With Ahmad Chalabi’s Death, Passing of an Age of Lies

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Ahmad Chalabi (1944-2015) died of a heart attack in Iraq on Tuesday.

Clarence Darrow, the great trial lawyer and orator, said, “I’ve never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.”

I don’t get any satisfaction from this obituary. In the first Star Wars film (later retitled Episode IV), the Death Star destroys the entire planet of Alderaan, and Obi Wan Kenobi says, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.” That is how I feel about the Iraq War and what happened to Iraq. I guess that makes Chalabi a minion of Grand Moff Tarkin. But it is the deaths of the hundreds of thousands that I mourn.

It is, however, an occasion to reflect on what Chalabi did, to see if we can learn from it.

This was a man who gave Judith Miller of the New York Times loads of false information about Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons program (it did not exist and Chalabi knew it didn’t). She ruined her career by acting as his stenographer. He just made a lot of shit up in order to provoke a US invasion. But, in 2002-3 the Times under Bill Keller was perfectly willing to be used as a tool to get up this war, and its poorly sourced and poorly fact-checked front page sensationalism fanned the flames. It alleged that Iraq had bought centrifuges from India that could be used for nuclear enrichment. Dr. Mohammed Elbaradei, the then head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, looked at the specifications of those centrifuges and concluded that they were way too fragile of that purpose. They were part of some Baath official’s money-laundering and never had anything to do with anything nuclear. If Elbaradei could conclude that almost immediately, the Times could have asked an engineer. Instead, they appear to have asked people like Chalabi.

In 2002-2003 I was all over the NPR affiliates warning the public that Saddam Hussein was not connected to al-Qaeda and that there was no good evidence for his having unconventional weapons or even programs, and that anyway mustard gas is not a weapon of mass destruction. About the building war, I quoted Han Solo from Star Wars (when they were trapped in the trash compactor): “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Chalabi was from an old and fairly well known Shiite merchant family (they had been Sunnis, as the name– it is Ottoman– indicates, but converted, like a lot of Iraqis, in the mid-19th century). His immediate family was close to the British-installed monarchy and had to flee a popular revolution in 1958 that made Iraq a Republic. He grew up an expatriate. He seems to have felt that the old elite actually owned Iraq and he wanted it back.

The hawks in the US Congress voted the Iraqi National Congress, which he headed in London, tens of millions of dollars a year to overthrow the Iraqi government in the 1990s. The State Department and the CIA were opposed. They could never get any receipts from him or information about how he spent the money. His Gucci revolution” or attempt to take on Saddam Hussein from Kurdistan in 1995 with a few hundred Kurdish and Shiite rebels was easily crushed and resulted in the deaths of 100 good men. He had been in the field impeccably tailored.

Although Chalabi’s false propaganda was very useful to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton and other warmongers, Chalabi was a minor player in the US invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq as a functioning country. He helped, but his help was eagerly sought and welcomed. It was the Bush-Cheney White House that launched the aggressive war. They had other secret agents and whack jobs feeding them false information, which they lapped up. They downed the steaming crocks he served up and asked for more.

Chalabi was a banker whose banks in Beirut and Jordan had a habit of suddenly going under. He was investigated by the Jordanian and Swiss governments on charges of embezzling $30 million, and Jordan convicted him. Nevertheless, the Neoconservative coterie in the US, who came to power in 2001, wanted to trust him with a whole oil state.

I was told by an eyewitness that the first US viceroy in Iraq, Jay Garner, was impatient with the speechifying by politicians after the fall of Saddam. After one conference he said, “I don’t know why we had to go through all that rigamarole– we’re just going to put Chalabi in in six months anyway.” Apparently the first Rumsfeld/ Neocon plan was to make Chalabi a Karzai figure, sort of an American puppet with a facade of having been voted in by locals. What exactly he promised the Neoconservatives in return for this anointment has never been revealed.

Chalabi came back to Iraq with the US military. He was asked, after his lies had become apparent, whether he had any regrets. “No!” he said. “We are in Baghdad.”

I was told that Colin Powell found out about the Neocon plot and managed to thwart it by sending in Paul “Jerry” Bremer, one of whose charges was to marginalize Chalabi.

