A Fool's Fate: Ahmed Chalabi
- by Michael Dempsey
Even before the first Daisy Cutter fell from its B-52, The Iraqi National Congress, headed by the unfailingly disastrous Ahmed Chalabi, was readying itself for the assumption of power. The plan was for Chalabi to be airdropped from an American F-15, piloted by co-conspirators Christopher Hitchens and Kanan Makiyaya, into downtown Baghdad, where the three were then to pull down the statue of Saddam together, thus saving the Americans the trouble of having to pay the Iraqi’s to do it.
As is sometimes said here in Boston: not quite.
On May 21st, The New York Times ran an editorial concerning the recent ransacking of Mr. Chalabi’s home by Pro Consul Bremer’s security forces. Now, as is known, the Times is politically pro-Kerry so it is inarguable that they have an incentive in pointing out any and every fool's step made by this United States administration in Iraq. Indeed, America's best and brightest war planners have done things any ordinary man on the street would have the sense to avoid doing.
To cite one instance of monumental stupidity, George Bushes' press conference duet with Prime Minister Sharon in which Sharon was given a carte blanche to swallow up as much of the West Bank as his annexationist appetite will permit- how, when swathes of Iraqi’s cry Zionism after every car bombing, can this move be construed as smart?
But the interesting thing about the Times editorial, however, was that it cited the opportunism of Ahmed Chalabi as the reason for American entrenchment in Iraq, the implication being that it is because of the London based Iraqi National Congress that the United States is occupying Iraq. Of course Chalabi took advantage of the impending invasion to secure his own ambitions. But the important point to remember, which the Times has apparently either forgot or was never told, is that Chalabi never would have the opportunity to enamor himself with certain elements in the Pentagon had it not been for the American commitment to invade. If this wasn’t clear to some then, it is certainly clear now.
The Times has, not unexpectedly, reached a new depth of analytical inanity. To suggest, even half-heartedly, that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are dupes and Chalabi the duper is to have completely severed oneself from reality. All three are dupes: the former couple of their own wishful miscalculations, the latter of American imperial bad faith.
In 1991, during Saddam’s Schwarzkopf approved suppression of the Shiite-Kurdish uprisings, assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, responded to a reporter’s inquiry into whether or not America planned on cooperating with the Iraqi National Congress by answering, “We have no interest in talking to them at this time.” Boucher, by the way, is Colin Powell’s lieutenant.
Induction notwithstanding, it is easy to decipher what contributed to the sudden change of heart: opportunism! The Pentagon didn’t like the intelligence it was getting from the CIA, so, for reasons of exigency, it decided to invent its own. The Iraqi National Congress was but a convenient alibi in this calumny. Now that this convenience has become an inconvienience, it too is being discarded. Just like those silo’s stuffed with nukes.
To expect the New York Times to grasp this rather quotidian point would be to raise the bar of expectations to high. For if you take the position that the war was a “mistake” and not a deliberately pursued policy from its inception- the standard bleat coming from the uncritical corner of liberal critics- then why wouldn’t you want to shift the focus onto a group of powerless exilic Arabs.
And now that the campaign against the Chalabi faction has resumed, liberal nationalists will have just the scapegoat they need to buttress them in this election year. Sure, the Times editorial board assures us, “he can’t be made a scapegoat.” But then in times as cut-throat as these, with American credibility on trial, the ruling class will need every scapegoat it can get. Surely the Times can appreciate this. If not, then they better cancel their front row tickets for the impending coup in Caracas...'cause there won’t be one.
Chalabi, having been chewed and screwed before, should have learned his lesson by now. That he hasn’t is evidence of his abjection, and is also the reason why his career as a comprador ended before it every really had a chance to begin. Shame, really.
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Michael Dempsey, 23, is a staff writer for The Raw Story, contributor to Justice(the newspaper of Socalist Alternative), and member of Boston to Palestine. He can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org.