December 11, 2004

Ahmad Chalabi

"The Neocon's Man in Iraq:" I finally put up my never-before-online July 5, 2004 American Conservative article about why the neocons fell so disastrously in love with Ahmed Chalabi.

One of the many conundrums revolving around Ahmed Chalabi, that International Man of Mystery, is why so many neoconservatives took seriously his assertions that he was devoted to democracy. In the Wall Street Journal, for example, Seth Lipsky extolled the convicted embezzler as a "democratic visionary." Why did it never occur to them that Chalabi might simply be blowing smoke? More broadly, why hadn't it dawned upon the neocons that their obsession with this kind of ideological declaration is outdated?

Hadn't liberals been embarrassed by megalomaniacal Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutionaries who orated passionately about democracy while they were hiding in the hills, but once in power quickly came to feel: "Hey, we didn't spend all those years in the jungle living on fried iguanas just to be voted out in some maricon election." Hadn't conservatives been burned by the thuggish Jonas Savimbi, the Angolan rebel who said all the right things about elections and free enterprise, but whose murderous behavior seemed to be based on the personal philosophy that: "I am the biggest Big Man, and therefore anyone who gets in the way deserves to step on one of my landmines."

Last February, an Oxford Research survey found that only 0.2 percent of Iraqis consider Chalabi the "leader they trust the most." Yet, the neocons long assumed that a majority in Iraq would vote for a man on the lam from a sentence of 22 years in neighboring Jordan for fraud in the collapse of the Chalabi family's Petra Bank. While the assembled intellects at the American Enterprise Institute might buy Chalabi's rationalization that Saddam framed him, what mattered is that the common people in Jordan, some of whom lost their life savings, didn't. From Jordan, Chalabi's reputation as "Ahmed-the-Thief" filtered into Iraq.

What does Chalabi really want? The simplest guess is that he wants what too many ambitious Iraqis want these days: to be a trillionaire. [More...]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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