Chalabi was a force behind the “Debaathification Commission,” which fired some 100,000 Sunni Iraqis in places like Mosul and Ramadi from their jobs and militated against a continuing public role for them. He was also among the Shiite politicians who coerced Viceroy Bremer into abolishing the Iraqi army, on the grounds that it was full of Baathists– threatening to withdraw their support from the weak American “Coalition Provisional Authority” if he did not comply. Chalabi and his hard line Shiite colleagues moved their own people into the jobs from which the Sunnis were fired. As late as 2010 they were disqualifying Sunni members of parliament from politics.

In short, Chalabi’s Shiite sectarianism and vindictiveness toward Sunni former Baathists contributed mightily to the creation of the Sunni backlash that led to ISIL and the break-up (as we speak) of Iraq.

He allied with Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, not because he was particularly pious, but as a matter of convenience.

Chalabi once ran for parliament but couldn’t get the 40,000 votes needed to be seated. He was not popular and could never have headed the country. He was, however, a slick operator and managed to get appointed to important position (heading Iraq’s energy commission e.g.). Charges of graft dogged him.

Ironically, I think he profoundly loved Iraq. I don’t begrudge him his hatred for the Saddam Hussein regime, which in spring of 1991 committed a virtual genocide against the Shiites, and had earlier, in 1988, killed 5,000 Kurdish civilians with sarin gas. But the war he helped manufacture had no UN Security Council authorization and was illegal and aggressive. Moreover, far from the South African model of reconciliation, he pursued vicious revenge. The war he helped get up did not leave his beloved Iraq intact or healthy. It left 4,491 US troops dead, along with hundreds more contractors (many of them ex-military), and 10,000 gravely wounded (30,000 wounded badly enough to go to hospital). How many Iraqis died is controversial. I doubt it is less than 500,000 if you count all excess deaths, including from breakdowns in water purification & etc.

Chalabi was an accessory to one of the great crimes of the twenty-first century, the launching of an aggressive war with no casus belli and the ruination through incompetence and sectarianism of a great country.

Persons full of overweening ambition and dedicated to the pursuit of narrow self-interest can often destroy the very prize that they so eagerly sought, crushing it to death in a satanic embrace.

——

Related video added by Juan Cole:

Euronews: “Ahmed Chalabi dies”

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50 Responses

  1. I’ve often suspected that Chalabi was a CIA asset, if an unreliable one (possibly playing a double game with Iranian intelligence). Any thoughts on this?

    • Chalabi hated the CIA. They did not get along.

      Chalabi had lots of friends. Including Iran’s dictator Khamenei, Muqtada al Sadr and some Americans. But none of them had much influence on Chalabi. Chalabi no doubt regarded himself as a great Iraqi patriot who did much to serve Iraq, and without whom Iraq would have been much worse.

  2. Ahmed Chalabi was well known to be a close friend of both the young Muqtada Al Sadr and Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei before March, 2003.

    Chalabi from his point of view did an act of great patriotism by leading part of the Iraqi resistance against Saddam Hussein 1991-2003 (in a junior capacity from 1979-1990 too). He did this at great risk to himself, his family and friends. Chalabi also from his own point of view achieved the very difficult task of persuading Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Sayyed Khamenei, the US, and several other countries to back the Iraqi resistance against Saddam Hussein. Chalabi persuaded the global intelligence community, including Khamenei, Jordan, Egypt, Europe, Israel and the US that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and manipulated a naive US President Bush to overthrow Saddam Hussein and put the Iraqi resistance in power.

    Chalabi was able to influence the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council (albeit Bremer, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the US State Department, CIA, UK were able to keep Chalabi’s close ally Muqtada al Sadr off the IGC to weaken Chalabi), the nascent Iraqi government institutions, debaathification, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

    Chalabi rescued Muqtada from certain defeat in Najaf in April, 2004, and again in August, 2004. Chalabi supported the April 2004 battles in Falluja, Ramadi and Husaybah; and failed to persuade the CPA and US Marines to continue the first Fallujah assault.

    Chalabi wielded considerable political influence after the Iraqi elections on Jan 30th and Dec 15th, 2005.

    Chalabi believed that Saddam Hussein was one of the most evil human beings ever born, and went to enormous lengths to remove Saddam. Chalabi later regarded Al Qaeda and the Iraqi resistance (circa 2003-2005) as evil, and did what he could to lead Iraqis and the Iraqi Security Forces to fight them.

    A mixed legacy. Many Iraqis, including probably Muqtada al Sadr, will cry for him.

