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Machiavellian WMD Defector

February 18, 2011

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, the man who provided a major justification for the U.S. intervention in Iraq, has admitted to fabricating information regarding weapons of mass destruction. The false information was given to German Intelligence and later spread so that, finally, Colin Powell gave a speech in 2003 directly utilizing Janabi’s words to justify a war with Iraq. And, as we know, the U.S. government used this “evidence” to gain support for sending troops into Iraq. According to the media of the time, there was not a doubt in the president Bush’s mind.

Politics aside, why did Janabi lie to German intelligence? According to an interview conducted by the The Guardian, Janabi wanted to topple the government of Iraq. He is proud of his actions and believes that he was instrumental in helping to bring about democracy.

Does this follow Machiavellian principles? Absolutely! Not only did Janabi accomplish his goal to topple Saddam’s regime, he is under asylum in Germany-relatively untouchable. The ends justified the means for Janabi. The means being more than 100,000 lives and  a damaging blow to U.S. foreign relations-not to mention prolonged chaos in Iraq.

From the article, there is reason to believe that the intelligence that questioned Janabi was looking for certain information. According to Janabi, he was pressed to give information by threatening to not let his wife join him in Germany (as she was a that time in Spain). Regardless, Janabi maintains that he wanted the regime toppled. Seeing this from the perspective of a chemical engineer, it’s very possible that there was no other way to bring down Saddam’s regime from the inside.


One Comment
  1. jasonkraman permalink
    February 20, 2011 8:47 PM

    Although at first it may seem that Janabi’s actions would be in line with Machiavelli thinking, one must also look at the complete end result. Janabi’s actions provided the most utility and happiness for his individual self. However, his means of lying also resulted in a long and bloody war in the nation of Iraq, whose best interest he supposedly had in mind. Saddam’s regime was toppled but peace and effective democratic rule have not yet been realized. Unemployment and corruption plague the nation and unrest is at its height especially in the Kurdistan region. I agree that Janabi followed Machiavellian principles for his individual self but when assessing the end consequences for the nation as as a whole, one could argue that he failed to abide by Machiavelli’s teachings.

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