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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Chalabi, Greatest Con Man of His Generation, Dead at 71

Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi con man who played a decisive role in manipulating the United States into the Iraq War, has died at age 71.

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There’s no doubt that Ahmad Chalabi earned that title, at least insofar as he manipulated the world’s most powerful nation into a disastrous war. Whether he did so on behalf of Iran or, more likely, simply to further his own very large ambitions will presumably be a very interesting focus of debate among historians and his biographers for decades.

I look forward to eulogies by Richard Perle, Bernard Lewis, Jim Woolsey, and, of course, Paul Wolfowitz, among so many others neocons who were conned by this truly remarkable operator.

Perle never gave up on him, while the brilliant Wall Street Journal editorial board writers were still promoting him at least as late as 2010. And Perle as late as 2014! And think of all the prominent useful idiots (like George Shultz and Joe Lieberman) who effectively acted as his front organization in the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq

And now he’s dead. Both the American Enterprise Institute, which did so much to boost his career, and the IRGC, are in mourning today.

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Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times who previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary.


Joe Lieberman, the neoconservative Democrat from Connecticut who retired from the Senate in 2013, co-chairs a foreign policy project at the American Enterprise Institute.


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Former attorney general Edwin Meese, regarded as one of President Ronald Reagan’s closest advisers despite persistent allegations of influence peddling and bribery during his tenure, has been a consummate campaigner on behalf of rightist U.S. foreign and domestic policies. He currently serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution.


The Heritage Foundation, a mainstay of the right-wing advocacy community, has long pressured the United States to adopt militaristic U.S. foreign policies


David Addington, who helped author the “torture memos” and other controversial legal documents while serving as an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, left the right-wing Heritage Foundation to become VP and general counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business, a business lobby.


Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), a stalwart advocate of Pentagon spending now based at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, says he would have voted for the Iraq War even if he had known the Bush administration’s claims about WMDs were false.


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