What Led to the Iraq War?

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Slow Burn Season 5 from Slate released their first episode called “The Exile” focusing on Ahmad Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi politician who pushed the United States to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003, with the goal of removing Saddam Hussein.

Hosted by Noreen Malone, the first episode is all about the history of Chalabi and his long relationship with the United States, most notably the 1998 passage of the Iraq Liberation Act that Bill Clinton signed as an agreement to remove Saddam Hussein. Chalabi also tried to start a war with Iraq a few years before this, and this episode provides never before aired audio to back this up with him talking to his biographer, Rich Bonin.

“For Chalabi, removing Saddam was only half the goal. The other half of the goal was to become the leader of Iraq himself,” Bonin says.

Also in this episode, Malone speaks to Chalabi’s biographer and 60 Minutes producer Rich Bonin, CIA case officer Bob Baer, former Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. Rend al-Rahim Francke, Turkish journalist Asli Aydintasbas and more about how Ahmad Chalabi ended up getting what he wanted, at a huge cost.

This season is about the road to the Iraq War, and the diplomat who fooled the United States is where it all starts.

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