by John Hawkins | October 31, 2002 11:20 pm
Hitchens Was Right When He Said…: I’m not a big fan of Christopher Hitchens. While he is a talented writer, I disagree with him on almost everything. However, Hitchens recently had a messy, public, split with the Nation over the war. I read an interview with Hitchens today on Front Page Magazine of all places and I thought some of the things he said were worth noting. Here are a few notable quotes from the interview….
Hitchens on the Left: “So the idea that the United States could use force with moral justification is to them totally alien. They can’t – they can’t go there. They won’t. But that is more a proof of their inflexibility than their attachment to principle. It’s an empty position. It’s a nihilistic position. If they said, “Yes, if bin Laden’s the only revolutionary, he may not be perfect, but we’re on his side,” well, I could sympathize. No – I won’t say sympathize, but I could see it, I could respect it. But they don’t do that. They look for bogus equivalencies that actually lead to a cop-out. “Well, he did this bad thing, but we’ve done this bad thing.” That leaves you exactly nowhere. And surely it should at least condemn both. In fact it appears to excuse both.”
Hitchens on Moral Equivalence: “The fallacy is one of moral equivalence. The motive for it, or the ruse of it, is – I prefer to call it masochistic. It’s a self-hatred. It’s a refusal to believe that you would ever be justified yourself in having the arrogance to define and defend yourself against or to destroy an enemy. That would surely make you no better than them. But this is disabling.”
Hitchens on the left’s protests: “The people who tend to raise antiwar slogans will do so generally when it’s American or British interests involved. Ramsey Clark didn’t organize a protest against Saddam Hussein’s attack on Iran, or Kuwait. He’s not antiwar to that extent. And nobody complained about the failure of the West – nobody complained in an organized street-protest way – about the failure of the West to rescue Rwanda. And nobody complained about Milosevic’s invasion of Bosnia – well, that’s not true, a lot of people did – but their juices only kicked in when there was intervention to remove him. Voilè! You see the bad faith of this all the way through. It culminates in the most fatuous slogan yet devised, which is: “Stop the war before it starts.” Which is a protest against removing either al-Qaida from Afghanistan or the Taliban from Afghanistan or both. Well, at this point it has to be said I think that the left has lost every moral and political element that made it a formidable force as an antiwar movement in the 1960s.”
Hitchens on quitting the Nation: “My quarrel isn’t with the editors. It’s with the readers. The magazine published a special Sept. 11 commemorative issue where they solicited letters from readers, “Tell us what Sept. 11 means to you.” I think they printed three pages of these. The revelation of what readers thought and how they thought was so depressing to me. …(T)here were three pages of them, all of which said: “Here’s what Sept. 11 means to me – I’ve discovered I live in a fascist state.” I said, “Well, that’s goodbye.” I don’t want to have anything to do with reinforcing that kind of public opinion. When I can’t persuade myself any longer that I’m just one among the columnists, I think I can’t recommend to anyone that they read the magazine.”
You can read the rest of the interview by going here.
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