Dept. of Self-Awareness

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In the same paragraph, Christopher Hitchens writes the following:

  • "This is an argument, about a real war, that deserves moral seriousness on all sides. Flippancy and light-mindedness have no place."
  • "[Michael Moore] is spouting fascistic nonsense"
  • "[Cindy Sheehan] should forgo prayer, stay in California, and end her protest."

NEXT: My ($595) Dinner With Novak

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  1. I guess the people who support the war should march on Crawford as well. Perhaps, we could determine wether to continue the war by how many people show up on each side with the amount of “moral authority” and victimhood each side can bring to the table. Is that how we want to decide political issues from now on? If Sheehan has all of this authority and effect on the debate over what should be the proper policy regarding Iraq, then that is how we are going to settle things from now on. What does Sheehan bring to the table other than victimhood and moral authority, whatever that is? Absolutely nothing. If her presence in Crawford has so much to say about the war in Iraq, then we might as well have the contest described above to decide American policy. Hitchens is right, she needs to be ignored.

  2. John — Actually, in the quoted text, he’s not saying “she needs to be ignored,” he’s saying “she should forgo prayer, stay in California, and end her protest.”

  3. Jeez John, take a poop or something. She’s just some middle age lady who isn’t particulary happy with Bush at the moment, like 60% of the country.

    There’s already been a few Potemkin anti-Sheehan protests, and they’re probably be more. Why don’t you join them?

    The best thing for the Bushbots to do is just let this blow over. Some time in the next 3000 years Bush’s sprawling French-like vacation will be over and the whole Crawford thing will fold up.

  4. Frame 1:

    Pic: man at service counter

    Caption:
    “Hit’n’Run is stealing my ideas.”

    Frame 2:

    Pic: Reveal of other side of counter shows that Jefferson is behind the counter.

    Caption: “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.”

  5. So, what, you’re claiming Hitchens is incoherent? Very good. Now what sound does a cow make? 🙂

    Having struggled through Hitchens for years and years, I’ve come to a handful of conclusions:

    1) He can’t tell the difference between “good writing” and “big words”.
    2) He can’t tell the difference between “wit” and “big words”.
    3) He can’t tell the difference between “coherent arguments” and “big words”

    That goes on a bit, but the biggest and most telling is this: Hitchens has always wanted to be something of a visionary. One of those rare people who stand out from a crowd because of a deeper insight into some aspect of politics, science, government, humanity, etc.

    These people tend to hold unpopular views, but over time the sheer rightness of their beliefs brought others to them. This isn’t terribly surprising — if you see things others don’t, odds are you’re coming to a different conclusion. And, if you’re right, sooner or later everyone’s going to notice and come to that same conclusion themselves.

    Hitchens problem is that he only grasped the “contrary views” part. He doesn’t actually have that many penetrating insights or deeper understanding, so he tries to fake it by staking out contrarian viewpoints and using what he feels is clever rhetoric.

  6. Brian,

    I won’t join the anti-Sheehan protestors because the whole exercise on both sides is stupid. Until someone explains to me what she has to say about the war beyond the obvious fact that war sucks and it really sucks to be one of the people killed in one, I fail to see why she is worth one whit of attention. In fact to give her attention in the name of advancing the cause against the Iraq war is to do nothing but exploit this poor woman’s grief.

  7. I guess the people who support the war should march on Crawford as well.

    Don’t read the news much, eh?

    (Note how The Liberal Media labels the Bush supporters’ camp a “patriotic camp.” The implication is left as an exercise for the reader.)

  8. Phil,

    I know they are. My question to you is, do you think we should stay in Iraq just because a bunch of people with nothing else to do marched on Crawford? The point is that debate by symbol and protest is no debate at all.

  9. John,

    You sure spend a lot of energy ignoring her.

  10. Morat,

    Excellent analysis. I’ve always thought Hitchens to be an incredibly talented writer with nothing to say.

  11. JC,

    If only I could.

  12. John,

    Why does it bother you so much that an American citizen is excersizing her 1st amendment right? If you think she really has nothing to say, stop reading about her and stop posting about her. For someone who is soooo insignificant, you seem to be spending a lot of time attacking her.

  13. Hitchens can still be an entertaining writer every now & again — and, on occasion, a worthwhile journalist. But he’s really desperately seeking something to believe since he dumped his once-dearly-held Communist beliefs.

