Jeffrey LewisCurve Ball

This is Rafid Ahmed Alwan, better known as Curveball, getting down at an Iraqi wedding in 1993.

The 60 Minutes segment tonight, if you saw it after the Patriots-Colts game, was a fine introduction to Curveball and that damned wall.

But for the gory detail, I highly recommend Bob Drogin’s new book, Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused A War.

I am about 1/3 of the way through and its is pretty much awesome.


  1. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    Does “Faulty Intelligence” really refer to ‘Curveball’, or does it refer to the people in the administration and their sycophants who chose to believe ‘Curveball’, or both?

    Let’s have a vote to see if it is stupidity or cupidity!

  2. Gridlock (History)

    “the Con Man Who Caused A War”

    Poetic license aside, a very misleading title – you can start at Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and work your way down through Chalabi, Abrams and the IRG before this guy, surely?

  3. Muskrat

    I think we need to abandon political and strategic analysis here in favor of Oprah: Curveball may not have caused the war, but he was clearly an enabler. Bush et al needed affirmation and assurance they weren’t really just a bunch of self-deluding chickenhawks – kind of the political equiavlent of telling a boozehound he’s OK to drive.

    Curveball needed to be loved. Oh, and a residence permit. And if you had some spare cash, that would be cool, too.

    From Wikipedia: “The “codependent” party exhibits behaviour which controls, makes excuses for, pities, and takes other actions to perpetuate the obviously needy party’s condition, because of their desire to be needed and fear of doing anything that would change the relationship.”

    Unfortunately, the Iraqis turned out to be more the Jerry Springer types.

  4. mark F (History)

    Both those guys are getting down. Is curveball on the left or the right?

  5. sobaka (History)

    As a former UNSCOM and UNMOVIC inspector, with intimate knowledge of the Iraq Survey Group, I can say that Drogin’s book is both highly accurate, and a great read. He captures the incompetence that abounds throughout the German and US intelligence communities. By far the best book out on the intel failure.

    What still amazes me is the extent to which the CIA ignored the findings of UNMOVIC in the months before the invasion!!

  6. j house (History)

    ‘Curveball’ was only an enabler in the sense that his reporting was used to ‘sell’ the war to the public and Congress. Powell’s ‘curveball’ testimony at the UN by no means swayed any member to vote for the resolution, nor did it sway any members of Congress in their war resolution vote.The strategy implemented to ‘sell’ the war was a mistake (albeit, it worked), and this is one example.

    I’ll refrain from arguing the necessity of the war on an arms control blog, but if anyone thinks Saddam’s Iraq was not a threat to US national interests, they haven’t been paying attention the last 30 years.

  7. Dave (History)

    Just out of curiosity…
    Is “Curveball” the original codename? If so, we need to promote whoever chose that prophetic name. Gawd knows, we swung at it!