Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi politician and onetime neo-con heartthrob, has always struck me as smooth as silk but also kind of nutty, especially in his glib assertions of the improbable. His latest ploy may play better in the Arab world than here in the U.S.: He is asserting a bit murkily that President Bush somehow was in cahoots against Iraq with the axis-of-evil ayatollahs:
[Al-Hayat]: If you want to describe George Bush, then how would you describe him?
[Chalabi]: A man with very little skill and knowledge.
[Al-Hayat]: He did Iran a great service by toppling Saddam?
[Chalabi]: Iran benefited from toppling Saddam. Bush didn't mean to do it a favor but it was clear that Iran would benefit from Saddam's fall. I am convinced that Saddam would not have fallen except for an implicit agreement between America and Iran.
[Al-Hayat]: This happened?
[Chalabi]: Yes, of course it did."
I'd like to know more about what Chalabi thinks that implicit understanding was, but he didn't elaborate. I also wonder if he ever bothered to mention to his American sponsors his view that toppling Saddam would benefit Iran.
By the way, I don't think we've ever found out who at the White House had the bright idea of seating Chalabi behind Laura Bush at the 2004 State of the Union Address.
STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.