Some people, the naysayers of the Iraq "police action," call it "Bush's War." But based on what I've read, I think we might call it "Chalabi's War."
No one did more to get us into the quagmire than our Iraqi poster boy, Ahmed Chalabi. After he fed the administration and the Pentagon false information about weapons of mass destruction and assured us how peaceful the Iraqis would be after we freed the country, we decided it was time to save the Middle East.
Until recently, the hawks took Chalabi's word for everything.
I spoke to my Pentagon source, a member of the neoconservative hard hats, after Chalabi was defrocked by the media.
"Is Chalabi a good guy or a bad guy?"
"That's not the question. He was our guy."
"They said he was a spy for Iran."
"The only ones who said it were the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency. That doesn't mean it was so."
"But we supported him," I said, "because he promised to tell us where the weapons of mass destruction were."
"Chalabi had his fingers crossed," my Pentagon source replied.
"Why did he sit with Mrs. Bush during the State of the Union speech?"
"It was the only empty seat left in the balcony."
"The CIA said he was feeding the White House false information on the political situation after the invasion."
"He was just telling them what they wanted to hear. Wolfowitz and Cheney trusted him."
I said, "Did they trust him because he dressed in Savile Row suits or because he spoke perfect English?"
"Can we talk about his leaking U.S. secrets to the Iranians?"
"He denies it and thinks we should find the drunken American official who told him the United States already knew all of Iran's secrets."
"I read somewhere that he could have been a double agent, working for both us and Tehran."
My Pentagon leaker replied: "That's the neocon story and we're sticking to it. Look, this is not a war between good and evil, it is a war between people who think Bush is doing a good job and traitors who want us to get out."
"What are the neocons' plans for Chalabi?"
"We would love him to become president of a new Iraq so we can put him on the payroll again."
"I think that's what he had in mind all along," I said. "Is it possible that Chalabi, whom we considered our friend, is mad at us and is now calling us names?"
"It is the only political thing for him to do. His friends in the Pentagon don't take him seriously. Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never harm us -- unless you are Colin Powell."
"I like your philosophy. Do you think the neocons will get us into another war?"
"We'd do it if we had the troops, but we won't use Chalabi again."
"He has lost his eclat. We have to find another hero the country will believe in."
"What if Chalabi wins the Nobel Peace Prize?"
"That would be nice. If he did, we'd put him on 'Survivor.' "
(c) 2004, Tribune Media Services