Thursday, April 16, 2009

The stupidest neocon of them all

Via a commenter at Tom Ricks's blog ("bourbonandlawndarts," which I misread as "bourbon and law and arts," which is me I guess), Robert Baer provides another anecdote on Douglas "Stupidest Fucking Guy on the Planet" Feith. Baer is chatting with Feith in summer 2000, when Feith feels confident of some job or other in the potential Bush administration:
... as we sat at opposite ends of the couch in his office, Feith wanted to talk about Iraq, not Iran. Could the Iraqi exiles overthrow Saddam Hussein? Or more to the point, did Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress stand a chance of getting rid of them? Feith thought that Chalabi could, given a little help.

Listening to Feith, I wondered why he wasn't more skeptical of Chalabi, a lifelong exile who hadn't seen Baghdad since he was a child. More to the point, I wondered why Feith wasn't more suspicious about Chalabi's ties to Iran. In the nineties, Chalabi had traveled through Tehran to get into Kurdish northern Iraq. He also had unexplained ties to Iran's hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, one reason the Clinton administration dropped contact with him.

I pointed this out to Feith, telling how in 1994 and 1995, Chalabi had turned over Iraqi National Congress houses and cars to Iranian intelligence, which then used them to stage the assassinations of Iranian dissidents living in the part of Iraq Saddam controlled. Didn't this sound suspicious to Feith? And that wasn't to mention Iran's long-term interests in Iraq, with or without Chalabi. I wondered why Feith couldn't draw the obvious parallels between Iraq and Lebanon, which Iran was then effectively annexing.

The longer Feith didnt respond, the more I wondered whether he thought I was making all this up, trying for some inexplicable reason to undermine Chalabi. I told Feith that if George Bush won the presidency, he'd be in a position to confirm everything I'd just told him.

At that Feith stood abruptly and thanked me for my visit.

Ahmed Chalabi will be a wonderful leader of Iraq,” he said firmly, before showing me out and closing the door behind me.
I would like to think that no one can be this stupid, and that corruption is a better explanation; but then I remember, this is Doug Feith.

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