    He has become a sad caricature, a bloated version of David Horowitz, but more tragic because I don’t believe Hitchens was a CIA plant in the left like Horowitz always was. It’s weird how the most vehemently atheistic people often need a set of religious-style rules & authority to tell them what to do and what to think, and this is about the only way to explain the grand failure of an intellect like Hitchens’. He converted to Bushist anti-Islamic Fundamentalism (itself a ridiculously hyped creation of Bush’s masters) and goddammit, he will Stay The Course.

    Another keyboard diagnosis: Those who actually believe (or believed) in total state control of society & economy make fine converts to the “New Republicanism,” which also demands total control & total loyalty. Totalitarianism is totalitarianism, after all. Hitchens’ libertarian tendencies begin and end with his mouth & what he sticks in there.

    Oh, and he’s a “drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay.”

  14. “The best thing for the Bushbots to do is just let this blow over.”

    The realization that what we got in Iraq wasn’t worth some 14,000 wounded Americans and some 1,800 dead, how long will it take for that to blow over?

    “Until someone explains to me what she has to say about the war beyond the obvious fact that war sucks and it really sucks to be one of the people killed in one, I fail to see why she is worth one whit of attention.”

    She suggests that what we got in the Iraq War isn’t worth the sacrifices we made. This suggestion refutes our leadership since, at least, just before the invasion. If that isn’t worth our attention, I don’t know what is.

    …Wanna get my attention. Tell me that what we got in Iraq was worth the sacrifices, and then tell me why.

    “In the same paragraph, Christopher Hitchens writes the following:”

    Black-listed at both the NYT and Vanity Fair and on the same day too! Why not go for the hat trick?

  15. Chicago Tom,

    I have never written one bad word about Sheehan in any of the these posts. I think she is a nut, not so much for opposing the war but for all of the other things she has said (i.e. the war was for Isreal, the U.S is a terrorist country and not worth dying for, ect..) I have attacked her supporters. My point is that her grief says nothing one way or another about the war and that we have got to stop debating policy in this country by symbol and protest.

  16. John,

    “Until someone explains to me what she has to say about the war beyond the obvious fact that war sucks and it really sucks to be one of the people killed in one, I fail to see why she is worth one whit of attention.”

    How about, the president lied to us about why her son was sent to war, keeps changing his story.

    You don’t get to pretend that things you don’t like aren’t there.

  17. It’s good old political theater. Cindy Sheehan is Joan Crawford to Hitchens’ Monty Wolly. Bush is Jimmy Stewart, Cheney is John Garfield. Condi Rice is Hattie McDaniel after the Oscar.

  18. I’m a little suprised at the shots Hitchens is taking. That guy writes with more verve, humor and courage than almost any essayist out there. The shots he takes at Mother Teresa, and Cindy Sheehan and every other bindly respected figure entertains to no end.

    Given how easy it is to reserve a domain name and launch a netzine, it gets harder and harder to find a must-read author (this website excepted), and I think Hitchens is it. I disagreed with the war, but he offers the most compelling reasons for it that I’ve read. Even when he’s wrong, he’s a good writer.

  19. Ken Layne,

    You think Horowitz was a CIA plant? OMG, where do they find the people who post on this site sometimes?

  20. Who so belongs only to his age, references only trotskyist popenjays and mumbo jumbos.

  21. Joe,

    I don’t pretend anything is not there. Whatever your delusions are are your own business. That said, if you want to have a serious debate about the nature of the intelligence surrounding Iraq leading up to the war and the nature of the threat posed by Saddam, that is fine, we can have that debate. Whatever the merits on either side of that debate are, I still fail to see how the fact that there are grieving mothers with whacked out political views has anything to do with it.

  22. Black-listed at both the NYT and Vanity Fair and on the same day too! Why not go for the hat trick?

    NPR?

  23. Sassafrass: That’s like saying, “He’s a great house painter, but he shits all over your carpets in the process.”

    … Well, not really. But I wanted to share the stupid analogy I just made up.

  24. First sentence, from John:

    “I have never written one bad word about Sheehan in any of the these posts.”

    Second sentence, from John:

    “I think she is a nut”

    You sure fixed that, John.

  25. “Whatever the merits on either side of that debate are, I still fail to see how the fact that there are grieving mothers with whacked out political views has anything to do with it.”

