Friday, October 22, 2004

Why I'm (Extremely) Sick of Hitchens

I was reading Christopher Hitchens' article for The Nation, about why he is "slightly" in favor of a Bush Presidency.
The article is singularly empty of good points.
Here are three things that stuck with me...

"You don't like 'smirking'? . . . [What about] the sneers about the astonishing success of our forces in Afghanistan, who are now hypocritically praised by many who opposed their initial deployment?"
Well, from what I remember, most people supported going into Afghanistan. But this shows the basis for Hitchens' position. He sees many liberals as cowards, I suppose, and unrealistic. They deride the war in a reactionary way, he thinks, and refuse to see the true nature of the threat.
Hitchens tries to make reasoned arguments and even qualifies them with words like "slightly". But these arguments fall flat as you realize that, though he brands others as cowards, his position is based in fear. He perceives a certain kind of threat in the Middle East and, for reasons NOT given in the article, thinks that Bush is better equipped to handle that threat.

"In Kabul recently, I interviewed Dr. Masuda Jalal, a brave Afghan physician who was now able to run for the presidency. I asked her about her support for the intervention in Iraq. 'For us,' she said, 'the battle against terrorism and against dictatorship are the same thing.' I dare you to snicker at simple-mindedness like that."
Of course many in Afghanistan support the war. They have good reasons, too. But the reasons why an Afghani or an Iraqi would support the war do not stand as reasons for the US to go to war. This implies the argument that "Well, Saddam was killing his own people." And that argument is a waste of breath. Any time we make an argument for war based on humanitarian reasons it is a waste of breath and tiresome.
Even Jalal qualifies her statement by saying "For us."
This, again, makes me wonder to whom Hitchens is talking. He is fighting a phantom self-righteousness with his own self-righteousness. Maybe this is a result of his own cognitive dissonance.
"The President, notwithstanding his shortcomings of intellect, has been able to say, repeatedly and even repetitively, the essential thing: that we are involved in this war without apology and without remorse."
I am so glad to have a President that can make a declarative statement. Does this make him strong? Does it make Bush stronger that he waltzed into a war without enough armor for the troops, without international help, without an admission that the war would mean nation-building?
Oh but look what Bush has done to keep us safe! - Nothing.
We are fighting the war over there so we don't have to fight it "on our own soil"! - We created the war over there and we will have to fight it on our own soil.

Give me an argument, Hitchens. Give me the other side. So far, you have explained nothing.