"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), whose flair for drama has included lugging around a replica of a suitcase-size nuclear bomb, alleges in a new book that Iran is hiding Osama bin Laden, is preparing terrorist attacks against the United States, has a crash program to build an atomic bomb and, as a Shiite country, is the chief sponsor of what is a largely Sunni-directed insurgency in Iraq.
In "Countdown to Terror: The Top-Secret Information that Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America . . . and How the CIA Has Ignored It," Weldon accuses the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and his colleagues on the House and Senate intelligence committees of ignoring his trove of information.
These secrets, he says, come from "an impeccable clandestine source," whom Weldon code-names "Ali," an Iranian exile living in Paris who is a close associate of Manucher Gorbanifar. Gorbanifar is a well-known Iranian exile whom the CIA branded as a fabricator during the 1980s but who was used by the Reagan White House as a middleman for the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran.
Switch Iran for Iraq, and Gorbanifar for Ahmed Chalabi -- an Iraqi exile whose claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were distrusted by the CIA but were embraced by the Defense Department and the White House -- and Weldon's book reads like the conservative argument for the invasion of Iraq.
The article (by Dana Priest, a national treasure) goes on to note that "Weldon ... has become a leading conservative voice on weapons of mass destruction and other defense issues." In other words, Wheldon is a nutjob, but he's an influential nutjob. Similarly, Gorbanifar is a lying weasel, but he's a lying weasel with good connections (for more on Gorbanifar and his toady "Ali," I refer you to Laura Rozen's War and Piece, whence I stole this story).
Marx (who gets little praise these days, having been a Marxist and all) said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce. I don't know about you, but I good use a nice, light-hearted farce - as long as it doesn't involve cruise missiles.