Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Having caught Christopher Hitchens on the Dennis Miller show (don’t ask why) I saw that Hitchens’s reasoning for his support of Bush’s work in Iraq has fallen apart even within the narrow confines within which it made at least some sense. Hitchens’s post-9/11 line has been that we have long been in a state of war against jihad (to find out what this has to do with Iraq read on), but that only the Bushites have had the clarity and the courage to acknowledge this and to pursue the attack. Of course, Richard Clarke’s book and the news we keep hearing from the 9/11 commission prove otherwise, but Hitchens will not be deterred (he selectively uses Clarke’s book against Clarke’s own conclusions) It doesn’t matter that the Clinton administration was more aware of and engaged with the Al Qaeda threat than the Bush administration before 9/11--the litmus test of seriousness is whether or not we should have attacked Iraq last year. Say “Yes,” and you are a foe of terrorism; say “No” and you might as well strap a dynamite belt to your chest. In fact, I misstate: if you check out Hitichen’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal the litmus test turns out to be whether or not you supported marching into Baghad during Gulf War I. Confrontation with Iraq was inevitable according to this reasoning. And since going to war was something we would have had to do anyway, it doesn’t much matter what was said to us to garner support for that war. Of course, neither Hitchens nor the Bushites have the courage to admit that “prolonged occupation” is the only way to achieve their professed goal (Hitchens’s preferred, New Agey term is “intervention”), and that the only way to make such an occupation a success is to enlist the support of the world community and a majority of the US public. And so far Hitchens and W. have not shown the slightest inclination to do either.

the professor

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