  3. Professor Cole, Why are you still defending Colin Powell? He is a self serving opportunist who lied to the World with his knowingly false speech at the UN and did the bidding of Bush/Cheney in the run up to the war. He is just as guilty as any of them.

    • There’s no question Colin Powell’s low moment was his speech before the UN and he has admitted it several times. But its worth noting that he tossed out most of the so-called intelligence that was handed to him on Iraq. And most of the so-called “evidence” that Bush, Rice, Cheney and Karl Rove were peddling in the months before the speech was not used. For those paying attention, that spoke volumes.

      In addition, over time, Colin Powell, and his assistant, Larry Wilkerson, were able to release considerable information that showed just how fabricated and incompetent the case for war was.

      Even before the UN speech, in the fall of 2002, Collin Powell made a somewhat casual observation (that he may have allowed to be published) that the top Bush officials were caught off guard when Saddam Hussein agreed to allow UN inspectors to come to Iraq. They apparently had not analyzed what their response would be if weapons inspectors were admitted. Powell’s comments suggest Bush and his top circle (which curiously never included Colin Powell) had to quickly improvise new scenarios.

      One last somewhat unrelated point, and this was generally less known: comments by others suggest that Colin Powell was willing to take global warming seriously but was overruled by Bush’s top circle. Powell’s role under George W. was much more complex than most people realize.

      • There’s no question Colin Powell’s low moment was his speech before the UN and he has admitted it several times.

        When it was a respected program on CBS, “60 Minutes” interviewed members of Powell’s staff at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department. They revealed they knew at the time Powell spoke at the UN he was not telling the truth. Robert Fisk, one of the more distinguished Middle East correspondents, wrote a piece a few hours after Powell’s selling of what was left of his soul ripping Powell apart. Clearly, another case of an insider passing up the chance to be a profile in courage that might have prevented this war. But no surprise there.

  4. Went looking for Chalabi recently on line. Could not find much recently written about him and his whereabouts and his position in Iraq. Last I had read he had been appointed Iraq’s energy commission. Tried to get into some of Iraq’s oil websites….not so easy

    Questions:

    1. While it is clear Judith “I was fucking right” Miller also had an agenda. Do you think she was able to get around professional standards of sources etc because Keller and team also really wanted Iraq invaded? They all belong on trial at the Hague for complicity in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people

    2. In 2006 the Lancet reported that 650.000 Iraqi people had all ready died as a direct result of the U.S. invasion. Of course that report was ripped apart and swept under the rug.

    Why is it at a time when Americans drones, satellites etc can see a fly on the ass of a camel…why is it that U.S. Iraq cannot come up with close to exact figures on the deaths and injuries of the Iraq people? Was there a deal made with whomever never to reveal close to the exact numbers? And if you truly “mourn” these deaths why not do a piece just totally focused on this issue? You have the capabilities and language skills to get to the bottom of these numbers.

    3, I had read from several sources years ago that Jay Gardner had not wanted to disband the Iraq army that it was Paul “neocon” Bremer who pushed for this. Have you ever listened to Bremer? I have on the Diane Rehm show. He repeats one lie after the next about Iraq. Was he really Colin Powell’s man or the neocons man? My vote…neocons man. I think he belongs on trial at the Hague too.

    4. If you are willing to use the term “genocide” for those people who Saddam slaughtered. Why not use “genocide” for the 500,000 (on your count, over a million based on others calculations) Iraq people that have died as a direct result of the invasion? It was a genocide in Iraq. Are you unable to use that strong of term because it was the Bush administration U.S. who are responsible for those deaths.

    In a just world Bush, Cheney, Feith, Rice, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Addington, Micheal Ledeen, would all be on trial at the Hague for war crimes, crimes against humanity. If only the world were fair and they would all meet the same fate as Chalabi.

    Was very aware of your efforts to inform the American public about the serious questions as to the validity of the Bush administrations intelligence. Along with El Baradei and former weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s efforts to put a halt to the push for the invasion. Those who listened, read, tried to be informed from more reliable sources than the New York Bloody Times lobbied our Reps, marched in D,C, New York and across the nation against that horrific invasion.

    And now we have Former Senator and Secretary of State and Clinton running for the Dem Presidential candidate. She voted for that 2002 Iraq war resolution. She was complicit. Her colleague Senator Dick Durbin who I believe was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time voted against that resolution. Hello Hillary a clear indicator. Scott Ritter wrote that the Clinton’s were fully aware t
    hat
    This is not even addressing the millions of Iraqi people became refugees and were injured. War crimes. Those responsible should he held accountable!

