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Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

the return of chalabi


a boggling episode in the incorrigibility of imperial american politics transpired this week when ahmed chalabi -- the iraqi national congress leader, aspirant to iraqi power under an american suzerain and all-around con man who is under current fbi investigation as an iranian spy for feeding deliberately misleading information to an all-too-receptive white house -- and who furthermore certainly defrauded the american public through former new york times reporter and humiliated neocon plant judith miller in the runup to the invasion of iraq -- was feted at that venerable neoconservative thinktank, the american enterprise institute. he there met with vice president dick cheney, following a meeting with secretary of state condi rice and other top-level members of the white house.

i find it amazing that the american vice president -- regardless of the depth of his own criminality -- sees fit to meet a man who is under well-founded suspicion of being a spy for a nation which is defined as an enemy of america, indeed a nation that should be preemptively attacked with nuclear weapons at the slightest provocation by the vice-president's own instruction. but chalabi, despite the reality of events, serves an ideological purpose for these warriors of the mind. being imbued with such importance by disconnected and hubristic minds is akin to a secular canonization -- there can be no flaw in him, for there is no flaw in us.

how openly delusional with respect to chalabi is the neoconservative crowd? take this account, via tpm, from a blogger who attended chalabi's speech and who subsequently entertained himself in a conversation with neocon mouthpiece and trotsky apologist christopher hitchens.

Hitchens then turned the subject back to Chalabi, his good friend. I asked him if he thought Chalabi had been passing American intelligence to the Iranians. "No," he insisted. "It's possible that with his training, you know, at [The University of] Chicago that with his own ability he was able to crack the codes. He is a mathematical genius. His expertise is cryptology. It is possible that he broke the codes himself." (This is a paraphrase since I was walking down M Street and crossing Connecticut Avenue all while being amazed that I was having an actual conversation with Christopher Hitchens at the time).
now, hitchens is, like many a journalist, entirely ignorant of higher mathematics in his education, and so would have utterly no idea of what it may or may not take to crack codes beyond having watched a few world war two movies on late-night television. however, as you might expect upon a cursory perusal of number theory, the idea that any individual (even an expert in cryptography, which chalabi is in fact not) can sit down at a computer and break american military cryptography is -- well, to be charitable, quite stupid. i don't think hitchens is a stupid person; however, it seems very clear that hubris has made him stupid. and not him alone.

david corn sums up the event, including another interesting exchange with hitchens, and raimondo appropriately blames all sides for the fiasco.

said euripedes, "those whom god wishes to destroy, he first deprives of their senses." we may only hope to be so fortunate.


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