Alex Pareene on the death of Ahmed Chalabi, a con-man who fooled Dick Cheney and his assistant George W. Bush into a wasteful, disastrous, and racist invasion and occupation of a country that had literally nothing to do with 9/11:
“Ahmed Chalabi, a con artist who spent a decade convincing America’s foreign policy establishment to topple a dictator so the Chalabi family could resume extracting their home nation’s wealth, died of a heart attack today, about 15 years too late. If you haven’t read it in a while (or at all), now is a good time to revisit Jane Mayer’s 2004 account of how long and how hard Chalabi worked to make regime change in Iraq the main foreign policy priority of a bunch of deeply stupid but powerful people, who grew to believe, despite of the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, that the deeply unscrupulous exile could be a credible leader of a secular and democratic Iraq.”
The failed occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t just failures on a mammoth scale. They also made a lot of small-time goons and gangsters and grifters incredibly rich. As tragic as both of these occupations were for both the local occupation and the U.S. troops given the impossible task of “Nation Building,” they can never be understood purely as such. It was also comedy — farce — of the highest order. Chalabi would be a middling second-tier gangster in any good Scorsese film, and the United States bent over backwards to load his pockets with cash.
Meanwhile, anybody even raising the smallest criticism of US policy between 2003 and 2006 or so was asked, with the straightest of faces, “Why do you hate America?”