We’re regularly told that we should be looking into the background of a presidential candidates key advisors. And in the on-going contretemps over who’s got the best judgment and experience on Iraq, John McCain voice and brain is Randy Scheunemann. Look at the key statements from the campaign, the enunciations of policy and so forth and you’ll see they’re almost all statements from him. So who is it that’s speaking for John McCain on Iraq and shaping his views of what our policy there should be?
It comes as no surprise that Scheunemann was a staunch supporter of the war. But he was much more that. He was not only a key behind-the-scenes promoter and architect of the war. He also had a troublingly close relationship with Ahmad Chalabi — the Iraqi exile we now know fed the US reams of bogus intelligence about phantom WMD and ties to al Qaeda and allegedly also shared highly classified US intelligence with the Iranians. Indeed, something I didn’t realize, back when he and other neoconservatives were cooking up the Iraq War in 2002, Scheunemann’s lobbying firm, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which he set up with the White House’s blessing to gin up support for the Iraq War and Chalabi’s handler/spokesman Francis Brooke all shared an address. Almost as if they were different arms of the same operation.
And it’s not just what happened before the war. He was also a big time advocate of most of the biggest policy screw ups of the post-war period — like the aggressive ‘debaathification’ program that everyone now realizes was a disaster as well as the decision to freeze the UN out of any role in the reconstruction of the country.
All of this information is contained in Zachary Roth’s first installment of his reporting on Scheunemann. John McCain is basing his campaign now on his judgment and experience on Iraq. So why is he still taking the advice of the guy who was the conduit between him and Ahmad Chalabi an who has been wrong about Iraq so many times?
McCain’s whole campaign now is based on his judgment on Iraq. So why aren’t the campaign reporters telling you more about his top foreign policy advisor’s iffy past?