Wednesday, June 02, 2004

 

Chalabi Who?

It's like the 'Who is Ken Lay?' thing all over again.

Only now it's 'Who is this Chalabi guy? I think I met him once when he brushed passed me in the hallway.'

The effort to brush Mr. Chalabi under the rug is yet another fine example of Mr. Bush's mendacity.

What Mr. Bush is now saying:

George W. Bush yesterday , Rose Garden press conference:


Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Chalabi is an Iraqi leader that's fallen out of favor within your administration. I'm wondering if you feel that he provided any false information, or are you particularly --

THE PRESIDENT: Chalabi?

Q Yes, with Chalabi.

THE PRESIDENT: My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven't had any extensive conversations with him.
...

Q I guess I'm asking, do you feel like he misled your administration, in terms of what the expectations were going to be going into Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't remember anybody walking into my office saying, Chalabi says this is the way it's going to be in Iraq.

Via Atrios at Eschaton.

But let's look back shall we?

On "Meet the Press":

Russert: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?

President Bush: They're not going to develop that. And the reason I can say that is because I'm very aware of this basic law they're writing. They're not going to develop that because right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.

There's a rope line in the Oval Office?

Atrios also links to this story

TRANSCRIPT
Bush Describes Baghdad Meeting with Members of Iraq Council
Says he assured Council that U.S. will "stay the course" in Iraq


President Bush says he had a "good talk" for about 30 minutes November 27 with four members of Iraq's Governing Council at Baghdad International Airport, following his surprise meeting with U.S. troops there.

Briefing the White House press pool accompanying him on Air Force One as he returned to the United States after the two-and-one-half-hour stop in Baghdad, Bush said he and L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, met with Jalal Talibani, the current president of the council, Raja Habib Khuzaii, Ahmed Chalabi, and Mowaffak Rubaie.

----

Q: Mr. President, we were told you got to see Mr. Chalabi today?

THE PRESIDENT: I did see Chalabi. I met with -- well, let's see, I had the dinner, you saw that. I wasn't sure how long you were there, you probably timed it, but an hour or so -- are these the times? Oh, these are the people there.

I shook a lot of hands, saw a lot of kids, took a lot of pictures, served a lot of food and we moved on to see four members of the Governing Council -- the names are here. Talibani is the head of it right now, so he was the main spokesman. But Chalabi was there, as was Dr. Khuzaii, who had come to the Oval Office, I don't know if you all were in the pool that day, but she was there -- she was there with him, and one other fellow, and I had a good talk with them.

We were there for about maybe a little less than 30 minutes. I was able to assure them that we were going to stay the course and get the job done, but I also reminded them what I said publicly, that it's up to them to seize the moment, to have a government that recognizes all rights, the rights of the majority and the rights of the minority, to speak to the aspirations and hopes of the Iraqi people. I assured them that I believe in the future of Iraq, because I believe in the capacity of the people to govern -- as I said, govern wisely and justly. I meant what I said. I told them that privately. I told them I back Jerry Bremer a hundred percent. He's got my full confidence. He was sitting right there, as well. We had a nice visit.

They assured me that they were making good progress, that the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly pleased that Saddam is gone, that they do see a bright future, and they want us to -- they want to work with us.

The question is not "do they think we're stupid?" because they clearly think we are.

The question is whether or not we let them get away with them treating us like we're stupid.

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