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16

wednesday

In 2003, buddies Ray LeMoine and Jeff Neumann left their comfortable existence selling “Yankees Suck” T-shirts outside Fenway Park to get a gander at the beginnings of postwar Iraq. But this wasn’t some altruistic, bleeding-heart Jill Carroll–style reportage tour. These guys did it, apparently, mostly for the booze and drugs. At least that’s the way their book detailing the adventure, Babylon by Bus, has it. What LeMoine and Neumann do can’t really be considered journalism, except maybe in the loosest Hunter Thompson–runs–for–sheriff sense. And the duo’s own personal touchstones are less being the Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo of the Iraq War than being the “Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John MacIntyre of the Iraq War.” Yet those ambitions didn’t get in the way of securing jobs with L. Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority as “NGO coordinators and capacity builders”—a title even they never seem to grasp. Of course, the idea that these goofballs were put in charge of delivering humanitarian aid tells you as much about this war as Carroll’s reports could. Neumann and LeMoine discuss and sign copies of their work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133. (Mike DeBonis)