Inspiring article about an MIT graduate

According to this recent New Yorker magazine article, Ahmad Chalabi, formerly Our Man in Iraq, is an MIT graduate.  The article also talks about the spectacular ups and downs of his life.  He went from being a math professor in Lebanon to head of the 2nd-largest bank in Jordan.  Just like a modern American executive, he practiced some creative accounting…

“An Arthur Andersen audit commissioned by Jordanian authorities found that the bank had overstated its assets by more than three hundred million dollars. In addition, a hundred and fifty-eight million dollars had disappeared from its accounts, apparently as a result of transactions involving people linked to the former management.”

After the bank collapsed, Chalabi turned to making his living from covert CIA funding.  After a falling out with the CIA he still managed to get $97 million in overt funding from the U.S. taxpayers beginning with the October 1998 passage of the Iraq Liberation Act.

Interesting and inspiring reading.

10 thoughts on “Inspiring article about an MIT graduate

  1. Chalabi is being accused (recently) of brokering sensitive intelligence information to Iranian officials.

    What I find especially interesting about Chalabi on this count is how he wishes to “exonerate himeself” via “open testemony to the US congress”.

    What I suspect this means is that he’s got some dirt on someone very high up, some bigtime US offical, who would stand to lose a lot if he testified. He’s playing the classic con-artist game of ratting out other cons.

    What I find interesting is the double standard the US Government wants to hold Chalabi to. I’m speaking about that lying to congress and not just illegally meeting with, but giving one entire year’s worth of TOW missles and other missle systems to Iran barely which ended in an endictment, let alone conviction for the US officials involved. (I’m talking about Iran-Contra, of course)

  2. According to U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, Chalabi is/was a “known con man.” It’s outrageous, disgraceful, and embarassing that our government went to war based on his lies.

  3. Our government went to war based on Saddam’s behavior, not any particular person’s lies.

  4. Which behavior would that be?

    Would it be the gassing of Kurds and Iranians with chemical weapons provided to him by American companies, while he was an American ally?

    Would it be for the torture and murder of Iraqi citizens, something he did while an American ally, and while it was considered undesirable to remove him after the First Gulf War, and an act which the American military has also undertaken?

    Or would it be for his possession of WMD, which he built up with Western aid while a Western ally?

    Or was it for not actually having any more WMD after the UN had destroyed them years ago?

  5. Oh, wait, I forgot, he also didn’t have any ties to Al Qaeda. Maybe we went to war over that, too.

  6. Hmm… none of these comments address the things that I found inspiring about the article. Here is a guy whose life had a Second Act and then a Third Act. American involvement with Saddam and Iraq has been a distraction and perhaps a bad thing for all concerned but that doesn’t detract from Chalabi’s biography and achievements. His story might be even better if he were to obtain ownership of Iraq and its people but 100% success shouldn’t be a requirement for recognition. Which of us can claim to have succeeded fully at all of our goals?

  7. And people say that MIT nerds have no social skills. What could demonstrate a man’s social skills better than raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from a confidence game?

  8. Chalabi’s abilities at reinvention have not yet been exhausted.

    Now that he’s being outed by the US for having revealed to the Iranians that we had broken their codes, he’s spinning himself to Iraqis as someone who can be trusted because he’s no longer an American favorite.

    James Bamford has suggested that his recent treatment by his American sponsors are all part of a Machiavellian attempt by Chalabi to further his ultimate goal of becoming President of Iraq.

    No matter what his actual motivations, it’s hard not to admire Chalabi’s sheer chutzpah.

  9. “Our government went to war based on Saddam’s behavior, not any particular person’s lies.
    Gun Nut • 6/8/04; 12:45:01 PM”

    Thanks Gun Nut, really needed the laugh. More people like you, then we can change our country name from United States of America to United States of Ignorance.

  10. Jim wish we had more logical people like you in this part of the world (hope you are American).

    The number of ignorant, clueless and media fooled fellow Americans are so high that I am really scared about the future of our country.

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