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Gang of Fools

"I'm a spook. I appreciate good work. This was good work..." -- Patrick Lang, in Newsday

Cory Doctorow notes at BoingBoing (courtesy Making Light) that Ahmed Chalabi was a puppet of Iran [daypop link | daypop cites]:

"Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents.

So, let's make sure we understand this: We went to war in Iraq based largely on intelligence provided by an agent of a foreign power.

Conspiracy theories will abound, of course -- we can expect them to proliferate like mushrooms on a wet summer morning. A few I can anticipate:

  • It's a plant by the Chickenhawks to pass the buck to Chalabi. (Counter: But why were they stupid enough to fall for it?)
  • It's a plant by the CIA to pass the buck to the Chickenhawks. (Counter: But why didn't they know?)
  • It's a plant by the military establishment to pass the buck to the Chickenhawks and the CIA. (This one could gain some traction. I don't know from DIA, but it looks like they might have stronger ties to the "uniformed Pentagon" than to the Chickenhawks.)
  • It's all a conspiracy by the liberal media to destroy freedom.

For the record (and to not be a rhetorical bet-hedger like Christopher Hitchens), I think the story is probably pretty much as Newsday shows it: We got out-smarted by a bunch of guys with darker skins than us who worship in ways we're not comfortable with. Like any good con man, they played us -- well, they played the Rummy-Perle-Wolfie crowd. They recognized that zealots will believe anything that supports their desires.

In a nutshell: We got suckered.

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