Skip to comments.Busted neo-con icon
Posted on 05/21/2004 9:16:55 PM PDT by Destro
Busted neo-con icon
Published: May 22 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: May 22 2004 5:00
The spectacular rise and sudden downfall of Ahmad Chalabi, the darling of the Pentagon ideologues who launched the war in Iraq and saw him as its future leader, would look Shakespearean in its plot development were it not so shabby, and the irreducible reality of Iraq not so bloody and still so distant from catharsis.
Front pages across the world illustrated the drama through the splintered glass of a framed portrait of Mr Chalabi, smashed after US troops raided his Baghdad house on Thursday. As the ghost of Hamlet's father put it in a different context: "Oh what a falling off was there!"
Mr Chalabi's recent history in many ways encapsulates the delusionary nature of the US adventure in Iraq - not least because it was he who fed these delusions to his patrons at the Pentagon. Some of the most alarming stories the Bush administration passed on to its allies as intelligence - such as the one about Saddam Hussein's mobile biological weapons laboratories - were the fabrications of defectors supplied on demand by Mr Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress (INC). Colin Powell, the US secretary of state who repeated these assertions to the United Nations Security Council as justification for the war, earlier this month described that particular information as "deliberately misleading".
Mr Chalabi's claim that Iraqis would welcome US troops with flowers, moreover, played perfectly to the gullibility of the neo-conservatives in and around the Pentagon who had long been determined to invade Iraq and use it as a lever to reshape the Middle East. But if they were taken in by these stirring tales, it was and is their fault; the record of Mr Chalabi is no mystery.
The INC leader is a brilliant man who lobbied Washington with charm and conviction. A western-educated, secular member of Iraq's Shia majority, he must have seemed an ideal projection of Iraq's future after regime change, a seductive image confused as reality. It seems to have given no one pause that he had no standing in Iraq, which he left as a boy. Or, indeed, that he was best known in the region for the Petra bank fraud in Jordan, for which he was sentenced to 22 years in jail in 1990 (he fled the country to avoid imprisonment). He says he was set up by Saddam; that is not what knowledgeable bankers in Amman and Beirut say.
In 2001 the INC - which has received nearly $40m (£22.5m) from Washington - fell foul of a US audit reported to have uncovered expenditure on paintings for its offices and gym subscriptions for its staff. Now, it appears, the INC seems to have profited from last year's currency changeover in Iraq. Mr Chalabi, a gifted mathematician whose doctoral thesis was on Knot Theory, has left a lot of loose ends dangling in his controversial career.
Unsurprisingly, when the US flew him and his self-styled "Free Iraqi" militia into Iraq last year, those Iraqis who knew him were unimpressed. His part in persuading the occupation authority to dissolve the regular army, as well as a blanket purge instead of the selective rooting out of Saddam's henchmen, top the lengthy list of misjudgments of the past year. So bad has Mr Chalabi's relationship with his former patrons become that officials in Washington are accusing him of passing US intelligence to Iran.
Yet it would be quite wrong to make Mr Chalabi a scapegoat. Ultimately, he was the construct of geo-political fantasists in Washington, which is surely where the responsibility lies for his and their shortcomings.
If, as the DIA reportedly believes (Newsday), Chalabi is part of an Iranian Intelligence operation given access at the highest levels in our Government, sponsored by Cabinet and near-Cabinet-level officials, we are about to see Watergate become a quaint pecadillo.
'Conservative Imperialists Head Bush Administration'... A new form of conservative imperialism with roots in the ranks of an elite group of former Trotskyite leftists is emerging as a major force among top-level policy makers in the Bush administration. Exclusive To American Free Press
By Michael Collins Piper
We are witnessing an inter agency power struggle the likes of which we have never seen. It will get bloody.
Get a box of good cigars and a case of 8 year old Scotch and enjoy the bloody show.
Oh yes, Bush and his neocons are the evil ones here alright. Sheesh.
Would it not be more accurate to state 'neocons and their Bush'??
He was Laura Bush's guest at the State of the Union. He had enough access that we paid him several million dollars.
The only thing I'm skeptical about here is one of the named sources in the Newsday story. Patrick Lang evidently believes that the Likud party runs the US, which makes him more than a little suspect as an accurate source of information IMO.
Actually, I think there's a neocon under your bed, pal.
In my best Yiddish accent - Runs? No! Influences? ehhhhhhhhhhhh
Worse then a neocon under our bed is a neocon sitting next to our president.
Maybe you should seek treatment for your jew-anxiety :).
Since you put a smiley face at the end of that statement I will let it slide :)
I don't know if you realize how little you understand your own comments and ideas.
I am proud to say - I never once backed a neo-con.
IF this is true it is literally a disaster.