    Now we have former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton running for the Dem Presidential candidate. We all know that Clinton was complicit in that invasion. At the time her colleague Senator Dick Durbin was on the Senate Intelligence Committeed, I believe he was the chair at the time. He voted against that resolution. A clear clue for Hillary, Former IAEA head weapons inspector in Iraq during the 90s Scott Ritter wrote before the invasion that both of the Clintons knew there were no WMD’s.

    Before during and after the 2008 Dem campaign Hillary Clinton continually repeated the neocons unsubstantiated claims about Iran. Not until the deal with Iran was looking like it was going to move forward did Clinton come out and support it

    Clinton supported military aggression in both Libya and Syria.

    We can only wish that Chalabi’s death meant that this is really a time for the “passing” of these murderous lies. However with Clinton looking as if she is likely to sit in the White House with her husband (who lets never forget signed repealing Glass Steagall). Those Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Cheney etc deadly lies still rage through the middle east…a policy of death that Clinton looks all to likely to continue/

    • And now we have Former Senator and Secretary of State and Clinton running for the Dem Presidential candidate. She voted for that 2002 Iraq war resolution. She was complicit. Her colleague Senator Dick Durbin who I believe was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time voted against that resolution.

      If I recall correctly, Jay Rockefeller was chair of the senate intelligence (sic) committee, but more importantly I recall listening to Dick Durbin make a speech on the senate floor stating that the intelligence given to the committee contradicted the “intelligence” propagated for public consumption. That is why he voted against the war. So what does that say about the other members of the committee who knew the truth and the lies but still voted for the war? link to search.yahoo.com

      Unfortunately for the victims of the Iraq war, Durbin turned down an opportunity to become a profile in courage and kept silent using the excuse he was sworn to secrecy.

      • They are sworn to secrecy on those committees. However damn strong signal to others that he voted against.

        Clinton had plenty of opportunities to turn on the lights. She chose to make a political calculation…and as I have pointed out her warmongering does not end there

        • And Hillary’s coronation as the Democratic (?) Party’s choice for president in 2016 will prove its membership is as craven and immoral as the Republicans. Given we are talking about around two thirds of the US electorate, what does that say about this nation?

  5. You seem to whitewash Judith MIller’s role. I understand that she was/is a zionist and most likely a willing participant in the the creation of the false image of Sadaam’s Iraq. The zionists despised him for his aid to the Palestinians.

  6. A rare oppositional point, Professor Cole — The authors of the lie are named Bush/s, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz, Kristol/s, Perle, Wurmser, Feith, Kagan/s, Pipes, et al. The age of [Those] Lies won’t pass until they are all welcomed into hell and not a minute sooner. And their chief enablers too, such as Judith Miller, Michael Gordon (STILL primary NYT liar and now chief military correspondent), oh yeah and the Sulzberger nest of lying warmongers.

    Also, any age of lies won’t end until the still-ongoing damage ends that was spawned (intentionally) by the authors and propagaters of the lie. The destruction and suffering wrought by the lie has already lasted 12 years, and it will take 20-30 more years for it to lose its inertia.

  7. And let’s remember forever, with all the deserved sneering and denouncing they earned, the major news media liars – all of them except Knight-Ridder – all of whom couldn’t have been bothered to learn the truth or actually cared less that they were handmaidens and joiners of the Lies. If they’d cared, they’d have known better, as did you, me, and the rest of the world easily learned because we sought the truth, Professor Cole.

    And look around today, and you see the same pack of ignorant self-glorifying news media jackals and their newer career-worshipping accomplices lying down and taking it up their corrupted ‘information’ channels about Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, et al, and the suffering people, animals, and land therein.

    • I never saw any news organization , with maybe one exception, consult non-governmental experts on intelligence to give their opinion on the reliability of the so-called intelligence that was being peddled by the Administration. The exception was that I once saw James Bamford, an expert on NSA, cast doubt on what was being peddled.
      While in the service I was in intelligence and I have an educational background in international relations and foreign policy. I knew immediately that their claims were doubtful and almost certainly bogus. But the media accepted everything uncritically. It was truly a time of profiles in docility and cowardice.