    You’re either flailing or you really just don’t get it!

    She points out that what we bought isn’t worth the price we paid.

    Do you think it was worth it? Why?

  26. Ken,

    Every war results in people getting killed. No war no matter how just or well concieved and executed is without casualties.

    She points out that what we bought isn’t worth the price we paid.

    How so? There are 100s just like her, who lost sons and daughters in Iraq who support the war. Why do they not point out that it is worth the price?

  27. Oh, I have no idea if Horowitz was a plant. But with all the historically established CIA & FBI plants in the leftist / student / antiwar / negro rights movements of the 50s & 60s, Horowitz certainly seems like an ideal disinfo guy, doesn’t he? And how perfect to turn into whatever he is today …

  28. Ken,

    I wish the CIA were that good because few people have more effectively discredited the 1960s left than Horowitz. Somehow I don’t think the CIA was quite up to the task.

  29. John, you asked what Sheehan was saying beyond the obvious “war is bad and people died.” I told you what else she’s saying – that the president lied to us to get us into this war, and keeps changing his story when the old one is disproven. Whether hearing those sentiments expressed gets you pissy or not, those are the ideas Sheehan is expressing, beyond “war is bad and people die” – ideas you want to pretend are absent, so you can whack away at your straw man.

  30. Herr Moore ISN’T spouting fascistic nonsense?

  31. Personally, I think it is far too soon to know the results of the Iraq invasion. It will take a few decades before anyone can reasonably evaluate the costs and benefits. The problem, as I see it, is that 99% of the world (including the esteemed posters here) will have made up their minds long before we know and thus be unable to do anything but see the evidence that supports their long held judgements.

  32. Cuz “Herr” is a German word! Get it? It’s GERMAN! Like, you know…German? Fascist? Come on, name a German fascist! You know!

    Look, he’s “Herr Moore…”

  33. few people have more effectively discredited the 1960s left than Horowitz.

    Funny, I’ve always thought that few people have more effectively discredited the *former* 1960s left….

  34. Joe,

    I don’t agree with your dipiction of the run up to the war at all, but that is another argument. The point is that the fact that she lost a son in Iraq adds nothing to the validity or lack thereof of her arguments. She is saying nothing that you and people like you don’t say on Hit and Run daily. She is entitled to no more press coverage for her views than you are.

  35. Hey Matt,

    I never too you for the radical chic type. Learn something new every day.

  36. Black-listed at both the NYT and Vanity Fair and on the same day too! Why not go for the hat trick? – Ken Shultz

    The Nation? Harper’s?

  37. joe – when did Bush change his story?

    Bush, September 2002, United Nations address:

    In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities — which the Council said, threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored. ?

    Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq. ?

    Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable — the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. ?

    If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond.

    (Courtesy of Free Frank Warner, A[nother] Liberal for Liberation)

  38. Yikes,

    How dare you bring facts into this argument!! Bush Lied People Died. Cindy Sheehan told me so!!

  39. “Why do they not point out that it is worth the price?”

    I had an uncle who died as a result of Vietnam. His wife–who never remarried–is convinced, I believe, that Vietnam was an incredibly worthwhile cause. Given the choice, I think I’d have let the Communists have Vietnam way back when–so long as it meant I got my uncle back. …But you can’t convince my aunt, or her kids for that matter, that Vietnam was a bad idea. No way.

    Some people judge the value of an objective by the size of the sacrifice. I guess I’m different that way, ’cause I look at the value of the objective beforehand and determine whether the requisite sacrifice is worth it or not.

    …But we’re not even talking about looking ahead here. Looking back, what did we gain in the Iraq War that makes you think it justified 1,800 dead Americans and 14,000 wounded?

  40. I always figured Horowitz and Hitchens and those sort of “recovering” lefties have moved right because you’re not gonna get any of that Regnery/Scaife/Murdoch money writing pamphlets for the Peoples’ Daily Worker and the like.

    Moore is a commie people. Not a fascist. Get it straight. A commie who happens to make films that make him and other people money. Although I bet the blogosphere in its self-correcting wisdom will soon embrace the “commie-nazi” concept for laid out in that episode of the Simpsons.

  41. John — It’s more that I’ve never been much impressed with Trotskyites & other Marxists, regardless of what team they’re playing for this week. Bad habits of mind and argumentation are much harder to change than political stripes.

