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Juan Cole
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Diverting attention, away, away

You gotta love the management of news-issues and debate-framing by the White House. Distract people from Katrina and the price of oil & petrol, distract them from Rove, Libby and DeLay and then divert them from all that Plame implies, then obfuscate on torture, Iraq, health care, and maybe heap a little blame on false WMDs with the Democrats, as though they're complicit in this illicit war, or unpatriotic in the very least... and in the meantime all the telling but smaller-scale stories of absolute significance get brushed aside like autumn foliage. Obfuscation and issue-management provide the best cover for spin. Take the Chalabi Tour. He got a bit of gladhanding press-coverage when he went to Washington recently, and the administration pundits all agreed he's a top bloke who gets stuff done; but he's also a convicted felon and highly suspicious fraudster whose information is always informed by personal politics; and yet, hard on the heels of his visit to Iran, not many analysts that I've seen are putting two and two together on the nature and possible narrative content (from Iraq to Iran to America) of his visit. Is he building a new case for war, or selling his Iran-line for whatever reason, or simply having lunch with his NeoCon pals..?

Anyway, I've gathered together some quotes through Google News, in what could be construed as quoting out of context, but I think the words say plenty already.
Washington Post
Ask about Chalabi among members of the administration, and off the record there is general agreement. "Very astute fellow," says one very high government official. "Extremely bright and competent," says a senior military man.

Chalabi says the administration knows "how little we influenced the decision."[to go to war over unreal WMD]
Myrtle Beach Online
"We are heroes in error," Chalabi proclaimed at a time when the post-invasion chaos had long since evolved into full-fledged, murderous insurgency. "As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."
Time (via Egypt)
DID YOU MAKE ANY SPECIFIC REQUESTS [to the Americans]? We put forward the idea that Iraq should buy American weapons. It will go a long way toward raising the morale of Iraqi troops and giving them something serious to work with. We discussed Syria and how we stop infiltration from Syria by getting the Syrian government to act responsibly.

WHY SHOULD IRAQIS TRUST YOU TO BE PRIME MINISTER WHEN YOU'VE BEEN CONVICTED OF FRAUD IN A JORDANIAN MILITARY COURT? Because they know that this is a false charge. And they also know the record of Jordan being the hub of corruption on the basis of Saddam's illicit dealings.

DO YOU THINK THE U.S. SHOULD SEND MORE TROOPS TO IRAQ, AS SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN PROPOSES? I think more troops in Iraq would make more casualties and would contribute very little to improving the security situation. I think the way to go forward is to arm the Iraqi army in a way that it can deal with the insurgency and the violence in a more professional way. The most important thing to do is revamp the intelligence collection. [That's beautiful, that is]
Petroleum World
According to senior associates of the Iraqi official, who have accompanied him to meetings with Bush administration officials, Mr. Chalabi has been threatening his friends in the Bush administration that if they do not support his candidacy to become the next prime minister of Iraq that there will be no way to contain Iran. He has told them in no uncertain terms that he is the only one who can make the Iranians behave.

"If Iran and Venezuela decided to team up and squeeze the United States, Uncle Sam might have to scream uncle," explained one of Chalabi’s friends.
Al Mendhar
What is more surprising is Al Chalabi's boasting of obtaining the approval of Tehran for occupying the position of Iraqi Prime Minister. After meeting with the Iranian leaders, Al Chalabi said in an interview with the New York Times newspaper that the Iranians promised him that they would not fail him or oppose him in case he attempted to become an Iraqi Prime Minister.
The New York Sun
"The Syrians are guilty," Mr. Chalabi said. "Foreign fighters are traveling through Syria to Iraq." He said Syria was providing both a "transit route" and a "safe haven" to the foreign fighters, and he said he hoped that would stop.

Mr. Chalabi also reflected on seeing Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi dictator's capture. He said he felt "sadness for the people of Iraq that this idiot ran their affairs for all this time." [This from Chalabi, mind you]
Now... I'm no wizz at spotting credible sources from the Middle East and MSMedia, but I thought it nice to do a bit of standard blog-mongering and stitch a narrative together, before the story becomes just another stale fact in the miserable war on conscience and truth.

posted by rino breebaart  # 9:22 pm
There is, of course, the possibility that even these quotes are part of the fabric of spin.
>>>While Chalabi was received rapturously by hard-line neo-conservatives at the American Enterprise Institute, who did so much to champion his efforts to bring U.S. troops to Iraq, it now appears that his official reception here by senior administration officials, including Rice, national security adviser Stephen Hadley, and Vice President Dick Cheney, was linked to his perceived usefulness in extricating those troops from a political quagmire -- and, more specifically, gaining Tehran's cooperation in doing so.

"Perhaps that's why he was given such a good reception," noted Cole.<<<

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