Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Under the heading "Still Our Man in Baghdad", the May 3 issue of The New Republic says that an ABC News poll:

contained the startling finding that Ahmed Chalabi, much beloved by the Defense Department and the vice president's office, is far and away the most distrusted politician in Iraq. Ten percent of Iraqis said they didn't trust Chalabi "at all"; only 3 percent said the same of SADDAM HUSSEIN. Nevertheless, Chalabi's neoconservative allies still cling to his Iraqi National Congress (INC) as the key to success in Iraq's democratic experiment, and the Bush administration seems to be pulling out all stops to ensure that the returned expatriate and his party are extremely well-positioned in the coming days.

The United States has given Chalabi:

*a treasure trove of files on Baathist figures--useful for blackmail

*$4 million for "intelligence"--we know from experience how reliable that's likely to be

*contracts for reconstructing Iraq

*the right to try Saddam Hussein

But, for all this support, what might we get? A government helmed by a political figure apparently so distrusted that it's doubtful he'll survive absent sizeable and sustained backing by the U.S. military. Is that what we want for ourselves--and for Iraq?

As I've said before, the Bushies have an infallible instinct for doing the wrong thing.


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