Former Iraqi leader Ahmed Chalabi, who served as President of the Governing Council of Iraq immediately after the U.S. invasion he helped organize, said at the Washington Ideas Forum that he still feels the 2003 invasion was worthwhile.
"Getting rid of Saddam was certainly justified," he told
Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn in their conversation at the
Newseum in Washington, D.C. He said of his famously influential support
for the war, "We were concerned about Saddam's oppression." He added
when Quinn asked about the alleged weapons of mass destruction that
never materialized, "The weapons of mass destruction was to our view a
Quinn introduced Chalabi, whom she famously profiled
as "The Man Who Would Succeed Saddam" in 2003, as "rejected by your
political system, rejected by the American political system." In the
years after working closely with the Bush administration in support of
the invasion and then briefly serving as president of the country's
U.S.-dominated provisional government, Chalabi has been vilified in both
countries for his role. His many critics accuse him of misleading the
U.S. into war by providing intelligence that Saddam Hussein's Iraq aided
al-Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction, both central
rationales for the invasion for which evidence has never materialized.
Discussing his fall from favor in the U.S., Quinn suggested, "You have been essentially blamed by the CIA." Chalabi responded that "There was a great game of blame-shifting" after the invasion and occupation of Iraq fell apart. He said that he no longer has a relationship with the CIA. Chalabi, asked by Quinn about the alleged weapons of mass destruction, carefully refused to admit fault or to say that he stood by his 2003 claims.