A speaker at the Democratic National Convention this year, Al Sharpton, accused white police officers of raping and defacing Tawana Brawley in 1987, lunaticcharges that eventually led to a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton and even more eventually, to Sharpton paying a jury award to the defamed plaintiff StevePagones. So it’s a real mystery why cops wouldn’t like Democrats.
USA Today: IS THAT LAST SENTENCE SARCASTIC? IF SO, YOU SURE LOST ME.
As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it’s because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council's approval. Plus, it’s no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-braneeding, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.
USA Today: NOT FUNNY, I DON'T GET IT.
Apparently, the nuts at the Democratic National Convention are going to be put in cages outside the convention hall. Sadly, they won't be fighting to the death asis done in WWE caged matches. They're calling this the "protestor's area," although I suppose a better name would be the "truth-free zone".
USA Today: CLARIFY WHICH NUTS (NOTE FROM AC: THAT KILLS THE JOKE OF THE NEXT PARAGRAPH)
I thought this was a great idea until I realized the “nut” category did not include Sharpton, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Teddy Kennedy -- all featured speakers atthe convention. I’d say the actual policy is only untelegenic nuts get the cages, but little Dennis Kucinich is speaking at the Convention, too. So it must be cagesfor “nuts who have not run for president as serious candidates for the Democratic Party.”
Looking at the line-up of speakers at the Convention, I have developed the 7-11 challenge: I will quit making fun of, for example, Dennis Kucinich, if he canprove he can run a 7-11 properly for 8 hours. We’ll even let him have an hour or so of preparation before we open up. Within 8 hours, the money will be gone,the store will be empty, and he’ll be explaining how three 11-year olds came in and asked for the money and he gave it to them.
USA Today: I DON'T GET IT.
For 20 years, the Democrats wouldn’t let Jimmy Carter within 100 miles of a Convention podium. The fact that Carter is now their most respectable speaker tellsyou where that party is today. Maybe they just want to remind Americans who got us into this Middle East mess in the first place. We’ve got millions of fanaticalMuslims trying to slaughter Americans while shouting “Allah Akbar!” Yeah, let’s turn the nation over to these guys.
With any luck, Gore will uncork his speech comparing Republicans to Nazis. Just a few weeks ago, Gore gave a speech accusing the Bush administration ofdeploying “digital Brown Shirts” to intimidate journalists and pressure the media into writing good things about Bush -- in case you were wondering where allthose glowing articles about Bush were coming from.
The last former government official to slake his thirst so deeply with the kool-aid and become a far-left peacenik was Ramsey Clarke and it took him a few yearsto really blossom. Clinton must have done some number on Gore. Then again, with his yen for earth tones in a man's wardrobe, maybe Gore's references to"Brown Shirts" was intended as a compliment.
Only one major newspaper -- the Boston Herald -- reported Gore’s “Brown Shirt” comment, though a Bush campaign spokesman's statement quoting the"Brown Shirt" line made it into the very last sentence of a Los Angeles Times article. The New York Times responded with an article criticizing “both”Republicans and Democrats for using Nazi imagery. Democrats call Republicans Nazis, the Republicans quote the Democrats calling Republicans Nazis and “both” are using Nazi imagery. (It’s a cycle of violence!)
The nuts in the cages are virtual Bertrand Russells compared to the official speakers at the Democratic Convention. On the basis of their placards, I gather thecaged-nut position is that they love the troops so much, they don’t want them to get hurt defending America from terrorist attack. “Support the troops,” the signssay, “bring them home.”
That’s my new position on all government workers, except the 5% who aren’t useless, which is to say cops, prosecutors, firemen and U.S. servicemen. I lovebureaucrats at the National Endowment of the Arts funding crucifixes submerged in urine so much -- I think they should go home. I love public school teacherspunishing any mention of God and banning Christmas songs so much -- I think they should go home.
Walking back from the convention site I chatted with a normal Bostonian for several blocks -- who must have identified me through our covert system of signals.He was mostly bemused by the Democrats’ primetime speakers and told me he used to be an independent, but for the last 20 years found himself voting mostlyRepublican. Then he corrected himself and said he votes for the “American.”
I’d say I love all these Democrats in Boston so much I want them to go home, but I don’t. I want Americans to get a good long look at the French Party and keep the 7-11 challenge in mind.
USA Today: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "THE FRENCH PARTY"? I DON'T GET IT.
TAKE THIS QUOTE AND 'SHOVE IT'
The editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found his 15 minutes of fame Monday night when he prompted Kerry's wife to snap at him in front of television cameras.
Teresa Heinz Kerry joined the company of blunt-speaking political spouses this convention week by telling a reporter to stop misquoting her and "shove it."
The move certainly won't endear her to Republicans, aghast at the idea that women are people and can speak their minds. Yet, it's pales in comparison to Dick Cheney's F-bomb pronouncement on the Senate floor to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
I almost can't wait until Fox "News" replays this, replete with commentary.