  42. Yikes, you left this quote out, from the same speech:

    “Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.”

  43. Ken Layne

    “He has become a sad caricature, a bloated version of David Horowitz, but more tragic because I don’t believe Hitchens was a CIA plant in the left like Horowitz always was.”

    Thats funny becouse I always thought the CIA was communist plant in the US government. 🙂

    What makes you think the CIA represents the right?

  44. John, on the merits, she probably doesn’t “deserve” any more press coverage than, say, Jennifer. However, people like you have so effectively used emotional imagery to control the debate in the media that merit alone cannot get anti-war positions into the mainstream media. It took somebody who you can’t smear with the same old slime you’ve been peddling for three years to break through the bubble. Suddenly Mr. Mushroom Cloud, Mr. “Objectively pro-Saddam,” Mr. Plastic Shredder is offeneded that emotional imagery gets you press coverage. Spare me.

  45. This one is way too easy.

    Hitchens, like almost the entire staff of the National Review, and many others, cannot admit to being just spectacularly and wholly wrong about the Iraq War, from before Day 1–NOTHING has gone as they said it would. This failure on their part is not due to just ordinary embarrassment, but embarrassment magnified by the squandering of thousands upon thousands of lives, while they peddle their bullshit from their comfy homes in Manhattan or in the suburbs (not to mention the hundereds of billions of dollars they are having the US piss away–which they don’t). Everything has to be “worth it”.

    So, these disingenuous fucks will twist everything and anything they can, in the face of logic, reason and the plain facts on the ground, to evade their grotesque errors, and to change the subject, even if they have to fabricate a new one.

    Hitchens is drunken, squandered intellect, hopelessly lost in his own Trotskyite fantasies of a better world through firepower.

    Next case.

  46. Matt’s out-of-context quoting of Hitchens in the original post looks pretty deceitful, having read the full article.

  47. Ken B,

    That’s irrelevant to the point I made. To reiterate: the war debate did not begin and end with WMD. Rather, we had a hearty public discussion based on the evidence available to us and our elected officials, and George Bush specifically said, before the war, that replacing the totalitarian regime in Baghdad was a strategic component of our national security.

    Perhaps the American people shouldn’t blame the President when Congress punts to him and shirks its duty to debate and declare (or not declare) war.

  48. What makes me think that its justified is that Saddam was a horrible tyrant who was killing 10,000 people a month. Further, he made no secret about his desire to terrorize his neighbors and be the unquestioned leader of the Arab world. True, he was being contained by sanctions. Those sanctions were exacting a terrible tole on the Iraqi people. Further, the sanctions were breaking down. We know that the oil for food program was nothing but a scam that was allowing him to rearm. Further, the other Security Council permanent members sans the UK were loosing their stomach for continued sanctions. The regime could not go on as it was. Had we not invaded Iraq, the alternative would have been to have eventually dropped the sanctions and welcomed Saddam back into the world community. What we know now, but obviously didn’t then, was that Saddam has stopped his WMD programs but was bluffing that he had them and was waiting for the sanctions to end to restart the programs. Had the U.S. not invaded it would have been confronted in ten years or so with a Huisan led Iraq bent on dominating the middle east armed with WMDs. That is not a pleasant reality.

    Further, Saddam was supporting terrorism. He was offering bounties to the families of suicide bombers in Israel and providing safe haven for the likes of Abu Abbas and Al Zakarwi. Even if Saddam was not involved in 9-11, after the success of 9-11, it defies reason to believe that Saddam would not have used terrorism in his avowed war against the United States.

    Lastly, 9-11 showed that we can no longer allow horrible oppressive governments to exist in the middle-east. We had to start somewhere and Saddam was begging to be made an example of. Perhaps it is naive to believe that you can build a democracy in Iraq and a government that respects basic human rights. That said, it is certainly a noble project one worth dying for.

  49. Yikes, I don’t attach a great deal of significance to the fact that Bush included the same “We’re bringing freedom to a benighted land, here look at the kitten!” language in his war speeches that every politician who ever started a war throws in for domestic consumption.

    Anyway, it wasn’t the “freeance” language I was referring to anyway.

  50. *tactical* component of our national security strategy.

    Pardon my horrid grammar.

