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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Maureen Dowd is at the top of her form which is very good.

She makes an important point which is obvious but which I haven't read before

"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."

and (after a few digressions concludes)

"Bush officials, who proclaim themselves so altruistic about bringing liberty to Iraq, really see Iraq in a creepy narcissistic way: It's all about Mr. Bush's re-election."

I even liked *both* of the obligatory pop culture references "

President Bush has his own Mini-Me now, someone to echo his every word and mimic his every action.

For so long, Mr. Bush has put up with caricatures of a wee W. sitting in the vice president's lap, Charlie McCarthy style, as big Dick Cheney calls the shots. But now the president has his own puppet to play with."

Oddly I think that Ms Dowd has the opposite of the usual problem with the 700 word format. I think she would be more comfortable with 200 words. This exists in Italy, Michele Serra has 200 words on the op-ed page or sometimes the front page of La Repubblica (one of Italies two leading newspapers). This excellent op ed is three or four related essays
1) Allawi is Bush's puppet and making this painfully clear to Iraqis shows that Bush cares more about a tiny boost to his campaign than severe damage to the effort to make Iraq a democracy.
2) The Republicans are saying totally outrageous things about Kerry soft on terror. This is clearly the party line not just a grammatically challenged Cheney.
3) Rumsfeld is giving up on Iraq, while Bush claims everything is fine.
4) Allawi is a dishonest thug so why should we care about what he says.

Essays 2, 3 and 4 have been written many times. Essay 1 would be excellent at about 200 words with padding (mini me would make it into the mini op ed) .

Now the op ed is excellent, the 4 points are all important and they support each other. However, Dowd is often off key because she makes one good point and 2 or 3 irrelevant ones.
She would be much better if edited down to just one stab of the stilleto .

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