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The War on Terror™'s forgotten icons

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- Jordanian terrorist and Sunni Muslim. After the U.S.-led invasion, founded al-Qaeda in Iraq. Credited with catalyzing Iraq's current civil war with his relentless attacks on Shiite Muslims. So vicious, bin Laden actually asked him to not kill so much. Died from an American bomb last summer.

Maher Arer -- Canadian software engineer of Syrian origin. Detained by the United States during a flight layover in New York. Erroneously declared an al-Qaeda terrorist by U.S. officials, Arer was sent to a Syrian prison, where he endured solitary confinement and regular torture. Returned to Canada after the United States and Syria figured out he wasn't a terrorist. Oops.

L. Paul Bremer -- Bush appointee who ran Iraq's government as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority from May 2003 until June 2004. Nicknamed "Jerry." His job was to stabilize Iraq's government and get reconstruction going. That didn't work out too well.

Daisy cutters -- Inappropriately cute name for the BLU-82B, a 15,000-pound bomb used by the United States in Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaeda cave hideouts.

Toby Keith -- Country singer whose songs "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)" and "American Soldier," as well as his album Shock'n Y'all, perfectly captured Red-State America's urge to bomb Muslims after 9/11. Though he campaigned for Bush in 2004, he told an interviewer this year that he never actually supported the Iraq war.

Jessica Lynch -- Photogenic Army private captured by Iraqi forces in March 2003. U.S. Army made up a heroic story about her capture and staged her videotaped, Special Forces rescue from an Iraqi hospital. Lynch later denied the Army's story about her capture and called the stage rescue raid unnecessary.

Mullah Omar -- One-eyed leader of the Taliban. Afghanistan's leader from 1996 to 2001, when he fled from the American-aided Northern Alliance rebels. He's thought to be hiding in Pakistan. Has never sat in front of a camera, so only two grainy photographs of him exist. Did I mention he only has one eye?

Shock and awe -- Massive, coordinated American bombing campaign early in Iraq war. Designed to "shock and awe" Iraqi forces into laying down their arms, and American televisions to lay down all other programming for the sake of endlessly replaying footage of the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- Iraq's top Shiite Muslim cleric. Demanded direct elections for post-invasion Iraqi governments, thus ensuring Shiite dominance of elected governments. His Web site,, answers readers' questions on how to be a good Muslim. Example: "Whenever I am thinking about a beautiful woman, there comes out a liquid that is very similar to semen? Is it semen?"

Paul Wolfowitz -- Former deputy secretary of defense, one of main architects of the Iraq invasion. Uses own saliva to style hair. Shortly before the war, he told Congress Iraq had no history of ethnic strife. D'oh! D'oh! Bush appointed him to run the World Bank, which worked out only slightly better. Currently unemployed.

Yellowcake -- A form of uranium used in the production of nuclear fuel for power generation and weapons-building. Not as delicious as the name suggests. President Bush falsely claimed in his 2002 State of the Union address that Iraq tried to obtain yellowcake from Niger.

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