Founding Fakers

Foer, Franklin
August 2003
New Republic;8/18/2003-8/25/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 7/8, p17
On April 6, 2003, a C-17 transport plane unloaded exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress Ahmed Chalabi in Nasiriya, the Iraqi heartland. His U.S. supporters assumed the Nasiriya stop would be the first event in a chain culminating in a Chalabi presidency. For the most part, Iraqi supporters did not materialize. Chalabi represents the latest incarnation of an archetype: the foreign opposition leader romanticized beyond reason. It is not necessarily that conservatives ally themselves with the wrong foreign proxies. Often those proxies represent the lesser of two evils, or at least the more pro-U.S. of two evils. The trouble is that conservatives come to see any thug, charlatan, or hopeless dreamer who happens to align with U.S. interests as a budding Thomas Jefferson. The right-wing revolutionary impulse begins with the Reagan Doctrine, and the Reagan Doctrine begins, by some accounts, with Jack Wheeler. Working with Grover Norquist and Jack Abramoff, now arguably the two most powerful Republican lobbyists in Washington, Wheeler invited anti-communist rebel leaders from Nicaragua, Laos, and Afghanistan to Jamba, Angola, the headquarters of Jonas Savimbi's National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. There was a reason the meeting took place in Jamba: Savimbi had become the poster child for this new breed of freedom fighter.


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