Why I Took This Crummy Job

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. You're reading Stephen Colbert. And for that I apologize. The last thing I want is to contribute to the corrosive influence of the print media. I prefer to yell my opinions at you in person.

But I can't do that this week, because I am in Iraq. I've brought my hit TV broadcast over there to support our troops. I figure if I do this, I can finally take that yellow- ribbon magnet off my Audi without looking like a jerk. God knows what it did to my paint job.

I know what you're thinking: "Isn't the Iraq War over?" That's what I thought, too. I hadn't seen it in the media for a while, and when I don't see something, I assume it's vanished forever, like in that terrifying game peekaboo. We stopped seeing much coverage of the Iraq War back in September when the economy tanked, and I just figured the insurgents were wiped out because they were heavily invested in Lehman Brothers.

Turns out there are still 135,000 troops in Iraq, which I don't understand because we've already won the war. And we've won it so many times. We should win something for the number of times we've won it. We eliminated the weapons of mass destruction by having them not exist. We took out Saddam Hussein—or a really convincing and committed Saddam Hussein double. We helped write the Iraqi Constitution and clearly gave Iraqis the right to bear a lot of arms. And by August of next year we'll withdraw every single one of our troops, leaving behind only memories and 50,000 troops.

But despite our continued victories, Americans have many lingering questions about Iraq. For example: where is Iraq? My guess is somewhere near Paraguay.

I wanted to find the answers. So when Jon Meacham asked me to guest-edit NEWSWEEK, I jumped at the chance, particularly because my guest editorship at Mature -Honeys fell through. I guess my photo essay of sexy housewives reenacting the Battle of Fallujah was too "real" for them.

Of course, guest editing is more than just sitting around tanning myself by the gleam of Fareed Zakaria's teeth. I set the editorial agenda, assigned stories and yelled at Peter Parker to get me more photos of that web-slinging vigilante, Spider-Man. He's a menace!

I took advantage of my powerful new perch and published all my letters to the editor that NEWSWEEK had rejected, provided my Conventional Wisdom, took a red pencil to Meacham's editorial foofaraw and took the bias out of the columnist bios. Most important, I sent NEWSWEEK's reporters to find out whatever happened to Iraq. Unfortunately, this meant cutting the cover story they had planned: "Hey, Have You Heard About This Thing Called 'Twitter?' "

Thanks to my editorial diligence, you'll read about the people who've been touched by this war, from the citizens of Iraq to the cadets at West Point; from soldiers who actively seek out multiple deployments to deserters living in Canada; and from the Iraqi prime minister to the children of our own deployed soldiers.

You're going to love this issue. It's great.

Now, I'd like to take all the credit, but I couldn't have done this alone. Still, give me all the credit. If you have any left over, give it to my executive producer, Allison Silverman, who worked closely with NEWSWEEK's Nisid Hajari to develop the editorial agenda, as well as my co-executive producers Rich Dahm and Tom Purcell, segment producer Matt Lappin, designers Andro Buneta and Kris Long and writers Barry Julien, Mike Brumm, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Peter Gwinn, Peter Grosz, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi and Meredith Scardino.

Now go read my magazine. Although to get the full -effect, you should have someone you admire yell it at you.

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