A BEWILDERED RUMSFELD PLANS FOR IRAQ ATTACK
One of the watered-down findings of the largely toothless Sept. 11 commission includes a detail (at the end of page 334) that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked Gen. Richard Myers to "obtain quickly as much information as possible."
Sure, that makes sense.
But the report continues, "The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time -- not only Bin Ladin. Secretary Rumsfeld later explained that at the time, he had been considering either one of them, or perhaps someone else, as the responsible part."
"Either one of them, or perhaps someone else," yet when the intelligence came back it was a fictitious hunt for WMD in Iraq that the administration ordered.
That sure inspires confidence.
BUSH TWINS' ONLINE SHAM
Bravo to Today's Papers at Slate.com for the following observation about an online chat with Bush daughters Jenna and Barbara:
... [A]lthough the Q & A seemed to develop onscreen in near-real time, a spokeswoman for the girls later admitted to him that "some responses had been prepared in advance." Yeah, you might say that.
An excerpt from Jenna and Barb: "Our Dad is a man of strong and principled character. If he says he is going to do something, he will do it. ... And now even his critics can't argue that he is a steadfast leader who means what he says and acts with resolve."
George W. at an earlier press conference: "There is a resolve by these world leaders that is a heartening resolve. ... We must remain steadfast and strong. ... One thing is for certain, though, about me—and the world has learned this—when I say something, I mean it."
Nice job in doing the New York Times story one better.
EXACTLY WHO IS 'SUPERLIAR' AND 'SUPERTHIEF'?
In an Associated Press story about how French President Jacques Chirac's blunt criticisms of Bush are seen by world leaders as arrogant.
The two men disagree on Iraq, the so-called war on terrorism, Turkey's bid to join the European Union, Israel and the global AIDS issue, to name a few points of contention.
"Unfortunately, the U.S. administration is extremely arrogant and the French president is extremely arrogant," said Dominique Guiliani of the Robert Schuman Foundation. "They are very much of the same fabric, and each says things in the bluntest way. This makes things dramatic."
But perhaps the most illuminating item is the following:
Polls put Chirac's approval ratings at just over 50 percent. Television satirists call him "Superliar" and "Superthief," evoking corruption charges from which he is immune as long as he is president.
At least a healthy skepticism still exists in the world's second-oldest democracy, if not the first.
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND
Blogging hasn't dulled the sense of humor over here, in case you were wondering. This parody of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" takes swipes at both Bush and Kerry for their respective political stances.
BUSH, BIN LADEN FREQUENT FLYERS
Sure, anyone who has seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" or read Michael Moore's most recent book, "Dude, Where's My Country?" will know that several members of the bin Laden clan took to the friendly skies in the days after Sept. 11.
But who were they?
A Washington Post story reveals there were 13 people with Osama bin Laden's surname and an array of foreign passports.
Passenger Omar Awad bin Laden had lived with Abdullah bin Laden, a nephew of Osama bin Laden who was involved in forming the U.S. branch of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Alexandria. Federal agents raided the office this spring in connection with a terrorism-related investigation. The FBI has described the group as a "suspected terrorist organization."
Among the other passengers was Shafig bin Laden, a half brother of Osama bin Laden who was reportedly attending the annual investor conference of the Carlyle Group, a politically connected investment company in Washington, on Sept. 11, 2001. Also on board was Akberali Moawalla, an official with the investment company run by Yeslam bin Laden, another of Osama bin Laden's half brothers. Records show that a passenger, Kholoud Kurdi, lived in Northern Virginia with a bin Laden relative.
Regardless of who authorized the flights (Bush critics blame the administration and Dumbya's coziness with the terrorist-coddling Saudis; Bush defenders say it was counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke) no one has publicly explained why these folks weren't questioned more extensively by the FBI, nor why they were given such special treatment as Secret Service protection.
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE ...
It's not often that a White House occupant makes as many enemies within his own putative supporters as the current one has. The latest swipe comes from Charley Reese, a self-professed conservative who vows a more illumated vote this November.
He writes, "People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush.
Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war -- Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.
I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.
It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.
Welcome to reality, Charley. It's nice to have you with us.
BUSH COVERS UP SHADY HALLIBURTON DEALS
The lead of this Washington Post story really says it all:
The Bush administration is withholding information from U.N.-sanctioned auditors examining more than $1 billion in contracts awarded to Halliburton Co. and other companies in Iraq without competitive bidding, the head of the international auditing board said Thursday.
It's $1.4 billion, actually, but who's counting? Certainly not those in control of your tax dollars.
FREE SPEECH: USE IT OR LOSE IT
Among my favorite slogans on Freewayblogger.com, a site devoted to politcal freeway signs, are:
"Osama bin Forgotten"
"Thanks for all the money! - Halliburton - Sorry about your kids"
"Nobody died when Clinton lied."
