Some names of note in the news.
DEATHS: Ahmad Chalabi, "the man who pushed America to war," as the title of Aram Roston's intriguing biography calls him, has died of a heart attack, age 71.
I read Roston's book several years ago. It makes a strong case that Chalabi was all along conning toute Washington on behalf of masters or confederates or co-religionists in Iran.
Will any obituaries mention, as Andrew Bostom reminded me this morning, that it was Chalabi who accompanied Pied Piper of Nation-Building, Bernard "Bring Them Freedom or They Destroy Us" Lewis, to address the U.S. Defense Policy Board just eight days after 9/11? Policy board chief Richard Perle told the Wall Street Journal they were there to argue for a military takeover of Iraq "to avert still-worse terrorism in the future." Oh, and maybe destroy Iran's main enemy in the region while they're at it.
Not bad access for a possible agent of Iranian influence. Which says what about the gullibility quotient of our "experts," elected officials, and "intelligence" services? In May 2004, a few months after the Journal article appeared, Chalabi's offices in Iraq were raided and he was accused of passing intelligence to Iran and presiding over a pro-Iranian network. Naturally, nothing came of the charges ... but things just weren't the same after that.
The feverish pitch of Iraq war fever in Washington is remote to us now, part of an another eon, although it is little more than a decade ago. I have a memory of being at a think tank in downtown Washington for a lecture of some kind as Chalabi was to arrive for a separate and exclusive meeting. I didn't know his name or anything about him (which marks me, thankfully, as an "outsider"), but I was immediately aware of the excitement and energy that his looming presence created. Who is he? I asked. The next president of Iraq, I was told.
I found an interview Roston gave to Mother Jones (somehow I doubt NR or WS were too keen on the book) in which he discusses Chalabi's long-standing relationship with Iran. Roston says he found no evidence Chalabi was "controlled" by Iran, although he did find evidence he received funding. "Some former intelligence officers who know him well believe he was in part an `agent of influence' for Iran rather than a controlled agent."
Over lunch not too long ago, a former intelligence officer used the exact words to describe his assessment of FDR aide Harry Hopkins, which is the scenario explored in American Betrayal.
All of which is to say, it is a disaster for U.S. officials to be so woefully ignorant of the kinds of "active measures" our enemies seek to employ to subvert and shape our policy-making from within.
CONFESSIONS: George Soros has admitted a role in the Islamic Invasion of Europe, A.E.K.A. (also euphemistically known as) the "migrant crisis." In response to Hungarian Prime Ministers Viktor Orban's accusation that shady billionaire Soros was a leading figure among activists trying to undermine European nations by supporting and enabling the tectonic shift in populations from the Third World into Europe, Soros emailed Bloomberg News, which reported:
Soros said in an e-mailed statement that a six-point plan published by his foundation helps “uphold European values” while Orban’s actions “undermine those values.”
“His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle,” he said in the statement. “Our plan treats the protection of refugees as the objective and national borders as the obstacle.”
This response is striking in several ways. Aside from the sick meglomania, there is also a sense of villainy unbound that is nothing if not cartoonishly evil. In fact, the act of Soros emailing a news organization about his truly diabolical One World plans to destroy the nation-state seems like something out of James Bond. It's like the Bad Guy's penultimate scene of confession, when he thinks it is too late for anyone to stop him, right before he is sucked into a vortex or meets a pyrotechnical end.
Valiant Hungary aside, who is there to save the day?