Machiavelli on the Iraqi National Congress

A US Senate Committee has just released a very interesting report on the pre-war intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The report by the committee specifically criticized a decision by the National Security Council
in 2002 to maintain a close relationship with the Iraqi National
Congress, headed by the exile leader Ahmed Chalabi, even after the
C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency had warned that “the I.N.C was penetrated by hostile intelligence services,” notably Iran. (New York Times)

The whole episode is a remarkably apt illustration of Machavelli’s warning in the Discourses on Livy,  How Dangerous it is to Believe Exiles:

ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those
who find themselves deprived of their country. For, as to their faith, it has
to be borne in mind that anytime they can return to their country by other
means than yours, they will leave you and look to the other, notwithstanding
whatever promises they had made you. As to their vain hopes and promises, such
is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many
things that are false
and add many others by art, so that between those they
believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that
relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise
in which you ruin yourself
. (Chapter 31, Discourses on Livy)

I suppose the neocons never got past The Prince.






9 responses to “Machiavelli on the Iraqi National Congress”

  1.  avatar

    you are a nimrod

  2. Terry Teague avatar

    What WMD intel from the inc are you trying to talk about?
    “Curveball” was NOT an INC source.
    I suggest you quit throwing your flailing fit and go read that report again,Mr.

  3. Tom Griffin avatar

    The report I was referring to was this one:
    See especially Conclusion 2:
    The Iraqi National Congress (INC) attempted to influence United States policy on Iraq by providing false information through defectors directed at convincing the United States that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had links to terrorists.
    This conclusion seems to be primarily based on the defectors referred to as Source One and Source Two. The report leaves the question of Curveball’s affilation open, although it does note that a close relative of his was a high ranking offical in the INC.

  4. Terry Teague avatar

    I only know of two defectors provided by the INC.And I know essentially what those two defectors disclosed.
    They disclosed what they truly believed in their depositions.
    If you are taking the statement from that report to form your conclusion about INC intelligence operations,you basing your conclusions entirely on conjecture.
    Conjecture that has been ultimately proven false at that, my friend.

  5. Terry Teague avatar

    Here is a link to show you exactly what I’m talking about.Too many people are grabbing the elephant’s trunk and being convinced that they have hold of a snake.

  6. Tom Griffin avatar

    I think the evidence in the body of the report supports its conclusions. Having said that, I think its fair to say that the real issue is not why the INC and other Iraqi exiles behaved in accordance with Machiavelli’s dictum, so much as why the NSC failed to bear that dictum in mind.
    By the way, let me add that I admired the role that Ahmed Chalabi played in securing the freedom of the kidnapped Guardian journalist Rory Carroll.

  7. Terry Teague avatar

    Chalabi is also the reason that the Iraqi Shia are not embued in a a full scale civil war today.
    The INC did not skewer or falsify any information that I am aware of.In fact,INC intelligence continues to be a significant factor in the conflict to this day.Many coalition members owe their lives to accurate and timely information from INC sources.

  8. Terry Teague avatar
    Terry Teague

    Also Tom,
    I DON’T think that evidence in the body of the report supports it’s conclusion on many issues…that’s my point.
    Another thing that anyone has to keep in mind when reading things like NIE’s is that what they are reading are ESTIMATES.Estimates are not FINDINGS.These are assessments writen by a group of individuals.
    Individuals,who in my view,have demonstrated an ongoing hostility towards our American president.
    I’ll just leave it at that!

  9. Terry Teague avatar

    How did you like the show in Syria,Tom?
    Many people think the ultimate destination of that materiel WAS Iran.Many people think that is obvious.
    Regardless,whatever it was,It’s not going anywhere anymore-
    Israel blew the living hell out of it!
    All I know is that when those Israeli jets flew over the border,Syria’s ENTIRE air defense network went ding-dong DEAD.
    Iran’s air defense systems pale incomparison.Iran doesn’t stand a chance with the Israeli’s.My country really doesn’t have to be involved.
    All I can say to Teheran is,”Good night,Charley Brown.”

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