Mort Kondracke

The fine folks at RealClear Politics have Mort Kondracke’s latest column. You need to read it here. An excerpt is here:

In 1968 – by no accident, a U.S. presidential election year – the Viet Cong launched a massive countrywide offensive in South Vietnam, invading the U.S. Embassy complex in the process.

By every military measure, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces devastated the Communist forces. (It’s all recorded in the late Peter Braestrup’s masterful book “Big Story.”) Yet the U.S. media reported the episode as a U.S. defeat, helping convince the American establishment that the war was unwinnable.

In this respect, there is a real danger that Iraq could become like Vietnam – a self-inflicted defeat. Public support for the war is down, and even conservative columnists such as David Brooks and George Will are implying that Bush’s aims are unachievable.

1 Comment

  • Dear Mr. Kondracke,

    Ahmad Chalabi is an escaped felon (from Lebanon) who fed the Bush brood its Iraqi WMD food pellets. Now we find Mr. Chalabi was probably working for Iran to get us to chew Saddam up for them.
    While this news is unsettling, it is not without precedent. After WWII we hired german General Reinhard Gehlen, responsible for the killing of four million Russians, to work for our CIA. He collected a generous CIA paycheck for ten years until West Germany got their sovereignty and he was hired to head their new intelligence agency.
    Was Reinhard Gehlen the Ahmad Chalabi of his day? Perhaps with the help of US nazi sympathizers (like Prescott Bush, once called “Hitler’s banker” or Allen Dulles, his corporate lawyer), he co-opted our CIA. Was this how the fascist jihad against communism called WWII morphed into the Cold War? Incredibly, General Gehlen went directly from Head of Intelligence on the Eastern Front for Adolph Hitler to Head of Intelligence on the Eastern Front for Harry Truman! And fifty years later, we still suspect nothing.
    Why do we keep getting snookered trusting people who don’t have our best interests at heart …and does government secrecy exacerbate the problem?

    Respectfully yours,
    Paul
    Alameda, CA

    P.S. Curiously, it was a rabid ex-East European WWII fascist (Spas Raiken) who kindly greeted that supposedly rabid communist Lee Harvey Oswald on the pier when he re-defected back to America in 1962.

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    Reference 1:

    For Info on Prescott Bush go to:

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1018-01.htm

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    Reference 2:

    CIA Admits Long Relationship With WWII German Gen. Reinhard Gehlen
    By Maria Alvarez
    The New York Post
    9-24-00
     
      COLLEGE PARK, Md. (UPI) – The Central Intelligence Agency has for the first time confirmed that a high-ranking Nazi general placed his anti-Soviet spy ring at the disposal of the United States during the early days of the Cold War.  The National Archives said in a release Wednesday that the CIA had filed an affidavit in U.S. District Court “acknowledging an intelligence relationship with German General Reinhard Gehlen that it has kept secret for 50 years.”  “The CIA’s announcement marks the first acknowledgement by that agency that it had any relationship with Gehlen and opens the way for declassification of records about the relationship,” the National Archives said.  Gehlen was Hitler’s senior intelligence officer on the Eastern Front during the war and transferred his expertise and contacts to the U.S. as World War II reached its climax. While Gehlen’s relationship with U.S. intelligence during the 1940s and 1950s has been the topic of some five books over the years, the eventual release of CIA documents pertaining to the development of his European spy ring could shed new light on the origins of the Cold War and early U.S. espionage efforts against Moscow.  Gehlen’s network of agents in Europe – including many with Nazi backgrounds who were bailed out of prisoner of war camps by U.S. intelligence officers – was known as the Gehlen Organization and received millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. until 1956.  The CIA’s acknowledgement of its dealings with Gehlen came in a response to an appeal of a Freedom of Information Act request by researcher Carl Oglesby, the National Archives said. The agency pledged to release its records on the general in accordance with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.  The Act established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), which for more than two years has been declassifying documents related to World War II war crimes and releasing them through the National Archives.  “This shows that the law is working,” said former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the IWG. “We now must work closely with the Agency to follow through with the release of these records.”

    Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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    Reference 3:

    Published on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 by the Los Angeles Times

    Chalabi’s Long, Costly Charade
    by Robert Scheer
     
    Can it get any more bizarre? Only a few weeks before Washington’s long-promised hand-over of the keys to Iraq, we discover that the lackey the Pentagon only recently had in mind to manage this very valuable property for the United States is suspected by us of being a world-class con artist and, worse, a spy for America’s enemies in Iran.
    Nobody is speaking on the record yet, but U.S. intelligence officials are making it clear to a variety of preeminent news sources that Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime darling of the neoconservatives who dragged the U.S. into this war, not only fed Western intelligence sources false information about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq but is accused of having passed on U.S. secrets to Iran, possibly through his security and intelligence chief, who is now a fugitive.
    “This is a very, very serious charge,” Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on Sunday, noting that his Senate Intelligence Committee will be investigating it. “There were a number of us who warned this administration about [Chalabi]Š. But the fact is, there were some in this administration, some in Congress who were quite taken with him.”
    We might start investigating which Bush official arranged for this hustler ‹ already on the lam for a decade from major banking fraud convictions in Jordan ‹ to sit behind First Lady Laura Bush during this year’s State of the Union speech. Was the Secret Service watching her purse?
    Too harsh? Not by a long shot. The CIA had stopped using Chalabi as a source in the mid-1990s after his political organization of exiles was accused of deception and incompetence. However, over the last four years, Chalabi was shamelessly resurrected inside the Beltway by neoconservatives, including Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and other Bush officials who were leading the campaign to invade Iraq.
    Granted more than $33 million in taxpayer money over that four-year period ‹ funding that was cut off only days before Iraqi police backed by U.S. troops raided his home and office last week ‹ Chalabi was the key window into Iraq for the White House, as well as top reporters such as the New York Times’ Judith Miller. She mined him for a long string of now-discredited front-page scoops on Iraq’s much-touted weapons of mass destruction. Chalabi is now suspected of having “gamed” the intelligence agencies of eight nations using phony or tricked-up sources and documents, according to intelligence sources cited in the Los Angeles Times.
    Yet even as post-invasion searches and interrogations proved Chalabi’s hoary claims completely wrong, and even as Chalabi continued his longtime practice of cozying up to the ayatollahs in Iran during frequent visits to Tehran, the Bush political appointees in charge of Iraq allowed Chalabi to run wild. Chalabi and his family and cronies have been granted control over Iraq’s banking system and the crucial de-Baathification process, as well as the upcoming trial of Saddam Hussein. The result? At least seven Chalabi aides are wanted on charges of blackmail, fraud and other crimes.
    So now we can watch a familiar drama unfold as the United States turns on a lout whom it tried to sell as Iraq’s George Washington.
    But being a wily survivor, Chalabi apparently decided that after embarrassing his Beltway backers so badly on the question of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and realizing that he was about as popular as the occupation itself, he had better make some new friends. Now he is playing the role of a populist Moses to President Bush’s Pharaoh, chanting in Baghdad last week to “let my people go.” He says his aides are innocent of spying for Iran but won’t turn themselves in because “there is no justice in Iraq. There is Abu Ghraib prison.”
    So was Uncle Sam played for a sucker by Iran, the fulcrum of what the president has called the “axis of evil”? Was the U.S. maneuvered into unseating Iran’s hated enemy, Hussein, whom Washington backed in the 1980s against Iran’s holy warriors? We’ll see as the scandal unfolds.
    But even if this outrage proves true, it is unlikely that anyone high up will be held responsible for coddling Chalabi. After all, nobody of any stature has yet been held accountable for the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the prison torture scandal or the poor planning for the occupation. Certainly not President Bush, who is touring the nation bragging that the obvious disaster in Iraq is actually a great victory for the free world.

    Copyright 2004 Los Angeles

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