Hitchens Defends Chalabi
And a lame job he makes of it, too.
A few cheap points - mine, that is, not his:
and the charge of puppetry, never very convincing, seems to have been dropped lately.
Not very convincing? Call me an old cynic, but $340,000 a month to keep an exiled political party in beer and sarnies doesn't exactly discourage charges of puppetry.
It has now been replaced with a whole new indictment: that Chalabi tricked the United States into war, possibly on Iran's behalf, and that he has given national security secrets to Iran. The first half of this is grotesque on its face. Even if you assume the worst to be true—that the INC's "defectors" were either mistaken or were conscious, coached fabricators—the fact remains that the crucial presentation of the administration's case on WMD and terrorism was made at the United Nations by Secretary of State Colin Powell, with CIA Director George Tenet sitting right behind him, after those two men most hostile to Chalabi had been closeted together.
For fucks sake, Christopher, don't you have a memory? You don't recall the power struggles between the doves, exemplified by Colin Powell, and the neo con hawks with their man Chalabi by their side? You don't recall the near humiliation of Powell as he was sidelined and the hawks ran rampant? He was defeated and he had the choice of chucking it all in or nodding and smiling. Being a politician he chose the latter. As for Tenet, who gives a shit where he sat? The CIA Director only exists as a fall guy for the failings of his political masters, anyway.
As to the accusation that Chalabi has endangered American national security by slipping secrets to Tehran, I can only say that three days ago, I broke my usual rule and had a "deep background" meeting with a very "senior administration official." This person, given every opportunity to signal even slightly that I ought to treat the charges seriously, pointedly declined to do so. I thought I should put this on record.
I just love this one. Christopher, mate,it's a good rule, and when you break it you look like a complete twat.
There's no mention in the Slate article of the corruption accusations levelled at Chalabi in Iraq and the alleged profiteering of his family members in the reconstruction efforts, but I won't go into that now.
Surely it's plain to anyone with a modicum of sense that the standing of Chalabi is merely a barometer of the twists and turns of the power struggles in the Bush administration.
The neo con's dream is doing a Freddy Kruger and their puppet is having his strings slashed.