The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi

The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi

by Aram Roston
     
 

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This is the true story of Ahmad Chalabi, fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz and aesthete, whose legendary charisma and charm - and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion - helped propel the United States to war in Iraq. This extraordinary investigative biography - written by an Emmy Award-winning journalist who works for NBC's Investigative Unit - exposes

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Overview

This is the true story of Ahmad Chalabi, fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz and aesthete, whose legendary charisma and charm - and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion - helped propel the United States to war in Iraq. This extraordinary investigative biography - written by an Emmy Award-winning journalist who works for NBC's Investigative Unit - exposes massive white-collar mischief, sophisticated international espionage operations, and political intrigue spanning the globe from Tehran to Texas. Chalabi was a shrewd Iraqi Arab from a family of Shiite bankers. Aram Roston tracked down forgotten Chalabi business partners and friends and dug through the records from courthouses around the world. The book reveals how this convicted felon, fugitive from justice in Jordan, and ally of the Iranian government managed to charm and influence the top leaders fo the United States, including US senators like John McCain. The book has the inside story of Chalabi's pre-war propaganda operations the exclusive details of Chalabi's financial dealings and political access.

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Editorial Reviews

Jeff Stein
The Man Who Pushed America to War" is a fascinating study of how the oleaginous former Iraqi exile leader separated the CIA and the Pentagon from hundreds of millions of dollars and conned credulous officials and reporters into believing that Saddam Hussein was not just armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, but bankrolling al Qaeda. Not to be missed is a fascinating chapter on the secret relationship of Chalabi, the Bush administration's weapon of mass deception, with Iran, whom he is suspected of warning that the United States was eavesdropping on its communications. But there's much, much more. Not to be missed.
Congressional Quarterly
Booklist
Roston pored through legal documents and interviewed a multitude of political figures in the U.S. and the Middle East to detail Chalabi's incredible machinations.[An] amazing look at the con man, or hero, who changed the course of Iraqi and American history.
Leslie H. Gelb
Roston bases his account on interviews with Chalabi's family, friends, intimates and enemies, and on a range of books and articles. Chalabi did not give Roston an interview. The overall result is a book with some new details on key events, but no headlines. Its main contribution is to consolidate all the Chalabi anecdotes into one coherent and fair-minded account. Roston does very little speculating or searching for larger meanings, but he provides a solid foundation to analyze what this brilliant, charming rogue led us to do to ourselves.
—The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
What do you get when you cross a felonious royalist bearing a long agenda and list of grudges with the world's sole superpower? An endless war in a faraway land, that's what. Though NBC Nightly News correspondent Roston doesn't quite say so, Iraqi dissident and would-be empire-builder Ahmad Chalabi is an analog to an Omega 7 anti-Castroite living in Miami but longing for glory days in Havana. Routed from Iraq when the royal government fell to a military coup, events that later would bring Saddam Hussein to power, the Chalabi family, royalists all, went into exile. "If you are trying to find ‘Rosebud,' " one Chalabi relative tells Roston, "look for the 1958 revolution . . . that disempowered our family." Chalabi himself went to MIT, where he fell under the tutelage of mathematician Warren Ambrose and might have become an Iraqi analog to . . . well, strangely, Noam Chomsky, who traveled in similar circles. Chalabi, writes Roston, claims to have worked in cryptography there and crossed paths with federal spooks who warned him away from the research, though his classmates discount the assertion. That moment comes early on in the book, which proceeds to unfold a skein of misdirection and curious bedfellowing on the part of Chalabi, who was early on, it seems, in the employ of the Iranians, on the enemy-of-my-enemy model. Given the Iranian connection and Chalabi's business relationships with known crooks (notably a "disbarred Florida lawyer and failed brothel owner"), why would the Bush administration-specifically, Donald Rumsfeld-have hitched its wagon to that particular star? Mostly, Roston's account makes clear, because at least for a time Chalabi told the neocons what they wanted to hearabout WMDs, terrorist connections, secret plots and so forth. Bush got a war out of the deal, while Chalabi got his longed-for countercoup. Another tenpenny nail in the Bush administration's coffin, insofar as the historical record is concerned.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568583532
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/03/2008
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

James Bamford
During the next presidential election, voters should have to show proof they have read Aram Roston's fascinating book before being allowed into the booths so we never get into a war like this again. (James Bamford, bestselling author of Body of Secrets and A Pretext for War)

Meet the Author

Aram Roston is an Emmy winning journalist who has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. He has worked as a CNN correspondent and a New York City police reporter.
 

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