Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

File this under “creepy sycophants with the President’s ear”:
George Bush isn't talking to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he is speaking to Iranian student dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar. And Fakhravar's dead set on keeping it that way.

The thirty-two-year-old looks the part of a revolutionary. He has the fierce green eyes of a panther, and an eerie confidence that makes you wonder if he sees something you can't. Dressed in mesh shorts and a T-shirt, he ushers me into his bare D.C. apartment late one night. There's a desk flooded with papers in one corner. On the wall hang a pre-revolutionary Iranian flag and a cowboy hat.

The flag is for Iran's past and future, he says, and the cowboy hat is for his greatest hero: George Bush. "Bush and I were both born on July 6, within the same hour" he says. And because of this cosmic occurrence, "[we] are both hard line, passionate people" who want to rapidly, unabashedly change the world. But far more than a birthday and a cowboy ethos bonds the two men.

Last year Bush's neo-conservative confidant, Richard Perle, former head of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee who advocated invading Iraq, helped Fakhravar flee Iran's jails for the U.S. Once in D.C., Fakhravar found more allies in the White House who supported an aggressive stance toward Iran. He made the rounds, speaking out at senate hearings, democracy conferences and conservative think tanks. This led some Iranians, including student dissidents like Kouroush Sahati, to ask: is this really fate or just opportunism?

Gee, good question. I wonder ... where have we heard this story before? Let me think .... oh yeah, it was this guy. Of course, I’m not the first to compare Fakhravar with Chalabi, down to his neo-con backers and the fact that his fairy tales are being stovepiped directly to President Bush. Mother Jones did an excellent piece on this guy, "Has Washington Found its Iranian Chalabi?”, which I urge everyone to read.

The only thing that puzzles me is how stupid the Washington “foreign policy establishment” can possibly be to buy the same crappy snake oil from a different salesman at the same store. I mean honestly, when Richard Perle comes knocking on your doors and whispering, “Pssst ... buddy ... I got something for ya here,” you should run, run far, run fast. It’s common sense.

But really, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore. When Richard Perle introduces you to a guy named Fakhravar who spouts crap like this:

"...many Iranians would actually welcome a military strike by the U.S. because of how strongly they wish to get rid of their government." Americans would be greeted as liberators, he says...

you gotta wonder: they’re just playing with us, right? Really, truly, they don’t think we’re that stupid, do they?

Do they?