Maureen Dowd rightly points out the ridiculousness of recent assertions by Bush administration toadie and former hitman for Saddam Hussein that all is well in Iraq. (This despite a CIA report that warns of a worsening situation in Iraq and Secretary of State Colin Powell's admission that things are "getting worse.")

All last week in New York and Washington, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq parroted Mr. Bush's absurd claims that the fighting in Iraq was an essential part of the U.S. battle against terrorists that started on 9/11, that the neocons' utopian dream of turning Iraq into a modern democracy was going swimmingly, and that the worse things got over there, the better they really were. ...

Mr. Bush doesn't seem to care that by using Mr. Allawi as a puppet in his campaign, he decreases the prime minister's chances of debunking the belief in Iraq that he is a Bush puppet — which is the only way he can gain any credibility to stabilize his devastated country and be elected himself.

Actually, being the president's marionette is a step up from Mr. Allawi's old jobs as henchman for Saddam Hussein and stoolie for the C.I.A.

It wasn't surprising to read Dowd's allusion to Allawi having a tainted past, though I expected it was more like U.S.-picked Afghan leader Hamid Karzai having been a Unocal consultant.

Boy, was I wrong.

A piece on Allawi's shady past states:

Back in the early 1990s Allawi teamed up with the CIA to butcher movie goers and school children in Baghdad. A former CIA agent told Joel Brinkley of the New York Times that killing innocent Iraqis was an "option" the CIA used against Saddam. Of course, for the CIA, killing school kids is normal behavior. For instance, when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected leader of Indonesia, Sukarno, and replaced him with the depraved thug General Suharto, between 500,000 and a million people lost their lives. The CIA provided lists of people they wanted Suharto to rub out.

Ah, democracy.


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