      • Gary Former head weapons inspector in Iraq during the 90’s, Head of the IAEA El Baradei, many former middle east CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Kathleen and Bill Christison, the Leveretts, Prof Cole, Jonathan Landay (journalist), General Zinni, Dr. Zbig and others cast doubt on the Bush administrations so called intelligence before the invasion of Iraq.

        You had to go searching before the invasion since rags like the NYBloody Times promoted the invasion lock stock and barrel.

        • While i did miss a couple whom you mention, the others were not scholars who studied intelligence per se. I’m thinking of people like David Wise, Bamford, Christopher Andrew and David Kahn, all who specialized in the study of intelligence gathering and spycraft.

  8. cjlamb

    @pete7630 Dishonest Bush administration depended on a pathological liar on Iraq: What could go wrong?

  9. If Chalabi was an accessory, where then are the rest of those who conspired, and will they face a court in The Hague on crimes against humanity before they die?

  10. The “Age of Lies” HAS ABSOLUTELY NOT PASSED:

    – American soldiers in 130 countries are “keeping us safe”
    – Drone-based extra judicial killings are “keeping us safe”
    – The NSA violating the Fourth Amendment day and daily is “keeping us safe”
    – “Barack Obama created the deficit”

    …..and on and on and on. how many current lies does it take to convince you that the age of lies is still with us big time…..right now!!!!

  11. If one opposes the Iraq war on illegality (no UN security council resoultion) and aggression (loss of civilian life), as this article argues, then the parallels to the ongoing strife in Syria require some elucidation. Currently, Saudi Arabia and Turkey materially support groups with tacit support from the west that can only be called terrorist groups. This is illegal under international law; just like the invasion of Iraq. The parallel between Saddam and Assad is also worth writing about: both are war criminals and in both instances should have been tried under international law. If one opposed the Iraq war (which only is the only sensible choice), then one should also deeply oppose what Saudi Arabia and Turkey are doing in Syria.

    • Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been attacked by ISIL and would be authorized to riposte by the principle, recognized in the UN charter, of self-defense. Not clear that they have similar authorization to take on al-Assad regime.

      • We are now pushing the doctrine of self-defense beyond any recognizable scope of it’s definition: self-defense is limited by time, geographic scope, and proportionality. That said, even if were to grant that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are entitled to some limited form of “reposte” under the rubric of self-defense, no “reposte” could take the form of arming and funding mercenaries, terrorists and other non-governmental groups to destabilize another country (here both Iraq and Syria). The “reposte” could only be carried out by the military of the aggrieved country: not non-state actors. The actions of funding, arming, and providing vocal support of terrorist groups remains illegal, regardless of whether or not the country was aggrieved or not.

        Saudi Arabia claiming entitlement to a reposte under the rubric of self-defense is patently absurd beyond the arguments presented above. It’s citizens funds ISIL; Saudi Arabia is a dictorship, their secret service knows full well that their citizens are funding terrorism. As you pointed out earlier, groups that the government of Saudi Arabia supports materially and vocally are now calling for an alliance with ISIL. The attacks ISIL carried out in Saudi Arabia were carried out against Shia places of worship. The Saudi state has deeply repressed their minority population, and might actually behead a citizen for an alleged crime as a minor. That Saudi Arabia is entitled under international law to a reposte against targets other than ISIL, which it’s actions have supported (if not created), with non-governmental mercenaries completely shreds any semblance of logic in international law, forget about the spirit law: that is completely torn asunder.

  12. The only thing that just does not compute in this piece is Prof Cole’s claim that Bremer was Powell’s man in Iraq. First time I have ever read this anywhere.

    Unfortunate that Chalabi, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz etc will never be put on a stand under oath with the threat of prison or death

    If that were truly the case why would Bremmer have fallen under the influence (according to Cole) of Chalabi who influenced him to disband the Iraqi army. Powell would have stepped in. Bremmer is deeply involved with the neocons agenda. Not so much for Powell. Just does not compute.

    Does certainly seem that the neocons agenda was chaos in the middle east

    • While in the Foreign Service, among his jobs was as a special assistant to Kissinger. After he retired from the Foreign Service in 1989 he became a managing director of Kissinger and Associates. So, if anything, he was a Kissinger guy.

  13. Brian Wodarek

    But all the israeli neocons are still here in the U.S., directing policy and writing talking points for presidential wannabes. And the 9/11 government fable still persists, an intended blood libel against all Muslims… It’s a bit too soon to speak of the passing of the age of lies, unfortunately.

