Ahmed Chalabi, a con artist who spent a decade convincing America’s foreign policy establishment to topple a dictator so the Chalabi family could resume extracting their home nation’s wealth, died of a heart attack today, about 15 years too late. If you haven’t read it in a while (or at all), now is a good time to revisit Jane Mayer’s 2004 account of how long and how hard Chalabi worked to make regime change in Iraq the main foreign policy priority of a bunch of deeply stupid but powerful people, who grew to believe, despite of the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, that the deeply unscrupulous exile could be a credible leader of a secular and democratic Iraq.
Slate columnist Reihan Salam has an important message: He still believes in neoconservatism. He concedes, more or less, that the past 13 years of United States foreign policy have been a hideous spectacle of strategic, tactical, and moral failure, all perpetrated in the name of neoconservative ideas. "Given all of this," he asks, "why am I still a neocon?"