Pop Quiz: Who Is the Lamest Duck?

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The New York Times got hold of a secret memo in which National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley describes the lameness of a world leader. Who is it?

“He impressed me as a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so.”

“The information he receives is undoubtedly skewed by his small circle of [deleted word] advisers, coloring his actions and interpretation of reality.”

“The reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests [name deleted] is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.”

“He may simply not have the political or security capabilities to take such steps, which risk alienating his narrow [deleted word] political base.”

Sounds familiar, right? Of course I gamed the quotes by deleting the words Dawa, Maliki, and Sadrist, but it still made me wonder if Hadley was painting a portrait of Maliki in terms that he thought Bush might understand.

Full text of Hadley’s brutally honest November 8 Maliki memo for cabinet-level officials here.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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