To Mr. Wright's



1. Yes, I know H.G. Fields just used this simile, but, dang it, I used it first months ago!

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2. It's interesting that the network that relied most heavily on the forbidden reaction shots was apparently Fox, the rabidly pro-war, pro-Republican operation, and that those reaction shots consistently made Bush look bad.

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3. Transcript at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/10/20031010-1.html.

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4. For a less optimistic view about the elections in Afghanistan, see this September 28 piece by Nick Meo, an actual reporter, in Britain's "Independent": "Warlords 'Call Shots in Afghan Election'" (posted at Common Dreams).

Meo, writing from Kabul, starts out:

Afghanistan's first democratic election next month will be held in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, according to a report which blames America for continuing to pay warlords to hunt the Taliban.

Human Rights Watch found genuine democrats too scared to take part in politics and warned that intimidation of voters has happened on a massive scale. Polling day is just two weeks away and many fear it could be an extremely corrupt process.

The day of the election, all the candidates except Karzai, Washington's handpicked man, boycotted the election, charging fraud. The indelible ink that was supposed to mark voters' hands, making them ineligible to vote twice, turned out to come off easily, according to Daan van der Schriek in a piece at the Moscow Times, "Afghanistan Needs a More Indelible Election." Here's a bit:

Afghanistan's first-ever presidential election, held last Saturday, should have been a success story for Washington, demonstrating that democracy had taken root in the former Taliban stronghold. The 13-man observer team from the U.S. International Republican Institute fittingly declared the vote "a triumph for the Afghan people."

But for a number of reasons, including dodgy ink, the election was a failure. The best way forward would be to call new elections after lingering problems have been solved to silence the critics and to ensure that Afghanistan's new president enjoys the legitimacy he needs to lead the country forward.

Fat chance that'll happen.

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5. The latest of these "reports" is one by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, which pointed out what everybody with any sense already knew: Saddam had produced no "weapons of mass destruction" after the Gulf War of 1991, and had none stockpiled. Cheney immediately said that the report justified the invasion of Iraq. See this report by ABC News: "Cheney: Weapons Report Justifies Iraq War."

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