“Let my people go!” —

Yes, Ahmad Chalabi actually said that. The big story is, of course, the US raid on Chalabi’s home — evidence, on the heels of the recent announcement that he is no longer being payed for faulty intelligence, that his relations with the White House have finally gone sour. But Atrios linked to this alternative hypothesis, suggesting that the raid is a bit of a ruse to make Chalabi look less like a US installation:

The still-neocon-dominated Pentagon—which this week stopped funding Chalabi’s INC —is playing its last card, hoping that it can boost Chalabi’s sagging fortunes by pretending to sever ties with him. That, the neocons hope, will allow Chalabi to strengthen his ties to Sistani, the king-making mullah who, they hope, holds Iraq’s fate in his wrinkled hands.

But Joshua Marshall thinks that might be giving planners more credit than they deserve:

I don’t doubt that some of Chalabi’s Washington supporters have encouraged him to take a more oppositional stand toward the occupation authorities to bolster his own popularity. But there are many US government players in Iraq right now. And many of them really are hostile to Chalabi.

Something quite that orchestrated would, I suspect, be far too difficult to pull-off. And are we dealing here with smooth operators? Answers itself, doesn’t it?

One other point: You only have to look next door to see what happens to American puppets after they have their fallings-out with the Americans. Clue: They don’t get embraced by the other side. In fact, that guy from nextdoor was lucky to get out of the country in one piece.

Another theory — or at least a portion of one — is contained in an article appearing this morning in Salon by Andrew Cockburn. The article points to US government suspicions that Chalabi may be plotting against the soon to be announced caretaker government, chosen by American officials and UN representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

And Newsweek says the raid stems from an ongoing investigation into corruption in Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress. We sure can pick ’em!

Could he be a little more insulting? —

Bush says Iraqis are ready to “take the training wheels off” and assume governance of their occupied country. (Rep. Pryce helpfully expands on the analogy, in case it was too abstract for us: “The Iraqi people have been in training, and now it’s time for them to take the bike and go forward.”) As Josh Marshall observed:

That’s a bit of a condescending thing to say about a country which encompasses what is generally considered to be the cradle of civilization. But the thought that an extra set of training wheels may now be available prompts the question of whether the Iraqis might be willing to hand their pair off to the White House.

Well, someone had to say it —

Congresswoman Pelosi:

I believe that the president’s leadership in the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience in making the decisions that would have been necessary to truly accomplish the mission without the deaths to our troops and the cost to our taxpayers.

Now, three guesses as to what Tom Delay said! Right, you probably won’t need all three:

She apparently is so caught up in partisan hatred for President Bush that her words are putting American lives at risk.

Here’s your chance to protect Ohio’s election results! —

Go here. Sign petitions, send money, help, help, help.

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