"We're all wearing the blue dress now."
THE REAL BUSH-CHENEY SLOGANS
One of the bad ideas that came out of the Bush-Cheney campaign was a program that allowed users to create their own custom-made slogans. Quickly realizing this was ammunition in the wrong hands, the campaign quickly eliminated the novelty from its Web site.
This is where the Sloganator Memorial steps in, with the following classics saved for posterity: "The First Retarded President," "My God Is Better Than Your God" and "Really Did Not Dodge Vietnam."
THE NASCAR VOTE AND MICHAEL MOORE
For better or worse, Michael Moore has helped galvanize public opinion among would-be American voters. But his true effect is going to be measured by how much of a crossover audience he'll garner with his latest film, "Fahrenheit 9/11." The following excerpt from his Web site came as a surprise, if not outright shock.
Surfing through the dial I landed on the Fox broadcasting network which was airing the NASCAR race live last Sunday to an audience of millions of Americans -- and suddenly the announcers were talking about how NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took his crew to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" the night before. FOX sportscaster Chris Myers delivered Earnhardt's review straight out of his mouth and into the heartland of America: "He said hey, it'll be a good bonding experience no matter what your political belief. It's a good thing as an American to go see."
BUSH'S DRAFT-DODGING COVER-UP
Part of me wants to laugh and another part wonders what took the Bush folks so long to destroy evidence of Bush's draft-dodging, coke-binging days.
AP: In a letter responding to a freedom of information request by The Associated Press, the Defense Department said that microfilm containing the pertinent National Guard payroll records was damaged and could not be salvaged. The damaged material included payroll records for the first quarter of 1969 and the third quarter of 1972.
TOM RIDGE: THE SKY IS FALLING
Homeland Security Secretary Tom "Chicken Little" Ridge denied that the Bush administration was covering itself in case an attack does happen.
Sure, that may be, but the timing of the announcement — without an increase in the laughable color-coded warning system — was suspiciously close to the positive coverage Kerry and Edwards were getting.
Think about it: Ridge is saying we have "credible" information (unlike Attorney General John Ashcroft's conspiracy-theorist data) of an attack, but when don't know when, we don't know where and we don't know how.
Sure, Tom. We believe you.
LET THE LOVEFEST BEGIN
Watching Kerry and Edwards mug for the cameras and flash their millionaire smiles has been a breath of fresh air.
"Thank goodness Edwards is in this race," I intoned at work recently. "This campaign needed someone with a pulse."
Maureen Dowd's take on the photo ops was classic Candace Bushnell:
Her detachment seems all the more appealing now that John Kerry can't stop patting and grabbing his new pup, John Edwards. Mr. Edwards awkwardly reciprocates, sliding his arm around the big guy's torso. ...
Ordinarily, the John-John ticket might seem a bit off-putting — a little too glib, a little too ingratiating, a little too forced, a little too expedient, a little too eager to please. But when the competition is two oilmen who don't seem to want to please anybody but Halliburton and the Saudis — ask Pat Leahy, Old Europe and the 9/11 panel — overeagerness is a relief.
It's hilarious that the Republicans are trying to paint their ticket as the more optimistic one.
Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush radiate negativity, even as Mr. Edwards and his photogenic blond kids glow for the cameras. Dick Cheney glowers for the camera, a Dr. No with a dark vision that has resulted in a gigantic global mess. (When he was stopped by applause at a campaign stop in Altoona, Pa., on Sunday, he asked, "You guys want to hear this speech or not?")
Indeed, few things irritate like the Bush-Cheney sneer.
WHITE HOUSE OK'S LIES, THREATS
Coercing and threatening a Medicare bookkeeper for doing his job is accepted behavior in the Bush administration.
The Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general, the agency's internal watchdog, said a three-month investigation found that administration officials had used aggressive tactics to keep from Congress much higher estimates of the legislation's cost -- $100 billion more than what the president and other officials were acknowledging.
But the effort -- including threats by Thomas Scully, the administration's Medicare chief until December, to fire chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster -- did not violate federal law, the inspector general said.
Foster can thank his lucky stars there's no memo from the White House authorizing the use of torture on whistleblowers -- yet.
Guess where Scully works these days. The New York times knows:
In recent weeks, Mr. Scully has registered as a lobbyist for major drug companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Aventis; for Caremark Rx, a pharmacy benefit manager; and for the American Chiropractic Association and the American College of Gastroenterology, among other clients. All are affected by the new Medicare law, which Mr. Scully helped write.
Suddenly, Kerry's comments about this administration come into focus: "These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."
TYPICAL GOP WAR PROFITEERING
John A. "Jack" Shaw, a deputy undersecretary for international technology security, misrepresented himself and conducted an unauthorized "investigation" into shortcomings in Iraq reconstruction efforts to steer business toward friends, a Los Angeles Times story reveals.
