Thursday, May 22, 2003

Well, people like me who painted Ahmed Chalabi as an American puppet in waiting may have to eat their words. Chalabi, you'll recall, is the Iraqi exile "leader" and convicted embezzler who spent almost all his time over the past decade lobbying Western governments as head of the soi-disant Iraqi National Congress -- and was flown into Iraq by the American military. But it seems even he is getting a little fed up with the Americans:

"Do you realize that what you are giving the Iraqi interim authority in 2003 is far less than you gave the Iraqi government when you occupied Iraq in 1920?" he said, adding, "You have done this before."

Mr. Chalabi asserted that when the Ottoman Empire fell after World War I, Britain formed a new Iraqi government and signed a treaty that effectively extended British dominion in the country, while establishing autonomy for the Iraqis who lived in the loose federation of Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra.

Of course, Chalabi does have some idea which Iraqis the US should put in charge:

"We are your best friends here," Mr. Chalabi said. "We want to work with you" and want allied forces to "stay a long time" until the country can stand on its own feet economically and militarily.

These quotes come from the end of a long article on the protests led by other Iraqi leaders -- the ones with actual Iraqi followers -- against the American occupation, and the way it is bungling the business of government. And which, strangely, makes absolutely no mention, not even in passing, of Chalabi's ties to the American neocons who kicked off the war in the first place.

(Via Jeanne D'arc. It's one of several pieces she cites to point out that we're blowing it in Iraq, while wondering out loud what kind of country it is where a distinguished journalist, Chris Hedges is nearly shouted down at a college commencement for daring to say the obvious -- that we're blowing it. In connection with that, see also The Slacktivist, on the cosmic significance which all too many Americans see in this squalid little war -- and three posts on Instapundit supporting the louts. And for what's really motivating Dubya's crew, see Jim Henley, who points out how Iraq's oil industry is being run to serve American, not Iraqi interests -- we're even refusing to order replacement parts from the original manufacturers of their drilling equipment because they're located in the wrong countries, like China, Russia, or worst of all, France).


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