I had promised myself


I had promised myself: no more posts until tomorrow. But for this article (“How Ahmed Chalabi conned the neocons“) out tonight in Salon I will make an exception.

This is one of those ‘where to start’ articles.

Let’s start here. “Ahmed Chalabi is a treacherous, spineless turncoat. He had one set of friends before he was in power, and now he’s got another … He said he would end Iraq’s boycott of trade with Israel, and would allow Israeli companies to do business there. He said [the new Iraqi government] would agree to rebuild the pipeline from Mosul [in the northern Iraqi oil fields] to Haifa [the Israeli port, and the location of a major refinery].”

Who said that?

That would be Marc Zell, frequent target of TPM barbs, former law partner of Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, and the guy who went into business just after the war with Chalabi’s nephew Salem “Sam” Chalabi.

So apparently all is not well at Regime Change Ranch.

The broad outlines of this story — Chalabi ditching his neocon friends for the Iranian mullahs — have been clear for some time. But here it is in all its lurid detail. And though one can dispute this or that point of author John Dizard’s interpretations — I would dispute a few of them — he’s got neocons on the record dumping on Chalabi and the members of the Chalabi clan dumping on them.

And those quotations just aren’t open to interpretation.

The upshot of the piece is that Chalabi’s neocon supporters are beginning to realize that he is every bit the huckster and fraud that his most unyielding enemies at State and CIA said he was. He lured them in with all manner of improbable claims about the pain-free peace he’d make with Israel, how he’d upend Arab nationalism and generally make all the intractable conundrums of the region disappear.

In the popular political imagination we’re familiar with the neocons as conniving militarists, masters of intrigue and cabals, graspers for the oil supplies of the world, and all the rest. But here we have them in what I suspect is the truest light: as college kid rubes who head out for a weekend in Vegas, get scammed out of their money by a two-bit hustler on the first night and then get played for fools by a couple hookers who leave them naked and handcuffed to their hotel beds.

And just think, it’s on your dime and with your nation’s honor — what an added benefit.

I don’t mean to accuse the whole group that is sometimes classed under that label. Some are serious wrestlers with our nation’s dilemmas and challenges. But for the most venal and gullible of them, which, truth be told, makes up the larger part, it’s an apt description.

Read the article and you’ll understand what I mean.