Saturday, February 21, 2004
::: Bush's Foreign Policy Dream Team Duped :::
::::::: Ahmad Chalabi Conned The NeoCons ::::::
Learn how Dick Cheney's Secret Service name "Backseat" got him into the
front seat in Maureen Dowd's piece in the N.Y Times, The Thief of Baghdad.
Personally I would have thought the name HindEnd would suit him better, but
hey, the White House does not usually check with me on the things.
In the Ford White House, Dick Cheney's Secret Service name was Backseat, because he was the model of an unobtrusive staffer, the perfect unflashy deputy chief of staff for that lord of the bureaucratic dance, Donald Rumsfeld.
As James Mann writes in his new book, "The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet," Mr. Cheney started out supervising such lowly matters as fixing a stopped-up drain in a White House bathroom sink; getting a headrest for Betty Ford's helicopter seat; and sorting out which salt shakers -- the regular ones or, as he put it, the "little dishes of salt with funny little spoons" -- would be best for stag dinners in the president's private quarters.
Rummy's alter ego rose quickly, though, because he seemed to have no ego. Good old Dick could be counted on to be the man behind the man, a butler to power. The new President Bush, a tabula rasa in foreign affairs, put himself in Mr. Cheney's hands.
But W. had barely settled into the Oval when Backseat clambered into the front seat. Retracing the rush to war, the names Cheney and Chalabi are entwined in bold relief.
After 9/11, his passionate desire to take out Saddam coincided with that of conservatives. All they needed for their belli was a casus, so Mr. Chalabi obligingly conned the neocons.
He hoodwinked his pals Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle into believing Iraq would be a flowery cakewalk to democracy.
A wily expert in the politics of the bazaar, he knew he had to sell his scheme on what was good for Americans and their security. He was happy to funnel information to the vice president that painted a picture of Saddam hunkered on a hair-raising stockpile of W.M.D. His group, the Iraqi National Congress, tried to spin our government and media through its "information collection program." Intelligence officials now say that the prewar information provided to Washington by this group was suspect and useless, even disinformation.
But here's the wild thing: the propaganda program was underwritten by U.S. government funds. So Americans paid Ahmad Chalabi to gull them into a war that is costing them a billion a week -- and a precious human cost. Cops dealing with their snitches check out the information better than the Bush administration did.
Mr. Chalabi's seances swayed the political set, the intelligence set and the journalistic set. In an effect Senator Bob Graham dubs "incestuous amplification," the bogus stories spewed by Iraqi exiles and defectors ricocheted through an echo chamber of government and media, making it sound as if multiple, reliable sources were corroborating the same story. Rather, one self-interested source was replicating like computer spam.
In case anyone forgot: Dowd says: Dump Cheney Now