Sunday, March 28, 2004

The Greatest FLIM-FLAM Man in American History? Though few Americans remain as engaged in the whole pattern of the Iraqi invasion -- the worst fears of those who either always opposed it, and those like me who were wussies and only came oppose the war after it was too late to stop it (that's right, I really pulled a Hamlet over the whole thing) are coming home to roost. The Press is still way behind events in Iraq, but they are catching up along with the public. Are they catching up fast enough? There were two big stories in Clarke's book and testimony. The first is the news story the Administration and the press are focusing on at the moment -- the missed signals and botched later years of Clinton and especially Bush. Made worse by the over-the-top reaction of the Bush Administration that led to 9/11. But the second, and even bigger story, one that the Administration is clearly unable to dispute, is the primacy of Iraq policy from the beginning and the resolute singlemindedness of folks like Rummy and Wolfie to go after Saddam from the get go, evidence otherwise be damned. That ultimately is really going to hurt them politically at home. It's already been disastrous internationally. And who was the main man, the key Iraqi ex-patriot in the whole scheme? Why admitted con-man Ahmed Chalabi. He beat the drum of war -- by claiming oodles of WMD from the get-go. Like all first-rate flim-flam artists, he lied and tricked his victims by playing upon their prejudices. Using the most shallow of tactics, this guy managed to convince people at the very highest levels of decision-making for the most powerful nation on earth of exactly what they wanted to hear. THAT, is perhaps the greatest indictment againt the Bush Administration I can think of. It's not like Chalabi's credentials were unquestioned. At the State Department, from Powell and Sydney Greenstreet -- I mean Richard Armitage -- on down, he was thought to be one of the world's most outrageous liars. Yet, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, most of the NSC, and finally the President himself, swallowed his Iraqi National Congress's claims wholesale. In other interviews, post-war, Chalabi has admitted he lied for what he believes the higher purpose to have been. I'll give him this, he has balls. From the Political Animal (also a Marvel Comic book's superhero -- whose sworn enemy is Bill "Cat Killer" Frist) comes this as quoted in the Los Angeles Times: The Bush administration's prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of trucks and railroad cars to produce anthrax and other deadly germs were based chiefly on information from a now-discredited Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball," according to current and former intelligence officials. ....U.N. weapons inspectors hypothesized that such trucks might exist, officials said. They then asked former exile leader Ahmad Chalabi, a bitter enemy of Hussein, to help search for intelligence supporting their theory. Soon after, a young chemical engineer emerged in a German refugee camp and claimed that he had been hired out of Baghdad University to design and build biological warfare trucks for the Iraqi army. ....Only later, U.S. officials said, did the CIA learn that the defector was the brother of one of Chalabi's top aides, and begin to suspect that he might have been coached to provide false information. In part because of that, some U.S. intelligence officials and congressional investigators fear that the CIA may have inadvertently conjured up and then chased a phantom weapons system. Other news stories have emerged that the Bush Administration may try to essentially impose a government on Iraq near the end of June as a band-aid until the situation can afford EVEN more instability (i.e. after the first Tuesday in November). Consider how proposterous that last statement is, can affort EVEN more instability? WTF? Of course, I doubt the Iraqis will wait that long -- how dare they ignore the Preznit's political schedule. Any odds on whether one of Chalabi's associates is going to get that prize? How about Chalabi himself (surely Bush is not that stupid -- though he does have a tendency to exceed expectations or else we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place)? By the way, we taxpayers continue to pay this flagrant and admitted con-man, who I do hold substantially responsible for 580+ American soldier's deaths, millions of dollars a year at the direction of the administration. See here feeling better yet? Chalabi is also an American Citizen. Should we not be contemplating substantial criminal charges against this man?
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