  14. Oh do I agree with Kathleen!! And please Juan when will you really write something similar about those still alive from Bush down to the lowest of his cohorts planning and lying to us about Iraq. Chalabi just took the money and ran to the bank. POTUS Bush to all his ignorant conservatives are the War Criminals as was Nixon, Kissinger and his ignorant subordinates when using Pinochet for the Chilean killing fields. The powerful, the USA government is more guilty than the others in the countries the USA invades. P.S. I agree with Kathleen: you continue to excuse the real killers: the USA government in your and my name. P.S. Turkey and S. Arabia attacked by ISIL and self defense! Really, by attacking Yemen while their rich people support ISIL? WHO buys ISIL’s oil, please? I believe Kathleen wants an answer! THX

    • Thanks for the support for my points. However I do not believe for a minute the PNAC, Pentagon Office of Special Plans crowd were “ignorant” at all.

      In the run up to the invasion I was still a soccer mom with my youngest daughter at home. I was obsessed with listening to the news, reading the news, listening to NPR’s Diane Rehm, Talk of the Nation, going on line because of the repetition of the main stream parroting what the Bush administration about the Iraq WMD’s. I could not believe the Vietnam generation (me) was going to let this type of horrific pre-meditated death and destruction happen again. That is when I started following everything, Prof Cole, weapons inspector Scott Ritter, IAEA head El Bardei,former CIA foreign policy analyst like Ray McGovern, Kathleen and Bill Christison, reporters like Jason Vest at the Nation etc were reporting. All questioning the validity of the intelligence.

      Somehow many of us naively thought after El Baradei came out in early March of 2003 and confirmed the Niger Documents the push to invaded would stop.

      A dear friend from Athens Ohio Christian Peace Maker Team member Peggy Gish had gone to Iraq the fall of 2002…to be a witness. We were getting news from her that we would not read about until months later in msm outlets

      After the invasion kept thinking now these neocons sent in too few troops (Shenskiki had recommended 200,000), did not protect many treasured sites for the Irrouaqi people, disbanded the Iraq army. One almost had to conclude that they wanted big trouble/chaos. Sort of a Sabra Shatilla strategy. Surround the area, destroy the area, send in too few troops to keep the peace and watch the Shiite/Sunni massacre begin.

      Then when Peggy and the CPT in Iraq took their reports of abuse in Abu Ghariib to Bremmer his front people turned them away. CPT had been one of the first groups to document the torture taking place under the U.S. I believe Seymour Hersh used some of CPT’s reports in his Abu Gharib pied in the New Yorker.

      Peggy over the years spent a cumulative time of almost six years in Iraq. She said many Iraqi people she spoke with had begun to believe that the Bush administration and killing team had never wanted peace in Iraq…that they had wanted the former Iraq destroyed and the ensuing chaos to take hold.

      I don’t think the Bush administration neocon team were ever ignoratant.. It would appear death and destruction was their agenda. Easier for the oil to eventually be controlled.

      • I disagree in that I think ignorance abounded among the neocons. As devoted ideologues, they believed what they wanted to believe and ignored any evidence to the contrary. They deliberately appointed people to Iraq who had no knowledge of the Middle East. Bush famously didn’t know that Iraq consisted of Sunni, Shiites and Kurds; in fact he had no idea of what any of them were. Condi Rice’s specialty was the Soviet Union. While Wolfowitz had studied the Middle East, he was very pro-Israel and wrote his Phd. on the desalination of water in the Middle East. He studied under Wohlstetter, a Cold Warrior whose specialty was nuclear deterrence. A good book is Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann, which goes into the background of the chief Bush advisers.

        • In 2002 a soccer mom from Ohio could look up on the internet historical facts about the Sunni/Shiite divide and violent tensions that exist.
          “Ignorance abounded among the neocons” Highly unlikely. They knew what they were doing and did not give a rat’s ass about how many hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. The invasion of Iraq was a tactical pivot point for the PNAC, AIE, Jinsa, Csp very deadly agenda. I truly believe this

      • Well, we are arguing at the fringes here, but while the motives were certainly nefarious, I think that they really did believe that they could invade and occupy Iraq with a small force, we would be greeted as liberators, many thought we would find WMD’s, and they had no understanding of the complex factional politics that would be unleashed post invasion. So many decisions, like disbanding the Iraqi Army without pay, were just so stupid that I can’t believe anyone would do it if they had any idea of the chaos that would follow. Do you really believe that the Bush Administration wanted the occupation to fail? That makes no sense. One of the hallmarks of conservatism these days is that they live in a delusional bubble, ignoring facts in favor of belief. One of my favorite sayings is that none are so blind as those who will not see. That describes neocons and conservatives in the US generally the last couple of decades.

