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A few words about Ahmad Chalabi ("The Manipulator", New Yorker, 06/04)

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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-30-05 11:00 PM
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A few words about Ahmad Chalabi ("The Manipulator", New Yorker, 06/04)
THE MANIPULATOR
by JANE MAYER
Ahmad Chalabi pushed a tainted case for war. Can he survive the occupation?

Issue of 2004-06-07
Posted 2004-05-29

Ahmad Chalabi, the wealthy Iraqi Shiite who spent more than a decade working for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, prides himself on his understanding of the United States and its history. I know quite a lot about it, he told me not long ago. It was after midnight in Baghdad, but he was still in his office in the new headquarters of the Iraqi National Congress, the exile opposition group that Chalabi helped found in 1992. As a young man, he said, he spent several years in America, earning an undergraduate and a masters degree in mathematics from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. Chalabi began studying the uses of power in American politics, and the subject developed into a lifelong interest. One episode in American history particularly fascinated him, he said. I followed very closely how Roosevelt, who abhorred the Nazis, at a time when isolationist sentiment was paramount in the United States, managed adroitly to persuade the American people to go to war. I studied it with a great deal of respect; we learned a lot from it. The Lend-Lease program committed Roosevelt to enter on Britains sideso we had the Iraq Liberation Act, which committed the American people for the liberation against Saddam. The act, which Congress passed in 1998, made regime change in Iraq an official priority of the U.S. government; Chalabi had lobbied tirelessly for the legislation.

<snip>

Between 1992 and the raid on Chalabis home, the U.S. government funnelled more than a hundred million dollars to the Iraqi National Congress. The current Bush Administration gave Chalabis group at least thirty-nine million dollars. Exactly what the I.N.C. provided in exchange for these sums has yet to be fully explained. Chalabi defined his role simply. I clarified the picture, he said. His many critics, however, believe that he distorted it. Diplomatic and intelligence officials accuse him of exaggerating the security threat that Iraq posed to the U.S.; supplying defectors who offered misleading or bogus testimony about Saddams efforts to acquire nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons; promoting questionable stories connecting Saddam to Al Qaeda; and overestimating the ease with which Saddam could be replaced with a Western-style democracy.

Vincent Cannistraro, a former C.I.A. counter-terrorism specialist who now consults for the government, told me, With Chalabi, we paid to fool ourselves. Its horrible. In other times, it might be funny. But a lot of people are dead as a result of this. Its reprehensible.

<snip>

Peter Galbraith, a former Ambassador to Croatia and a human-rights activist, who has long supported Chalabis efforts to depose Saddam, suggested that if the Administration was unhappy with the outcome in Iraq it had only itself to blame. Chalabi is one of the smartest people I know, he told me. As Galbraith put it, Chalabi figured out in the eighties that the road to Baghdad ran through Washington. He cultivated whom he needed to know. If he didnt get what he wanted from State, he went to Capitol Hill. Its a sign of being effective. Its not his fault that his strategy succeeded. Its not his fault that the Bush Administration believed everything he said. Should they have? Of course not. They should have looked critically. Hes not a liar; he believed the information he was purveying, and part of it was valuable. But his goal was to get the U.S. to invade Iraq.

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/040607fa_fact1




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ovidsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-03-06 03:14 PM
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1. He sure is consistent n/t
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