Ahmad Chalabi to star in "Say Anything" sequel

class=img_thumbleft>He's a charming conversationalist, the kind of irresistible manchild who never takes responsibility for his rakish misstatements. And gets away with it. Men know better than to believe him; women--especially women journalists--can't help but take him at his word.

He's John Cusack, star of Being John Malkovich.

No wait--he's Iraq's deputy prime minister, Ahmad Chalabi.

In one of those improbable postmodern moments that could only come about after Nixon and Elvis shook hands, forever tearing the polyester fabric of space and time, Ahmad Chalabi and John Cusack shared a late dinner Sunday night at a Japanese restaurant in Tribeca.

Ahmad Chalabi was returning from his Washington charm offensive, where he inexplicably won entry into the offices of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the vice president's Gullibility Working Group. (For the administration, this invite seems to be the equivalent of asking the guy who just pissed your bed whether he'd like to have another sleepover and wipe himself on your pillowcase.) Cusack was coming off a luncheon at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Neither of those itineraries seem like they could be true; both of them are.)

The panderer for this sashimi summit was none other than Arianna Huffington, who wrote about the meal the next day. Succumbing at least partly to the same Chalabi seduction that wooed Judith Miller out of a job, Huffington describes the politician as "a man in full." By which, perhaps, she actually meant, "a man who's full of it."

The dinner party lasted until 3:30 a.m., and did not end before Chalabi invited his erstwhile critic to call on him at his Baghdad villa. History will remain forever ignorant of what happened when the silver tongues of Cusack and Chalabi traded honeyed words. But it's probably safe to say that both gentlemen are familiar with the workings of Serendipity--and the perils of The Sure Thing.

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