When George W. Bush met Ahmad Chalabi
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Compare This . . . "I haven't had any extensive conversations with him."
- 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.
- Mr. Brahimi made the decision on Chalabi, not the United States. Mr. Brahimi was the person that put together the group. And I haven't spoken to him or anybody on the ground as to why Chalabi wasn't taken.
- In terms of information --
- 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.
- Hecht comments: "it's almost as if he's not really sure who this Chalabi guy is. 'Oh yeah, I think I met him once, shook his hand.' ... Uhh, HE SAT BEHIND YOUR WIFE AT THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS!"
- "Bush flip-flops on his friendships pretty quickly when they become inconvenient, no?"
. . . To This
- During his Thanksgiving 2003 visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, Bush met with members of the Iraqi Governing Council at Baghdad International Airport. A Department of State news release reported that
- "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 Talabani, the current president of the council, Raja Habib Khuzaii, Ahmed Chalabi, and Mowaffak Rubaie."
- In fact, both webloggers provide a copy of a Bush November 2003 photo-op with Council members that included Chalabi. (Also see photographic manipulation.)
- There is also this February 7, 2004, excerpt from a Meet the Press interview in the Oval Office:
- 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. [Adnad] 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.
. . . and This: Key Chalabi "Meets" with the Bush administration
- Nicholas Lemann wrote in the January 22, 2001, The Iraq Factor in the The New Yorker:
- Dick Cheney "himself, just before being chosen as Bush's Vice-Presidential nominee, had a long meeting in Colorado with Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, which is based in London. Chalabi is the presumptive leader of the opposition to Saddam. The Colorado meeting was merely the latest of several that Cheney has had with Chalabi. Donald Rumsfeld, the new Secretary of Defense, has met with Chalabi, too. Zalmay Khalilzad, a RAND Corporation expert who is head of the Bush defense-transition team--in other words, in charge of staffing the Pentagon--has been a vocal advocate of overthrowing Saddam, and has testified with Chalabi on Capitol Hill. This year's Republican platform contained a strong endorsement of the Iraq Liberation Act."