“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, February 02, 2004

Bollettino

I talked to D., my best friend, yesterday, and he bitched about the end of this blog. So I told him that I have to spend my time finishing my novel, and he said that he’d been hearing that excuse for 20 years.

Well, score one for D.

However, I didn’t tell D. that the other reason I ended this blog was that it was slowly and surely driving me crazy. Reading the newspapers closely every day is a sure recipe for a quick trip to the rubber room, if you ask me. And not having to read them in order to comment on … well, anything, has made yours truly feel much lighter.

However, there can’t be too much harm in writing a much less concentrated blog. So instead of pulling this thing down, we will do our jumping jacks here occasionally. It can’t do any harm.

Today, we read Christopher Hitchens column in Slate about the missing WMD. It made us wonder how long they are going to continue to put up with Hitchens. It is one thing to be a contrarian; it is quite another to start writing like William Safire’s senile uncle. The contrast between Fred Kaplan’s shrewd piece and the Hitchens bit of administration puffery was startling. The percentage of bluster, in Hitchens’ writing, has always been high, but the percentage of shrewdness has been high enough to compensate for it. Lately, however, it has been almost completely bluster. Among the highlights of this latest glimpse of mental devastation was Hitchens’ complex put down of Maureen Dowd. According to Hitchens, the anti-war left is carrying water for the CIA. As an instance of this, he triumphantly spots Dowd associating the CIA with Ahmed Chalabi, Hitchens’ Mussolini-lite bud, and bundling these two incompatibles together as the source for the inflation of Saddam the H.’s threat. In his usual new style, Hitchens rushes for the debating point at the expense of the argument. Chalabi supplied intelligence to a wholly other group than the CIA, Hitchens tells us – correctly. Of course, he has to put it another way – that Chalabi was smeared by the CIA. Smearing, apparently, means asking for an accounting of monies received when Chalabi not only failed to deliver an overthrow, in the nineties, but seemed to be using Intelligence money to support his own jet set life style. That, for Hitchens, is a smear. It is like accusing the head of Enron of doing something fishy -- how dare they!

Anyway, score one for Hitchens in the match vs. Dowd. Alas, he makes his point by running down the field the wrong way, towards the wrong goal. His point, of course, is one that the water-carrying CIA lovin’ lefties have been making repeatedly – that the Pentagon took intelligence that it wanted to believe in from Chalabi, while scrutinizing with extreme prejudice any CIA intelligence that went against the A.C. narrative.

Since Hitchens has, in the past, abundantly credited Chalabi and his group with supplying intelligence on Iraq, surely he should, if he has any honesty left, ask his buddy about that. Was the intelligence as misleading as the accounting of various of Chalabi's businesses in the past? Maybe it is time for Hitchens to ask how a known financial crook became the Pentagon's golden boy.



On to the budget. Surely, the Dems have enough ammo, now, to run a McCarthyite campaign against Bush. The only logical explanation for Bush’s twin achievements – the destruction of the Atlantic alliance, and the subversion of the American economy – is that he is the Manchurian candidate. Barbara Bush must have been flashing those big playing cards at him a lot, recently. How else can one account for an administration that sorta misses one hundred thirty billion dollars in its estimation of its Medicare “reform” package; one that proposes raising Defense expenditures massively, making tax cuts on the wealthiest permanent, and projects halving the budget deficit by… what’s the year? 2009, by... growing the economy!

Surely the man is a plant. That's why the beady eyes are so cloudy, the voice is so hesitant. It must be the cards every morning. And, as he destroys one thing after another, the press is always there to try to make the evident irrationality seem normal. It is getting harder and harder to make that case.

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