Juan Cole reports that the U.S. was planning to turn Iraq over to an Iranian agent:
I have it from insiders that in April, 2003, Jay Garner let it slip to some of his staff that his charge was to turn Iraq over to Ahmad Chalabi within six months. The staffers were shocked and some contacted the State Department to see if this was known there. It was not. So they blew the whistle on Bush with Colin Powell. I was told that Powell then made a coalition with Tony Blair and that the two of them went to Bush and got him to change his mind.
The plan to put Chalabi in charge of Iraq was frankly idiotic. Chalabi had no grass roots. He was the one who had the bright idea to throw thousands of ex-Baathists into unemployment (which encouraged them to join the guerrilla resistance). It later came out that some of the Neoconservatives in the Pentagon had let it slip to him that the US had broken the Iranian diplomatic codes. Chalabi is chummy with Tehran and let his friends among the Ayatollahs know this tidbit. As a result, the US can no longer closely track the Iranian nuclear program.
This is the man to whom Bush– and I underline Bush– was planning originally just to hand Iraq over. An Iranian asset.
Meanwhile, Bush wouldn’t think of calling Chalabi’s cousin anything but a “brave leader”:
That’s how Bush judges Allawi’s assurances: not by evidence, but by character. Never mind that Allawi’s rosy speech didn’t match his own statements back home, much less independent reports from Iraq. Never mind that according to administration officials interviewed by the Washington Post, Allawi “was coached and aided by the U.S. government” and by “a representative of President Bush’s reelection campaign.” Any suggestion that Allawi spun Congress or was coached must be dismissed, because these suggestions besmirch a brave leader.