Joel Mowbray

To appreciate the alternate universe populated by our federal government, consider the supposed matter of national security involving an Iraqi leader and now suggestions of a possible role played by his supporters in the Bush administration.

Last week, longtime U.S. ally and Saddam enemy Ahmed Chalabi was splashed across news headlines all over the country, accused of being a spy for ?axis of evil? member Iran while serving on the Iraqi Governing Council.  The public line was that there was ?rock solid? evidence?as CBS News paraphrased ?government officials??that Chalabi had betrayed the U.S. in order to help the Iranian mullahs.

But much of what is being hurled at Chalabi can probably be explained away by old grudges, not just against him, but also against the strongest supporters for the Iraq war inside the administration.

Back in the mid-1990?s, Chalabi and his group, the Iraqi National Congress, were still on speaking terms with the Central Intelligence Agency.  When a coup attempt was being cooked up against Saddam, Chalabi warned the CIA that it would fail.  It did, and Chalabi was not bashful about defending his prediction-slash-warning. 

He has been deemed an enemy of the CIA ever since.

The administration hawks are just as hated, though for different reasons (explained below).  The New York Times on Monday ran a story, seemingly based solely on ?intelligence officials,? with the headline: ?U.S. Steps Up Hunt in Leaks to Iraqi Exile.? 

The ?news? in the Times piece was that ?intelligence officials? (read: CIA) are investigating ?a handful of officials in Washington and Iraq who dealt regularly with Mr. Chalabi.?  Who are these potential traitors?  Well, according to the Times, ?Most of them are at the Pentagon.?

Also being publicly assailed on Monday?this time by the Washington Post?was Richard Perle, the former head of the Defense Policy Board and a leading advocate of the Iraq war.  Buried in the hit piece was a brief mention that Perle had been cleared of ethics violations last fall.

Why all this animosity?

As many people with a passing knowledge of Washington affairs have noticed, there is a perceived schism between the positions of the Departments of State and Defense. 

If only it were that easy.

There are two main worldviews: one that worships at the altar of stability, and the other holds that the U.S. should use force when necessary, but more often should employ tough diplomacy in order to push countries into reforming toward freedom.

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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