We recently expressed a wish to see to what baroque tergiversations Hitchens would be forced in justifying the usurpation of power in Iraq by one of Henry the K's minions -- since Hitchens credibility is wrapped up in being anti Henry the K. This isn't mere ideology, it is his bread and butter -- it allows a news organization to present him as a man of the left as he spouts reactionary slogans, making it seem as if we are getting that magic thing, balance, and making Hitchens an irresistable sell. Well, he hasn't gotten to it yet, but he does have a hilarious column about Chalabi, his bud, in Slate. He goes to the very bottom of the barrel in this one: in supporting his friend, he even becomes (gasp!) modest about his own abilities. Those abilities have to do with understanding bank fraud. Pauvre H. apparently finds it a matter of some difficulty, not just for himself but for all of humanity (hence, the modesty is transitory). This is truly creamy stuff:
"Yet every journalist feels compelled to state, as a matter of record, that Ahmad Chalabi was once convicted (by a very bizarre special court in the kingdom of Jordan) of embezzling money from a bank that was partly controlled by Iraq. I am not an accountant, and I admit that I don't know what happened at the Bank of Petra in 1972. I am not sure, after exhaustive inquiries, that I know anybody who really does know. But I do know what happened at the Iraqi Central Bank a few weeks ago, and I don't have to be an accountant or auditor to understand it. As with everything else, it is the sheer ruthless criminality of the ancien r�gime that staggers the mind and makes some people flinch and change the subject."
Welll, if he knows what happened there, do tell -- there are at least a dozen versions of the story, some of which have Uday piling billions of dollars into trucks, and some of which don't.
We do like the phrase, "exhaustive inquiries." Ah, he searched the Net one night. As always, when Hitchens practices to deceive, he is so clumsy that one feels he might as well not. Apparently his exhaustive inquiries never took him in the direction of the LA Times for May 10th, where he could have found partial solace for his learned ignorance in re: Chalabi.
The man is a hoot.