In the 1980s, the United States had a good friend who was going to help them fight our enemy, Iran. This friend was Iraq, specifically a Mr. Saddam Hussein. We gave him all kinds of presents, including weapons of war (and mass destruction) that he not only used against our enemies, but against his own people. At the time, though, he was our friend, so we didn’t have a problem with it.
Much later, we needed a friend to help against the Soviets, who wanted to take control of Afghanistan. Luckily, we found one — a Mr. Osama bin Ladin, whose organization was more than happy to receive military training and equipment from us.
I don’t think I need to tell you how those friendships turned out.
Only a few months ago we found a new friend, a Mr. Ahmad Chalabi, who was going to help us fight against our old friend, Mr. Hussein (and, in Mr. Bush’s mind, against Mr. bin Ladin.) Mr. Chalabi gave us all sorts of information about the bad things Mr. Hussein was up to, and we presented this evidence to the world, which largely remained skeptical. Nevertheless, we went to war, since it’s what we’d been wanting to do anyway.
Now it’s turning out that our new friend might have been lying to us. It looks like he might have been a spy for our old enemy, Iran, and hoping to get rid of Mr. Hussein just so he could be the new leader of Iraq. Mr. Chalabi should have learned a lesson from our previous friends — once their usefulness expires, anything goes.
You’d think that we’d learn lessons as well. Considering that some of our other friends are Pakistan, which gave shelter to Mr. bin Ladin and financed his activities, and Saudi Arabia, which provided most of the 9/11 hijackers and possibly some more funds to Al-Qaeda, you’d think we’d start to choose our friends a little more carefully. Instead, we just keep cozying up to other dictators who torture their enemies.
I wonder which of our current good friends will be flying hijacked airplanes into our buildings in ten years?