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"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." - John Philpot Curran


Chalabi on the Chopping Block

The Bush administration has finally given Ahmed Chalabi the heave-ho. A long-time chum of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, Chalabi enjoyed a position of great influence in Washington and collected about $340,000 from American taxpayers each month to head up the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

That the U.S. government would trust a man convicted of fraud and embezzlement is very telling. Were the left-wing "conservatives" in the administration so desperate to oust Saddam Hussein that they were willing to put their faith in just about anyone?

Chalabi was a key source of information (or, as it turns out, disinformation) when it came to Bush's policy toward Iraq. Chalabi was the one who had us convinced of Saddam's massive stockpiles of WMD. It was because of Chalabi's assurances that Dick Cheney felt comfortable telling Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators" in Iraq.

In light of Chalabi's fall from grace, what's really surprising is that he lasted this long. Does this mark a drastic change in the administration's Iraq policy, or are the neocons simply trying to save face?

Naturally, this latest turn of events gives rise to a number of questions that the Bush administration will want to address before the November elections: Was the "intelligence" we had on Saddam's WMD programs based largely on the word of one man? Could it be that we were duped by a guy with such a thirst for power that he used the U.S. military to remove the one man who stood in his way? Since Chalabi was dumped by the CIA after the U.S.-backed uprising against Saddam failed back in the mid-'90s, is it possible that revenge was his motive for dragging us into another war?

Time will tell. But Chalabi's excommunication may have come too late for the Bush administration to recover.

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