DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ….SMALLPOX IN LOS ANGELES….So, can George Bush’s team use the war on Iraq as a springboard to promote democracy in the Middle East? Sounds like a tough job, doesn’t it? Something that requires a deft touch, a feel for persuading doubters, and a good sense of what’s possible and what’s not.

Sort of like convincing skeptical health workers that they should get smallpox vaccinations:

The nation’s largest population centers — home to more than 30 million people — have vaccinated only 296 front-line health-care workers against smallpox, the deadly disease that the Bush administration has pegged as a top bioterrorist threat.

….Some administration officials are particularly angry that so few have volunteered. For every health-care worker who chooses not to be vaccinated, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity, “more people will die in case of an attack.”

On Wednesday, federal health officials remained perplexed as to why their high-profile anti-terrorism campaign had failed to catch on.

Attaboy, George! Do a lousy job of getting input from the health care community itself, fail miserably to convince them that smallpox is a serious risk, and refuse to compensate them properly in case of complications. And then get angry and perplexed when they don’t do what you want them to.

296! That’s less than 1%!

And we think these guys can promote democracy in Iraq?

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