The article (via Yahoo News) adds:
Shaw's actions are the latest to raise concerns that senior Republican officials working in Washington and Iraq have used the rebuilding effort in Iraq to reward associates and political allies. One of Shaw's close friends, the former top U.S. transportation official in Iraq, is under investigation for his role in promoting an Iraqi national airline with a company linked to the Saddam Hussein regime.
Business as usual: Send U.S. troops to fight and pay with their lives, then stick U.S. taxpayers with the cost of fattening your friends' wallets.
KEEP IT UNDER YOUR HAT, DUMBYA
Bush's laughable response to Kerry's selection of John Edwards as a running mate perhaps reveals a little too much about the commander-in-chimp's real role and provides a glimpse of who really is in charge.
When a reporter noted that Edwards was being described as "charming, engaging, a nimble campaigner, a populist and even sexy" and then asked "How does he stack up against Dick Cheney?" the president immediately responded, "Dick Cheney can be president. Next?"
Edwards will also likely live beyond November.
Bush took issue with Edwards' record of blocking federal judge appointments, which is part of his job description (more so than clearing brush on a Texas ranch — can't the chimp afford hired help?) as a U.S. senator. Yet he also forgets — or doesn't know about — his own party's obstructionist tactics.
Democrats say Edwards — after eight years in which [Jesse] Helms, the former Republican senator, blocked every North Carolina nominee to the federal appeals court — broke the logjam and worked with Bush last year to win confirmation for Allyson Duncan, a Republican and the first black woman on the 4th Circuit.
NEW YORK POST UPHOLDS ITS STANDARDS
Sure to be the object of much late-night ridicule, the lazy "journalistic" values of the New York Post were on display this morning with its dead-wrong story of Kerry selecting Gephardt as his running mate.
Just like the Fox network, the Post is owned by the conservative, warmongering Rupert Murdoch.
Tomorrow, the Post plans to announce Saddam Hussein had WMD.
POWELL UNVEILS 'YMCA' INSTEAD OF WMD
Not sure whether to feel fear or a a sense of embarassment at the latest laughable actions by a Bush administration official.
The Associated Press, which obtained footage of the closed-door event, writes:
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell donned a hard hat and tucked a hammer in his belt Friday to perform a version of the Village People's hit "YMCA" at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting — which tradition says ends with a night of skit and song.
Powell danced alongside five other U.S. officials dressed in fancy dress and blasted out a version of the 1970s disco classic to the delight of foreign ministers from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe.
In the repeated CNN broadcast of this event today, Powell proves to move deftly.
Somewhere, Michael Moore must be wetting his pants.
BRING BACK THE DRAFT
Noel Koch, a former speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, argues for a return of the draft to furnish the armed services with the people it needs and to create one nation.
The draft furthered the work begun during the Civil War. It advanced the business of making us one people. The draftees may not have liked being pulled away from the careers that awaited them and being thrown in with people they probably wouldn't have associated with otherwise. But over the two-year span of their service, there were sea changes. The disaffected became the committed, became leaders who demanded the best of others and especially of themselves. They saluted with a snap indistinguishable from any other.
When they took their discharges and went home, they had an investment in America not shared by those who did not serve. Try to find a draftee who regrets his service to America. After a time they were not "draftees" at all; they were American soldiers -- part of the fabric of the nation, committed to its values and their preservation.
But there's another good reason. Namely, if Americans were faced with the distinct likelihood of being sent to a foreign land -- not to defend our freedom, but to fight an elective war -- it's a good bet that we would take very seriously and examine the reasons for which we'd be asked to fight and perhaps die.
MEET THE NEW IRAQI BOSS, SAME AS ...
Hand-writing a sunny, optimistic "Let Freedom Reign!" on news of Iraq's so-called sovereignty, Bush either doesn't know or doesn't care a lick about who we've installed as leader over there.
Steve Weissman of Truthout says Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, our new point-man in Baghdad, is little more than "Saddam-lite."
Though Allawi might look like a puppet to his compatriots, Washington will find him far tougher to control than the CIA's man in Kabul, the soft-spoken Hamid Karzai. Dr. Allawi remains at heart a Baathist nasty.
"He likes to think of himself as a man of ideas," a former CIA case officer told New Yorker's Sy Hersh. But. "his strongest virtue is that he's a thug."
Juan Cole, a historian of the Middle East at the University of Michigan, smells the same beast. "He is infatuated with reviving the Baath secret police or mukhabarat, and bringing back Saddam's domestic spies," writes Cole. "Unlike the regular army, which had dirty and clean elements, all of the secret police are dirty, and if they are restored, civil liberties are a dead letter."
Sounds like there's a little bit of Bush administration in the Middle East for now.