April 5, 2004

We suspect he was just drunk

I won't waste energy rebutting Christopher Hitchens' latest attempt to justify the occupation of Iraq. People who oppose the war can spot the problems with this argument themselves; those who support the war will find it unassailable. Let's face it, it's that kind of war. But there's one bit that's too good to let slide:

Given Saddam's record in both using and concealing weapons of mass destruction, and given his complicity--at least according to Mr. Clarke--with those who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and with those running Osama bin Laden's alleged poison factory in Sudan, any president who did not ask about a potential Baathist link to terrorism would be impeachably failing in his duty.

By "according to Mr. Clarke," of course, Hitchens means, "not according to me," at least regarding the Sudanese factory. That's right, Hitchens is trying to back up his argument with evidence that he himself vehemently disagrees with.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


As I remember, Hitchens argued passionately that the strike on the Sudanese factory was a really mean, nasty, callous thing to do, that deprived lots of people much needed medicine. And that it was a diversionary tactic from the Lewinski business. I think it was the first time I ever saw someone use the "Wag the Dog" analogy. I guess he could've been drunk then too. But at least he wasn't clinging cowardly to the coattails of authority. By now, I'd think even the Bush team is embarrassed by him.

I know Christopher and worked with him at The Nation years ago. He is truly against dictatorships and in that sense I can see how the idea regime change -- which I don't agree with -- is attractive after years of syrupy "human rights" speeches. 9/11 radicalized him as well as it did many.

I think he was wrong to follow the lead of the Bushies on this, and I think in the end, he'll come back to us.

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