Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Fears that Iran duped hawks

Well, this was certainly predictable:

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.

Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.
While it is important to get to the bottom of just what role Iran played in shaping the intelligence Chalabi passed off to the US, just as it's equally important to figure out what role Israel played (something very few in the US seem interested in), I worry that this investigation will distort the narrative of the Iraq war more than clarify it.

To reiterate: Chalabi didn't con the Bush administration into war. Iraq was in the cross hairs all along, and the Bush administration used Chalabi because he was telling them what they wanted to hear. Of course, Chalabi was using the Bush administration too, but that was something I think everyone in the Defense Department understood and, in most cases, welcomed.

I can't stress how important it is to not lose this point amidst whatever material comes out about Iran's involvement in the Iraq mess, particularly since the proponents of the war would just love it if their role in the march to Baghdad gets lost in the rubble of bureaucratic details.