Oh, shit, oh, motherfuck, that's funny. Goddamn, the Rude Pundit is just doubled over in laughter. What a big fuckin' joke it all was. What a con job. It was perfect. Someone bring out the corpse of Allen Funt so he can get fucked by twenty hookers, it was that good. The United States got punk'd. The New York Times got punk'd. And you know what probably galls (or, tee-hee, should it be "gauls"?) most conservatives? The idea that the French might be sitting there, shaking their beret-topped heads at our ignorance.

The thing any good con artist knows is how to prey on people's desires. If you're greedy, a con will exploit your greed. It's an easy game: you spot a mark, a victim, and you promise that mark anything: power, pussy, cash on the barrel head. All that's required is a little investment in your ideas. It's every con from the three-card monte to the huge, complex real estate scheme. Everyone wants somethin' for nothin' in this world, and if you can give it to them, you will be showered with riches. That's the beauty of the con: the ego rush of power of convincing people that you're for real. See, a con presents a victim with the means of giving in to the corruption at the heart of one's soul. A con artist is like a dope dealer: the shit the con artist sells has no meaning unless you use it. And, son of a bitch, if Ahmed Chalabi and, possibly, Iran didn't pull the con of the young century, with Rumslove, Wolfie, Heartless Dick, and George W snorting that WMD powder through the hollowed out bones of American soldiers.

Without going through the sad, sordid history of Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress, and the U.S. government, suffice to say that it was primarily Chalabi and his cohorts who told the U.S. that the invasion would be a breeze, that there really, really, really were weapons, and that Chalabi would be welcomed back as a national hero. Chalabi, a convicted criminal embezzler in Jordan, whose wealthy family ran from Iraq forty years ago, was, as every con artist, an opportunist who saw a way to manipulate the "last superpower" to take out his longstanding hate against the Baathists.

But the extra hilarious part of this? The possible twist in the plot that makes everything else small change? The fact that there's someone out there with a bigger grudge against Iraq than Chalabi or Bush, Jr. Yeah, you can only just shake your head in pain, in whiplash when you think about the idea that Iran may have been feeding Chalabi fake intelligence so that he would convince the U.S. to take out Saddam. And the goal is what most of us suspected would happen to Iraq after Saddam was gone: an Islamic theocracy.

And then there's the New York Times, admitting that it got punk'd, too, that it believed Chalabi. Or, more accurately, that "reporter" Judith Miller got taken in by the con, so hot was she for swallowing all the semen Chalabi could ejaculate. The Times "apology" doesn't mention Miller, but its accompanying archive of stories makes it clear whose byline is on nearly every questionable and/or lie-filled story. And it's also clear whose byline is not on every story that questions the administration.

Oh, ho, ho, ho, what a funny, funny world we live in. Man, maybe Bush will make one of his so-called "speeches" where he throws up his hands and looks sheepish and says, "Oops. Looks like I got punk'd." And we can all laugh while civil war breaks out in Iraq, women are repressed, and more and more troops die. Goddamn, the Rude Pundit hopes Judith Miller is doubled over at home with such stress-induced gastrointestinal pain that she's puking blood and shitting newsprint. And he's taking bets on Chalabi: arrest, suicide, or murder, or some combination of those options. As for our own "government" (and the quotation marks are there because one generally presumes a government rules in the interests of its citizens), our own evil men must be scrambling because, like the husband who tries to explain to his wife why he gave the man on the phone his credit card number, they gotta spin this shit, this evil, on something other than their own greed and will to power.

And, just for the fuck of it, let's crucify Ashton Kutcher.