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October 27, 2004

I Request A Transfer To A Less Bizarre Planet mentions this story about four car bombs in Mosul in northern Iraq that fortunately didn't kill anyone. also shows this picture:

Ed Pugh Car Bomb

You're probably thinking what I'm thinking: four car bombs, flaming wreckage, yes, very bad, but -- WHO IS ED PUGH? And why is someone in Mosul wearing a shirt telling us to vote for him?

Well, thanks to the miracle of Google, I've got the answer to the first question right here. This is Ed Pugh:

Ed Pugh

Ed is a state senator in Kansas; previously, from 1994-97, he was a state representative. The shirt the Mosul guy is wearing appears to be asking us to vote for him for "State Rep," which means it's probably 8-10 years old. He seems to have kept the shirt in top condition, I must say. Perhaps he only wears it on special, car bomb occasions.

Of course, the mystery of how the shirt migrated to Mosul remains unsolved. Perhaps I'll give Sen. Pugh a call and ask his opinion.

UPDATE: I spoke to Ed Pugh, who was understandably amused and perplexed to see the picture. He said the shirt was from his campaign ten years ago. The only likely path he saw for the shirt from here to Mosul is that Kansas State and the University of Kansas have lots of students from overseas, and perhaps someone picked it up there.

I was impressed to learn from Mr. Pugh that, having initially run on the issue of term limits, he's retiring to keep his promise. Not too many politicians have the integrity to do that. Perhaps this is why he gets such rabid support, even in northern Iraq.

Posted at October 27, 2004 10:51 AM | TrackBack

What I absolutely love about that picture is the expression on the guy's face. He's looking at the wreckage with a "what hath God wrought" face, expressing an almost detached sadness at this senseless violence.

If only Ed Pugh were here, he seems to be saying, everything would be all right. He makes you realize the impact that a truly good man in the Kansas State House can have 8000 miles away.

Posted by: Ted at October 27, 2004 02:15 PM

another way clothes get from place to place is by entering the used-clothing commerce stream - e.g. by donation to a charity

some are recycled locally at thrift stores, but the great majority are bailed and shipped to other countries, where they are then resold

Posted by: mistah charley at October 27, 2004 04:36 PM

Truly wonderful.

Of course, now that this particular Iraqi has demonstrated his allegiance clearly, we are perfectly right to refer to him as a traitor when he doesn't 100% support soldiers in Iraq. Assuming we would ever know one way or another.

Speaking for myself, and all my traitorous brethren here in Canada, we draw the line at wearing t-shirts endorsing American candidates. While we do see such people around, we recognize their purity and know that they are far less traitorous than ourselves--in fact, we carefully ostracize ourselves, in order that their purity will be unsullied.

Incidentally, I'm taking odds on how many words on that shirt were understood by the young man in the pic.

Posted by: Alexis at October 27, 2004 05:16 PM

Actually, this was the subject of a great PBS documentary a while back. Not sure if it was Frontline or not, but there's a site at that tells you exactly how Ed Pugh's shirt ended up overseeing the wreckage of a car bomb.

Posted by: ScottMcW at October 27, 2004 08:07 PM

Slate had a great tale of Uday Hussein's Cadillac, IIRC, which still had Oregon plates when it was found in one of the palaces. Tim Noah tracked the chain of ownership. Lovely.

Posted by: trotsky at October 27, 2004 09:16 PM

Weird old T-shirts from the US end up all over the place. When I was doing fieldwork in Mexico, I saw a fisherman in a Harvard t-shirt having an animated discussion with another fisherman wearing a Yale t-shirt. On another occasion I saw another fisherman haggling in the fish market while wearing a Wharton School of Business t-shirt.

Posted by: clete at October 28, 2004 11:02 PM

If you search back a few years a weirder story emerges in Western Africa. In Liberia ( or perhaps Sierra Leone, the carnage seemed a bit borderless at times)one guerilla force took to going into combat in drag, often times with wigs and accessories.

I'm not quite sure if this was the same guerilla group as the one led by " General Butt Naked" who was the only completely nude insurgent leader, but they probably chewed the same ground.

Posted by: mark safranski at October 29, 2004 11:35 PM

When I was in Nigeria, there was a very pleasant and well-spoken young lady who worked in the post office. She persistently wore a baseball cap that read "forget about the love and passion, just whack it up her doggy fashion"

Posted by: joe at October 30, 2004 02:26 AM