        • Watch “Iraq for Sale” and “No End in Sight” Look I don’t pretend to understand why they might want the invasion to fail. Although so many odd indicators. Sending in too few troops, disbanding the Iraq army, not protecting particular historic and military sites etc in Iraq.

          Many of the cast of characters who were in Iraq soon after the invasion in the documentary “No End in Sight” Sure infer that they may believe the same thing…

  15. Passing of an Age of Lies and the beginning of an age of half truth, like when he arm twisted nations into a coalition, or when his army shocked and awed Saddam or when he embezzled so much money the world over had to bail bankers. Chalabi was nothing but a willing pinch of ingredient in whatever it was they were cooking in white house kitchen. And that is what’s missing in whatever it is the Obama administration is cooking for Syria and it is not for lack of trying, maybe it is just too many cooks.

  16. I am certain my Iraqi relatives would have – at the time and now – described “Chalabi” as very deserving of the name. . .dropping the final “i”. (Remember Iraqi’s pronounce the “k” as “ch”.)

  17. I found this article a great summary of Chalabi’s role in the Iraq war. I didn’t know about the role Colin Powell may have played. One thing I remember back then was reading that someone in the Bush Administration was surprised that Chalabi didn’t become the leader of Iraq. It was just one of dozens of pieces of evidence at the time that the Bush Administration was incompetent.

    I wish you would keep this article up for awhile and then find a place to put a link to the Chalabi article somewhere in the side bar. It summarizes a lot about Bush’s fiasco and is relevant in terms of the coming U.S. elections.

  18. One thing I think could have been included was that the notorious Curveball, who fed lots of false intelligence to US intelligence via Germany, was a Chalabi plant. Chalabi was a snake oil salesman, a fraud, a con man. I normally don’t want to celebrate anyone’s death, but to this I say good riddance.

    • Would have been great to have seen Chalabi (of course Bush and the rest of the war team too) forced to testify or receive the death sentence. Better than a heart attack. Wonder if the murderer left anything in writing?

    • From what I have read the CIA gave plenty of warnings to the Bush administration about Curveball…not to be trusted. Probably a good friend of Michael Ledeens

      • And the Germans gave plenty of warnings to the US, too. I strongly suspect there were those in the Administration who had a strong suspicion, if not outright knowledge, that Curveball was a fake, but he was useful in promoting their false narrative. The fact that Chalabi stooped to such efforts shows just how corrupt he was.

  19. Not the passing of an age of lies, alas, hardly an eye blink in an ongoing process with profound implications for our sense of identity and how we take our bearings in the real world. Many have foreseen and warned of the harm arising from the loss of that shared distinction between truth and lies without which we are blind and deaf in a storm, ever subject to shifting rumour, fears and wild fancies.

  20. Corporate-controlled media continues the unrelenting attack on the American psyche with their constant barrages of malinformation, lies and spin.

    The previous Bush maladministrations used their media co-conspirators very effectively.

    TWO BUSH – THREE WARS, all completely unnecessary, could not have been attained without the corporate-controlled media LIE FACTORIES.

    There is nothing noble in the intent of any of the Bush Wars and the horrific aftermaths. All of the death, destruction and destabilization of entire regions was done at the behest of “others.”

    These “others” are not U.S. citizens, they hold their territories like savages whose behavior we overlook because there are tenuous multi-national interests involved.

    Now media is ramping-up for yet another war at the behest of the same “others.”

    Will our country fall for yet another line of total bu!!$#!† via corporate-controlled media? Who will be the next Ahmad Chalabi?

  21. Chalabi was a useful tool for Cheney/Bush to do what they were intent upon doing anyway. There was no faulty intelligence. It was phony intelligence to fulfill the PNAC’s plan for full spectrum dominance in the M.E.

    • “to fulfill the PNAC’s plan for full spectrum dominance in the M.E.”

      OK! That way we can pretend there is no power residing on the Saudi Peninsula who are not personal friends of the Bush family.

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