Sunday, May 23, 2004
So the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that Chalabi's INC is and has always been a front group for Iran's intelligence apparatus. Here's the money quote from an unnamed intelligence insider via Newsday:
Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program (ICP) information to provoke the United Sates into getting rid of Saddam Hussein ... [The ICP also] kept the Iranians informed about what we were doing.
There is an odd and somewhat amusing symmetry at work here. Often in the comments of this blog and elsewhere in the blogosphere, a Bush supporter attempts to justify the current Iraq fiasco by citing the horror and scale of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein, saying "He gassed his own people" or "He practiced genocidal ethnic cleansing against the Kurds". Such statements are, of course, perfectly true but they neglect to mention an important detail. When Saddam Hussein committed these atrocities he was considered a valuable asset of the United States; Iraq was a US client state. The "genocide against the Kurds" refers to Hussein's Anfal campaign which took place in 1988 and was not denounced by the United States at the time. Hussein "gassed his own people" in the context of the above campaign in an attack against Iranian invaders in the town of Halabja during the Iran-Iraq War. Actually there is some dispute whether it was Iran or Iraq that used the chemical weapons. In any case, it is a fact that at the time Saddam Hussein was receiving intelligence aid from the US, among other more tangible gifts; as a NYT piece asserted, for example: "A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program."
Anyway, what does this have to do with Chalabi? Well, why was the US supporting the Beast of Baghdad in the eighties? Because the boogey-man of the moment back then was Iran. The US was using Iraq as a proxy to attack Iran.
During the run up to the Iraq invasion Chomsky managed to get a pretty funny (for Chomsky) satire piece into the New York Times dealing with this forgotten fact. Chomsky's "A Modest Proposal" suggested that rather than invading Iraq the US should compel Iran to attack Iraq, afterall there was already a precedent:
One simple plan seems to have been ignored, perhaps because it would be regarded as insane, and rightly so. But it is instructive to ask why.
The modest proposal is for the United States to encourage Iran to invade Iraq, providing the Iranians with the necessary logistical and military support, from a safe distance (missiles, bombs, bases, etc.).
As a proxy, one pole of "the axis of evil" would take on another.
The proposal has many advantages over the alternatives.
First, Saddam will be overthrown -- in fact, torn to shreds along with anyone close to him. His weapons of mass destruction will also be destroyed, along with the means to produce them.
Second, there will be no American casualties. True, many Iraqis and Iranians will die. But that can hardly be a concern. The Bush circles -- many of them recycled Reaganites -- strongly supported Saddam after he attacked Iran in 1980, quite oblivious to the enormous human cost, either then or under the subsequent sanctions regime.
Given that sources closely linked to the current administration are now admitting that Chalabi and the INC were acting on behalf of Iran, one wonders if Chomsky's "modest proposal" was actually carried out -- in reverse. Iran used the United States as a proxy to attack Iraq and unseat Saddam Hussein. The action was extremely successful. Given the country's current instability, the only sort of Iraqi government with a chance of lasting more than a few seconds is a government that is dominated by Iraq's Shia majority -- installing such a government will be a big win for Iran.
The war in Iraq is over. The United States lost, and Iran won.