Holden watches George W. Bush the flip-flopper as he searches for a democracy-minded strongman in Iraq:
First Draft - My, My, How Things Change: Your President Speaks, June 24, 2005: "The Prime Minister is a great Iraqi patriot, he's a friend of liberty, he's a strong partner for peace and freedom.... I appreciate Prime Minister Jaafari's brave leadership. Prime Minister Jaafari is a bold man. I've enjoyed my discussions with the Prime Minister. He is a frank, open fellow who is willing to tell me what's on his mind. And what is on his mind is peace and security for the people of Iraq, and what is on his mind is a democratic future that is hopeful. I want to thank you for your courage. I want to thank you for your understanding about the nature of free societies. I want to thank you for helping Iraq become a beacon of freedom."
And now: 'The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting. Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.'
I don't know about you, but I'm going off to reread Graham Greene's The Quiet American http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0143039024/braddelong00