A Fairy Tale for Our Times: Ahmad and the 40 Thieves


An internal assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value, according to federal officials briefed on the arrangement.

Ahmad (as he is spelling it now) Chalabi was a con-artist. Every intelligence agency on the planet knew it, from the CIA on down. Jordan actually convicted him of bank fraud. But they couldn’t arrest him–he was in the US under the protection of Neocon Wonder Boys Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby, and Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom, with a naivete which is almost touching, believed everything he said.

He told them he was innocent of all charges, and they believed him. He told them he had an army of dissidents and defectors that he could put at their disposal, and they believed him. He told them stories about how they should get the US to storm into Iraq and throw out that monster Saddam.

We can’t, they said. We’d love to but we can’t just start a war for no reason. We need an excuse.

So he told them about nuclear scientists who didn’t exist creating WMD’s that didn’t exist to fulfill plans by Hussein to attack the US which had never existed. Only he pretended they did exist. The Wonder Boys believed it all. They were overjoyed. Wait ’til we take him out, they told him. You’re our boy. We”ll make you a King. Ahmad didn’t want to be King–he wanted to be President, like Saddam, and have palaces and many secret Swiss bank accounts. Or failing that, Finance Minister.

But then the CIA told them that Ahmad was a crook, a fraud and a liar. The DIA told them that he was coaching the defectors on what to say, and that almost all of it was unreliable at best and untrue at worst. Interpol told them he was wanted on charges of stock-and-securities swindling. Jordan convicted him of bank fraud in absentia and tried to extradite him so he could serve his sentence. MI6 and the Surete confirmed it all. The NWB’s either didn’t believe any of it, or they didn’t care. Ahmad was their ticket to control of the 2nd biggest oil field in the world, and the song he sang to them was sweet and sentimental and full of promises. They were putty in his hands for 15 years, and they loved it.

So did he, except sometimes he wondered what was taking them so long to invade.

First they said, Poppy is a weenie. He won’t do it. Some claptrap about “unacceptable consequences” and “de-stabilizing the region” and “potentially igniting WWIII”. They were disgusted by his cowardice, but what could they do?

Then they said, We got a damn Democrat traitor running the show and he sold us out to the UN, that useless, good-for-nothing, debating society where idiots actually listen to the French, if you can believe it. Ahmad believed it. He remembered Algeria. But he kept his remembering to himself–the NWB’s wouldn’t have liked being reminded and he didn’t want to do anything that would get them off the track he’d so carefully set them on. Instead he asked, What are you going to do?

Oh, we’ll get rid of The Traitor, don’t you worry about that, they said. We’ve made plans. He won’t survive his first term.

And they did have plans, and they executed them all, paralyzing The Traitor’s Presidency by manufacturing rumors, innuendos, and pointless investigations of scandals that had never happened and crimes that had never taken place. They used their tame right-wing media-giants to pound away at the stories day-after-day to convince people that something real was being covered up when they knew it wasn’t, and they intimidated the media they didn’t control by influencing their mostly-right-wing advertising money to drop their accounts if the media said something they didn’t like. It was a well-planned operation and it went off like a well-oiled machine doing something it’s done a million times before and knows like the back of its hand and its perfection was a marvel to behold.

There was only one thing wrong: Despite their obvious success in painting The Traitor as a diseased maniac who should be taken out and shot for the good of society, the goddam people had the nerve to re-elect him!

The NWB’s were livid. All that work, all that time, all that money spent on buying testimony and coercing witnesses to make investigations of thin air seem as substantial as mud. All for nothing. They were frustrated. But they kept at it, even attempting to impeach The Traitor for adultery (which wasn’t, strictly speaking, a Constitutional issue at all, but what the hell? You go with what you’ve got).

Ahmad waited through all this, chomping at the bit. To pass the time, he trained a cadre of Iraqi “defectors” in what to say and how to say it, and then fed them to the NWB’s, who sucked it up with a silver spoon and whined for more.

In return, they fed him to a mole they’d placed at the NY Times named Judith Miller, and Judith dutifully printed all of his fascinating stories without, needless to say, doing any independent investigation of her own–this was Gospel, and you don’t question the Gospel. She was so credulous that Ahmad discovered he could tell her the most appalling lies, lies that anyone who knew the slightest bit of truth about Iraqi culture or history would know weren’t true, and she would simply gasp with awe and delight and then run off and write them down for posterity.

Interesting, he thought, looking at a paper one day; I say it here and it comes out there. Now he understood the definition of the American expression, “mouthpiece”.

Finally, in the fullness of time, The Traitor finished his 2 terms and had to be replaced. The NWB’s backed a born-again fundamentalist knucklehead with a C-average brain and no experience whatever. They did so chiefly because they knew him–he was Poppy’s kid, Junior–and they knew he would believe everything they told him.

The election was a real squeaker, and in the end had to be stolen by Junior’s bro in Florida and a right-wing Supreme Court willing to throw out all its previous commitment to stuff like “state’s rights” to swing it. But they won, and that’s all that mattered to them. Junior appointed them all to positions of power and they no longer had to persuade the govt to do what they wanted–they were the govt and they could damn well do what they wanted without asking anybody. Well, except Junior, of course, but with Dick “Halliburton” Cheney behind them (all they had to do was promise Dick that Halliburton would get the reconstruction contracts), that was just a formality.

They thought. So as soon as Junior was sworn in, they started planning the Iraqi invasion. They told Ahmad it would be any day now, and he was very happy.

Unfortunately, it turned out there was a fly in the soup: some guy named Karl Rove. Rove was in charge of the politicals, and Junior was enthralled with him, wouldn’t make a move without his say-so. And Karl wouldn’t OK the Iraq invasion.

We need an excuse, he said.

We’ve got an excuse, they said. Saddam’s planning to attack America with balsa-wood planes full of chemical and/or biological weapons.

Incredulous, Karl asked sarcastically, Where’d you hear that malarkey?

They pointed to Ahmad over in the corner. Him? Karl rolled his eyes and muttered, You’ve got to be kidding, but passed it and went on:

It doesn’t matter. That’s not enough. He has to actually do something. Plans aren’t enough, I can’t sell it on plans, we’re going to have to scare the people out of their shirts before they’ll buy this. Something has to happen. Something bad.

Well, before long, something bad did, and even though the perp was an old enemy of Saddam’s, Karl was able to sell fear to the American people wholesale, and they didn’t look too close at the lies he had Junior tell about the “proof” or the unsubstantiated assertions he had Junior make about how Saddam was behind 9/11. The NWB’s jumped on Rove’s fable like The Lone Ranger on his horse–at last they had the excuse they needed–and before you could say, “Hi-yo, Silver, away!”, Ahmad was flying in a USAF plane on the way to Baghdad with some of his “army” to tear down a statue of Saddam for FOXNews’ cameras, who obligingly shot it all in close-up to make him and his small band of dedicated followers look like the whole population of the city.

He was on his way.

Moral: If you tell him what he wants to hear, you can lead a Neocon to water and make him drink it, or drown in it, or spit it through his nose, and he won’t just thank you for it–he’ll give you your very own country to play with.

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