Douglas Feith Responds
In response to this post, Douglas Feith writes:
Like so much that has been written on the subject, your February 17 RealClearWorld blog post entitled "Paging Douglas Feith" was far off base.
Ahmad Chalabi's role in Bush administration Iraq policy is discussed extensively in my book, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. Interested readers may want to read, in particular, pages 254-257, 242, and 383.
A mythology has developed about how administration officials, especially in the Pentagon, related to Chalabi and to the Iraqi National Congress, which he headed. Part of that mythology is an overblown notion of their importance as a source of intelligence about Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Another part is the allegation that Pentagon officials aimed to favor or "anoint" Chalabi as the leader of Iraq after Saddam.
It is clear that that mythology was believed by many journalists and various officials within the Bush administration saw benefit in propagating it. But it is false.
Chalabi and the INC provided information to the U.S. government about Iraq before and after Saddam's overthrow. They were among numerous sources of such information. Like the other sources, they provided some information that was accurate and some that was not accurate. That is typical with intelligence sources. Readers interested in the details of Chalabi's role in providing intelligence to the U.S. government about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (biological weapons, in particular) may want to read the Silberman-Robb Commission report (March 31, 2005), available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/wmd/pdf/full_wmd_report.pdf.
There was no "anoint Chalabi" policy. As I said in my book, there is no memo, strategy briefing or other piece of paper that I know of that supports the "anoint Chalabi" charge. And the two people who would have had to implement the plan, if there were such a plan - General Jay Garner and Ambassador Jerry Bremer - have both clarified publicly that they were never asked to favor, let alone anoint or appoint, Chalabi as the leader of Iraq.
My book challenged anyone who had actual evidence that contradicts me to bring it forward. In the almost two years since my book was published, no one has produced any such evidence.
Facts matter, and I hope you'll run a correction. I would appreciate your helping to set the record straight.