Chalabi, a Complex Hero, <br>Was a Madisonian Man <br>Who Lived for a Free Iraq
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The death of Ahmad Chalabi, coming as it does when some American politicians are airing their regrets about the 2003 expedition to topple Saddam Hussein, is a moment to reflect on what might have been. Chalabi was the leading tribune of the idea of a free and democratic Iraq. My own view is that we heeded him too little.
Chalabi, who died Tuesday of a heart attack at his family compound in Baghdad, came from a wealthy Shiite clan. He was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, where he came to believe in free-market economics and Madisonian principles of governance.
Any posthumous suggestion that Chalabi was a worthy advocate of these ideas — never mind as a candidate actually to lead a free Iraq — is already being ridiculed on the left. Yet there are those of us who have never wavered in our admiration for him, even if he was a complex figure. . . .
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