Chalabi!

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 1 2010 12:28 PM

Chalabi!

I just wrote a post about the surreal nature of the Washington Ideas Forum, a largely useful event that really feels like the Bizarro version of the grassroots political events I've spent two years covering. Mercifully, perhaps, it was erased when my finger slipped -- an obvious commentary on the incompetence of the Washington media elite. But the post was an attempt to understand why I sat through a 15 minute segment with Ahmed Chalabi, a fraud and a liar who helped sucker America into the invasion of Iraq, handled gently and respectfully by the Washington Post's Sally Quinn.

"The issue of WMD, from our perspective, was a marginal issue," said Chalabi. "We did not vouch for information about WMD. What we did was introduce people to the U.S. government who might know about WMD. We didn't vouch for information, we vouched for people who said they had information."

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Well, there you go.

"Various investigations afterward showed that our input was marginal," he said.

Terrific. I'm not a huge fan of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the "Black Swan" author -- I think he has packaged something obvious as something extraordinary -- but he was the one speaker here who opened his speech by pronouncing the preceding speech, by Tim Geithner, as useless, coming from a guy who'd failed.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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