Thursday, August 30, 2007

Damn foreign meddling

The Washington Post push for Allawi has hit the Op-Ed pages again, this time with a clunker of a piece from David Ignatius. He contends that the United States lost its best chance to install a friendly, pro-West, pro-Isreali, secular and competent Iraqi government during the 2005 elections when it refused to adequately support Allawi's list.

The CIA warned in the summer and fall of 2004 that the Iranians were pumping money into Iraq to steer the Jan. 30, 2005, elections toward the coalition of Shiite religious parties known as the United Iraqi Alliance. By one CIA estimate, Iranian covert funding was running at $11 million a week for media and political operations on behalf of candidates who would be friendly to Iran, under the banner of Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani....

To counter this Iranian tide, the CIA proposed a political action program, initially at roughly $20 million but with no ceiling. The activities would include funding for moderate Iraqi candidates...

But less than a week after the finding was signed, CIA officials were told that it had been withdrawn.

Yes, the CIA's great history of rigging elections to produce favorable long term results to US interests was halted... and we all know money wins elections as Phil Gramm's stint as the Republican nominee in 1996 after his record breaking fundraising, and nominee Dean's spirited bid against George W. Bush in 2004 backed by his 2:1 cash advantage over any other Democratic candidate. No, what we do know is organization, intelligence, connections, and a resonating message that can be reinforced by money is what wins elections.

Furthermore it was not like the US appointed interim government was not flooding the airwaves with 'moderate' and national unity messages, nor the biggest elephant in the room --- even more foreign meddling --- the then $1+ billion per week that the United States was spending in Iraq.

So this is what $300,000 in lobbying gets you --- not a bad deal

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