Saturday, May 22, 2004A Night At The Opera
Okay... I have to start out by admitting that I'm not entirely clear on the vortex of accusations currently being levelled at Ahmed Chalabi, but it's starting to look as though the guy is rather uncomfortably tied to Iran. As in, possibly selling them our secrets. (Read all of Josh Marshall's stuff on the situation... he can explain it much better than I can.)
Chalabi, as it happens, is one of the biggest reasons we're in Iraq at all right now. He's the one who fed us "information" about WMDs, he's the one who assured us we'd be greeted with flowers and cheering crowds, and he's the one we'd (nearly) installed as the new leader of Iraq. We've been supporting the guy to the tune of $335,000 per month ever since we invaded. He was our man in Iraq. But was he also Iran's man in the Bush administration?
Like I say, I don't know much about it; maybe all of this will fall apart; Chalabi seems most like a huckster, and I'd be surprised to find out that there was such a well-thought-out plot involved. But still... talk about poetic justice...
Remember back in the 80s, back when Saddam was "gassing his own people"? Around that time, Saddam was involved in a hugely destructive war with Iran, and was "our guy" in that conflict. Which isn't to say we didn't do a little business with Iran, too (see "Iran-Contra Affair" for details), but Saddam got far more of our largess and weaponry than Iran did. In fact -- this is amusing, you'll like this -- the U.S. sold Saddam chemical weapons (that's right, the same stuff we now call WMDs), which he used not only to "gas his own people," (more than likely), but also to kill thousands of Iranians.
See where this is going?
So we sell WMDs to Saddam; he uses them to kill Iranians. Twenty years later, an Iraqi with ties to Iran convinces an American administration (made up of mostly the same people who were in power during the Iran-Iraq war) to invade Iraq on the basis that they still have WMDs. The basis for that invasion turns out to be entirely bogus, and in the process of invading and occupying Iraq, said American administration sees its credibility torn to shreds, its reputation in the gutter, and its military power shamed and humiliated before the entire global community. Now that's payback.
I don't know if that's how it really went, but you have to admit, it's a fucking great story. Josh Marhsall thinks so, too... and I agree, it has to be an opera:
Who could miss the duet between Chalabi and Ali Khamenei in which the dark secret is revealed or Richard Perle's haunting, despairing aria at the beginning of the final act, in which this hawk of hawks, friend of Israel, swordsman against terror, and deacon in the high church of moral clarity confronts the shattering truth that he's played the cat's paw for what the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to this just-released article from Newsday, has determined was (horribile dictu!) actually a front for Iranian intelligence.
Of course, as with all classical tragedies, while the fates may not like you, it's always your own weaknesses that screw you in the end.