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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Iraq through the looking glass 

Gilliard has an interesting take here.
He writes that "Ahmed Chalabi has managed to influence the most powerful people in the US government to, essentially, boost Iran's fortunes in the world . . . Chalabi's feat in getting the US to attack Iraq and then help it fail at this task is likely as much espionage as anything else."
In other words, Iran worked through Chalabi to get the US to take out Saddam and then to make sure the US got bogged down fighting a guerilla war.
It just goes to prove the saying "those who live by the sword will die by the sword."
Now, the one thing I am uncertain about is whether anyone could have predicted that the US would get so bogged down in Iraq. It was their stupid decisions in the early days of the war which caused their problems now.
But a large number of those bad decisions can be traced back directly to Chalabi. It was Chalabi who told them they would be greeted with flowers so they didn't send enough troops, and it was Chalabi who said he could run the country right away so they didn't plan for an Iraqi government, and it was Chalabi who wanted the Iraq army disbanded, etc etc.
And there is one image of Iran's calculated, strategic ruthlessness that I cannot get out of my head: Robert X. Cringely's description of Iran sending thousands of its children to be shot to pieces by Iraqi guns during the Iran-Iraq war, just to prove Iran's own moral superiority.
I eventually finished the piece and decided to go see the war since I had been in Beirut and Angola, but had never seen trench warfare, which is what I was told they had going in Iran. So I took a taxi to the front, introduced myself to the local commander, who had gone, as I recall, to Iowa State, and spent a couple days waiting for the impending human wave attack.
That attack was to be conducted primarily with 11-and 12-year-old boys as troops, nearly all of them unarmed. There were several thousand kids and their job was to rise out of the trench, praising Allah, run across No Man's Land, be killed by the Iraqi machine gunners, then go directly to Paradise, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 dinars.
And that's exactly what happened in a battle lasting less than 10 minutes. None of the kids fired a shot or made it all the way to the other side. And when I asked the purpose of this exercise, I was told it was to demoralize the cowardly Iraqi soldiers.
It was the most horrific event I have ever seen, and I once covered a cholera epidemic in Bangladesh that killed 40,000 people.
Waiting those two nights for the attack was surreal. Some kids acted as though nothing was wrong while others cried and puked. But when the time came to praise Allah and enter Paradise, not a single boy tried to stay behind . . . Welcome to the New Morality.

So yes, perhaps it could be all just one big espionage plot -- a Middle Eastern version of The Looking Glass War, with Iran as the Circus and Chalabi as Control, and the entire US military as the bungling, amateurish, egotistical Department, tricked by the Circus into crushing and deadly failure.

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