Ahmed Chalabi, that is. Well, he’s supposed to be bad and he’s obviously back. According to David Frum (and others), Chalabi is one of the two frontrunners for Iraqi PM and by far the most secular and sympathetic to the US. This is all despite the countless attacks on Chalabi by the CIA and others, none of which have seemed to be able to stick. Why? Frum has the “Machiavellian Man on the Iraqi Street” explanation:
There’s a theory in Iraq – it sometimes get picked up on English-language Internet sites as well – that the whole CIA-Chalabi quarrel is a clever American ploy to make the US guy look like an Iraqi nationalist. If only the US government were that cunning and that capable!
Well, maybe the Mossad. But I would agree with Frum that the CIA as we know it has never shown this kind of subtlety. Of course, that’s only “as we know it”,” so they may on occasion have risen to the occasion, but good ol’ Occam’s Razor seems to be at play here. The CIA despised Chalabi because the Pentagon liked him (or some of the Pentagon anyway). It’s our own blood sport at play here, mixed in the real blood of others.
I don’t know what to make of all this. Chalabi’s certainly a smart man, not just because of his mathematics PhD from the Univ. of Chicago (something I can’t imagine even one percent of our politicians being able to hack). But the stench of corruption is always around him. Of course, the stench of corruption is around virtually every politician in the Arab Middle East. And I don’t think when the dust settles, if it ever does, he will be seen as anywhere near as corrupt as major players in the UN and their Oil-for-Food enablers. Of course, OFF is a big part of the equation here. There’s a lot buried under those berms.