In the "No Shit, Sherlock" Dept t…

Item #1:

From the Boston Globe:

The interim Iraqi government, set up by the United States to advise its senior administrator in Baghdad, has surprised Washington recently with a series of increasingly contentious positions as it presses for self-rule, from a push for sweeping economic changes to a move toward normalizing trade relations with Syria and Iran, countries branded by US officials as exporters of terrorism.

Oops. What have we here? Insubordination? Rebellion in the ranks? The Governing Council wants to govern? How dare they….

The rapid push for self-rule, led by Achmed Chalabi, a prominent dissident during Saddam Hussein’s rule who is now the council’s president, is the latest sign that the 25-member panel is growing more independent-minded and could disrupt the work of L. Paul Bremer III, the top US civilian official in Iraq.

Comments Chalabi made before this week’s opening session of the UN General Assembly in New York followed other declarations by the council in recent weeks that challenge Bremer’s desire for gradual political development and economic change.

As mentioned previously on this blog, Achmed Chalabi, embezzler and master manipulator, the man who’s had Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz wrapped around his little finger since before the First Gulf War, has always had his own agenda. He has displayed real genius in the way he fed the Neocon Boys exactly what they wanted to hear while managing to keep his true goal–getting the Boys to install him as Iraq’s new ruler–under his hat, at least publicly.

Unfortunately, Paul Bremer wasn’t a member of the Holy Circle early on and apparently missed the memo, so when the dust of occupation settled, Chalabi, much to his chagrin, found himself not Iraq’s newest American-backed dictator but just another member of the Iraqi Governing Council. IOW, one of 2 dozen–not exactly the prominence of position he expected.

But you can’t keep a good man down. Chalabi, like all manipulators a very perceptive guy when it comes to reading the mood of the manipulatees (the Iraqi population in general and the members of the Council in particular), waited his turn for the Chair, meanwhile fomenting rebellion against the Occupiers every chance he got. Why would he turn against his old “friends”, the guys who flew him and his private army into Baghdad as soon as feasible so they could tear down Hussein’s statue while the real city-folk were hiding from the bombs and the shooting?

Because he’s pissed off, that’s why. There’s no way of knowing at this point exactly what promises had been made to Chalabi by the Neocon Boys over the years of their association, but it’s reasonable to suppose that if they didn’t expressly promise to put him on the throne, at least they led him to believe they would. And then they didn’t.

It must have been a shock for poor Achmed. All those years of playing the Boys like a violin and then at the last minute they weasel out from under him. But not to worry–our boy still had a few tricks up his sleeve.

So when it came time for Chalabi’s month as Council Prez, does he content himself like the CP’s before him with the humdrum day-to-day business of trying the get the Occupation Govt to get Halliburton to do something–anything–about the country’s infrastructural chaos, like getting their water running again or electricity for more than a few hours a day?

Nah. Our boy has much bigger fish to fry. He’s off to NY, representing the Council to the UN–just like a real ruler!–and crying about independence from the Oppressors just like he actually meant it–which, if they don’t live up to his expectations about their backing him, he probably will. In time.

What a slap in the face to the NB’s. But really, how did they think a monomaniacal manipulator would react when they pulled the Persian carpet out from underneath him? Did they really think he was just going to slink away into a dark corner with his tail between his legs and whine quietly to himself while The Prize went to someone else?

Another indication–if you needed one–that our leaders’ “depth” of forethought about their adventure lacked, um, depth. Any kind or species thereof.

What a shock.

Item #2:

This one doesn’t require much in the way of comment; it pretty much speaks for itself:

The White House office in charge of reviewing federal regulations has reported that the benefits of some major environmental rules appear to exceed the costs by several times and that the net benefits may be even larger than previously acknowledged.

In its annual review of the costs and benefits of regulations, the Office of Management and Budget examined a sampling of major rules and found that the total benefits, to the extent they can be measured, were at least triple the costs.


Nice to have it confirmed, I suppose….

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