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Watch Who You Praise 

W & the Midfielders of Evil

The Iraqi soccer team advanced to the semifinals for the first time in Olympic history on Saturday when it defeated Australia. Much has been made of the sadistic treatment Iraqi athletes received under their country's former Olympic committee head Uday Hussein who tortured athletes as both a motivational tool and recreational hobby. Uday was killed last year by American troops, four months after the US invasion of Iraq.

US President George W. Bush has now leveraged the presence of Iraq and Afghanistan in these Brave New Olympic games into an election year campaign ad. In the spot, the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan appear on TV as a narrator says, "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations, and two fewer terrorist regimes." (You can see the video at http://www.georgewbush.com/News/MultiMedia/VideoPlayer.aspx?ID=984&T=5 )

During a speech in Beaverton, Oregon, Bush further federated himself to the Iraqi footballers after its opening game upset of Portugal. "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it?" Bush said. "It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted." You could almost smell the rose petals Karl Rove carefully threw at Bush's cowboy boots.

Unfortunately for Dubya, however, the Iraqi team isn't exactly leaping onto the love seat to cozy up with him.

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir said in a Sports Illustrated interview. "I want the violence and the war to go away. . . We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Ahmed Manajid, another midfielder, had an even stronger opinion of Bush: "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Insiders say we'll soon be hearing from Soccer Midfielders For Truth who will claim that the two Iraqi midfielders weren't really at the game when their team beat Portugal.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico's men's basketball team ruined any chance their island had for statehood during a Bush presidency, while the 118 Lithuanian "Coalition of the Willing" troops have found a way to be asked out of Iraq. While we can't directly blame the US men's basketball team's problems on the President, America's image transformation from Rocky Balboa to Mr. T seems to be taking a parallel route in both the Olympics and the world at large as the Bush Brave New Greek Tragedy continues.

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