We indulge more Christopher Hitchens than he is probably worth. The guy is an interesting hybrid of old-school trotskyist and opportunist neo-con. We think he fits nicely as an imperialist-minded bolshevik amongst imperialist-minded capitalists. However you choose to classify his opinions, motivations, or ideologies, he has always been a tough intellectual to ignore--not because of the strength of his arguments, but because they seem to float entirely on pretentious certainty.
Hitchens thumbed a ride on the Get Saddam! train and went from obscure leftist oddity (railing against the treachery of such villians as Mother Teresa) to recognizable pro-Bush pundit on the white-ringer chicken circuit. As a lefty amongst the Bushies, it hasn't improved his reasoning any. He seems to have been dumbed down to an embarassing level, even for a semi-reformed trotskyist.
Like everyone who advocated unprovoked war, Hitchens has had to slowly draw back many of his arguments as the facts manifest their utter absurdity. Which isn't to say that he has conceded to reality or has admitted to perpetuating lies; the man simply refuses to learn anything. Noticeably, his own jihad against pacifists and peaceniks has shifted. He has gone from calling pacifism an immoral cop out (shades of Mother Teresa!) to calling opponents of the Iraq War not really pacifists at all.
Although he has repeated himself constantly, his September article in the Weekly Standard best shows his either dubious or dishonest claims. He even reduces his war achievements to a list of 10 accomplishments "to be proud of."
Of these 10 accomplishments, we find at least 6 of these to be unrelated to the Iraqi invasion.
- Libya's surrender of a mothballed WMD program was the work of Clinton's diplomacy--but if this were a reaction to the Iraqi invasion, does Libya's WMD shutdown make up for Iran's WMD buildup, which is a direct response to the war in Iraq?
- A. Q. Khan's nuclear network was known to exist well before the Iraq invasion. Khan had also retired from his nuclear secrets business well before invasion.
- Significant reform in the UN is not happening, and having its most powerful member piss all over it will never be an instigator for productive change. The oil-for-food scandal has since been resolved and the UN largely exonerated.
- Before the war, Hans Blix was able to certify Iraq as disarmed. It wasn't the word of a madman, it was fucking Hans Blix who said there was nothing there.
- The progress of the Kurdish minority well before the war was actually something popularized by Hitchens himself! Whereas before the war the Kurds had their own autonomy and democratic experiment, now they must share in the troubles of greater Iraq's destabilization and blood feuds.
- Popular movements in Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon are not entirely unrelated to the US invasion of their neighbor. However, these movements are not empowered by the presence of a foreign army, they are provoked. We will likely see future popular movements more akin to the kind which swept out Iran's reformers to make way for Bush-style militarism.
Two of the accomplishments from his list are simply fantastical. There never was a Taliban-Baathist pact, and whatever point he was trying to make about France and Germany breaking treaties with Iran is simply unfathomable.
This leaves only one certifiable accomplishment: turning Iraq into a bloodbath for Islamists. Of course, it's also turning into a bloodbath for all Iraqis. And Americans.
Hitchens' last point, which seems to be the only argument he has left, is that the Iraq War is serving as a useful training ground for upcoming invasions.
The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.
Since September, Hitchens has coalesced his defense of the Iraq invasion almost entirely to the premise that the US needs to be conducting this occupation as a dry run for invasions to come.
Of all the ridiculous justifications for invading and occupying Iraq, Christopher Hitchens' assertion that the war was necessary because it offers valuable experience in invading and occupying other countries is perhaps the stupidest and most fascist apologetic we've ever heard. You can take the empire out of Britain, but you can't take imperialism out of the Briton.
For the first time in his career as a professional intellectual Hitchens has finally distinguished himself for the ages. Christopher Hitchens, for all his strained reasoning and effete bitchiness on so many issues, has conceived and delivered possibly the worst excuse for war ever delivered with a straight face. Without any literary achievements to speak of, Hitchens can finally be welcomed into the Western canon. We suggest face first.