Remember that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which the Black Knight loses three limbs in a sword fight and ends up hopping around on one leg, insisting that he’s suffered only a flesh wound, and insisting that he will smite his assailant, King Arthur? Well, if the knight’s name had been Ahmed Chalabi and the setting Iraq, some sections of the U.S. media would likely have faithfully reported it something like this: “Dismembered Knight set for Improbable Comeback.”
A few weeks ago, no less an esteemed outlet than the Washington Post would have had us believe that Ahmed Chalabi was a serious contender for prime minister of Iraq — and this after almost everything of consequence that Chalabi had told the U.S. media had proven to be bogus. Nor were they the only ones: The story of Chalabi’s imminent resurgence was all over the media. Presumably this because Chalabi himself was telling them this, and his backers at the Pentagon – who’re never going to admit defeat – were underscoring it. “Highly placed sources say he has become the choice of many U.S. officials to lead the country,” the Post reported. Indeed, as he had been before the invasion. And somehow the Washington Post and a number of other titles that really should know better have not yet fully grasped the reality that the U.S. rarely gets its way on the ground in Iraq. Chalabi, for the record, garnered so few votes in the December 15 elections that his list may not get a single seat in parliament. As ever, it seems, Chalabi wields far more influence along the Potomac than he does along the Euphrates.