- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi politician and onetime neo-con heartthrob, has always struck me as smooth as silk but also kind of nutty, especially in his glib assertions of the improbable. His latest ploy may play better in the Arab world than here in the U.S.: He is asserting a bit murkily that President Bush somehow was in cahoots against Iraq with the axis-of-evil ayatollahs:
[Al-Hayat]: If you want to describe George Bush, then how would you describe him?
[Chalabi]: A man with very little skill and knowledge.
[Al-Hayat]: He did Iran a great service by toppling Saddam?
[Chalabi]: Iran benefited from toppling Saddam. Bush didn’t mean to do it a favor but it was clear that Iran would benefit from Saddam’s fall. I am convinced that Saddam would not have fallen except for an implicit agreement between America and Iran.
[Al-Hayat]: This happened?
[Chalabi]: Yes, of course it did.”
I’d like to know more about what Chalabi thinks that implicit understanding was, but he didn’t elaborate. I also wonder if he ever bothered to mention to his American sponsors his view that toppling Saddam would benefit Iran.
By the way, I don’t think we’ve ever found out who at the White House had the bright idea of seating Chalabi behind Laura Bush at the 2004 State of the Union Address.
STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.| Daniel W. Drezner |