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An Unflattering Portrait

As you may have heard, U.S. intelligence has uncovered a potential attack on the Saudi ambassador to America. Mansour Arbabsiar stands accused of soliciting a Mexican cartel member for carrying out the assassination on U.S. soil. The most fascinating thing about this story is not the absurdity around the plot, but the language being used to describe Arbabsiar. Normally, when you hear about terror suspects, you hear things like, “He was always really quiet and withdrawn,” or “I didn’t know him that well.” Arbabsiar’s acquaintances and friends have not been so kind. Rather than gracefully allow his actions to go down in history as yet another misguided attempt to change the political landscape, they have used this opportunity to publicly elaborate on all of his flaws, ranging from his sub-par business acumen to his romantic shortcomings. Articles about Arbabsiar read more like an unsatisfactory employee’s annual review more than they do like a profile of a killer.

“Business associates described Arbabsiar’s organizational skills as marginal.”
-NPR

“At his estranged wife’s house outside Austin, neighbors described Arbabsiar as man who could be kind of annoying.”
-NPR

“But he was also renowned for being almost comically absent-minded, perpetually losing keys, cellphones, briefcases, anything that wasn’t tied down. He failed at a succession of ventures from used cars to kebabs.”
-Washington Post

“There is a certain bewilderment in Corpus Christi that anyone as apparently hapless as Arbabsiar could get involved in an international conspiracy.”
-Washington Post

“Many of his old friends and associates in Texas seemed stunned at the news, not merely because he was not a zealot, but because he seemed too incompetent to pull it off.”
-New York Times

I can’t help but laugh as I read all of these articles and quotes about him, because if I were him, I would say, “Thank…you…for…defending me…but that’s enough…” And if I were his parents, I would slap my hand against my forehead and pine for a smarter son.

Published in Thoughtful Reflection

One Comment

  1. Whitney

    Whitney

    Thank you for posting this; it just makes my day.

    I haven’t been following this very closely, and this just cracks me up. It seems to sum up many of the plots that have been uncovered since 2001 – totally incompetent. Thank goodness.

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