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We had hoped, foolishly as it turned out, for some review, revision and re-staffing of the Iraq so-called strategy.

According to the weekly radio address, 'more sacrifice would be required, but "our goal is nothing less than complete victory",' as President George Bush declared this weekend.

Dick Cheney weighed in on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. This was no civil war in Iraq he pronounced ipse dixit; rather the insurgents had reached "a stage of desperation" and so were reacting with violence. On both the security and political fronts, Iraq was showing "major progress," the Vice President averred.

A change in strategy or approach? No. A shakeup of staffing or point of view? Not ever.

I find all this frightening as now the Bush machine turns to building a case against Iran. Is another machismo strut across the deck of a carrier with "Mission Accomplished" bannered behind in the offing? How many more must die to satisfy a powerful person's sadistic streak?

So this is compassionate conservatism. This is democracy in action. No wonder Americans are despised around the world.

P.S. Just in case you were asking, the perception of Iraqi violence is all a media trick, according to our country's leaders. Iraq is just fine and is there civil war? Not by the VP's definition. And, historical scholar that he is, his opinion is the one that counts.

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