  51. Ken Shultz

    “She suggests that what we got in the Iraq War isn’t worth the sacrifices we made. This suggestion refutes our leadership since, at least, just before the invasion. If that isn’t worth our attention, I don’t know what is.”

    One problem with this is that the ones actually making the sacrifices overwhelmingly support Bush and the Iraqi war effort. They were not bitching about not having armor durring the election so they could pull out…they wanted so they could fight and win.

    If you are going to use Sheehan as your postor child then i get to use her son and the 1000s of soldiers who volonteered as my poster children…anyway Christefer is right. This is not the debate and is not seriouse. Soldiers do not decide forign policy anymore then mothers of soldiers do.

  52. John–

    I don’t think she is “entitled” to the press coverage either. But she is getting it because (a) no one can validly question that she has paid a price in this war, (b) she is willing to stand in the Texas sun and ask “why?” while Bush vacations, and (c) Bush has no answer for her, because he has used them all up. The most recent answer, “a free and democratic Iraq, city on a hill, etc.” even if true, might not have been the sort of thing Americans want to die for in the first place, and anyway, it’s all going up in so much Islamic-based-constitution smoke.
    I think some of the things she says are off as well. She conflates the Afghan war and the Iraq war in a way that I think is simply wrong. And yet, even on that point, are our mistakes in Afghanistan unrelated to Iraq, really? Can we know for sure that resources were not held back from that campaign to prepare for Iraq? In light of what we know now (i.e., how quickly after 9/11 we wanted to go after Iraq, how we may have let UBL go free for want of forces at Tora Bora), does it not seem very likely that was the case? Are not the tactics developed by the insurgents in Iraq, and maybe even the actual practictioners of the tactics, being exported to Afghanistan now? Are our efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the true War on Terror not distracted and undermined by the Iraq debacle?
    At heart, what Sheehan is saying is “my son died for a lie.” That lie now taints everything we are trying to accomplish in the fight against Islamic extremism. Sheehan can be wrong on the specifics and still be Right on the big picture. Stated another way, she has some of her facts mixed up, but what she says about Bush is True. That’s why she is getting the press, that is why she is getting smeared by the right wing machine.

  53. “That said, it is certainly a noble project one worth dying for.”

    Our hearts are pure! Our hearts are pure! We’re not bad people, really! We didn’t mean for this to happen. We just really didn’t see it coming.

  54. Matt’s out-of-context quoting of Hitchens in the original post looks pretty deceitful, having read the full article.

    Quotation (while providing a hyperlink to the whole column, and not otherwise characterizing it in any way) is now “deceitful”? Awesome!

  55. Sheehan can be wrong on the specifics and still be Right on the big picture. Stated another way, she has some of her facts mixed up, but what she says about Bush is True. That’s why she is getting the press, that is why she is getting smeared by the right wing machine.

    Wow.

  56. “That said, it is certainly a noble project one worth dying for.”

    So easy to say, so much harder to practice.

  57. Joe,

    What do you think? Do you think the world was better with Saddam and if so, how would you have delt with him? More importantly, how is anything you have to say any more than just Monday morning quarterbacking? Its hard and some people are getting killed and so everyone who supports the war is evil. Its an amazing piece of projection on your part. You whine all the time about how people who support the war allegedly only question the motives of people who are against the war. But then you of course will never admit that there was even one noble reason to rid the world of one of its worst tyrants or that anyone who supports the war could have anything other than ignorent or cynical reasons for doing so.

  58. Quotation (while providing a hyperlink to the whole column, and not otherwise characterizing it in any way) is now “deceitful”? Awesome!

    “Deceitful” was probably too strong a word, but your snippets included without their context give an impression very different to the actual content of his article.

    For example, calling on Sheehan to “forgo prayer” in the same paragraph as he denounces “flippancy” in the war debate sounds inconsistent, until you actually read the article and realize he’s referring back to his first paragraph, in which he characterizes Sheehan’s request for Bush to join her for a prayer session as the kind of flippancy he’s upset about.

  59. Yikes —

    To reiterate: the war debate did not begin and end with WMD

    But it was the peg on which Bush hung his Cowboy Hat. Do you believe that people/Congress would have suppored an invasion if it were mainly to “liberate” Iraq (as opposed to the invented WMD danger)? Neither did Bush, which is why he focused on WMD, and buried “liberation” in the last minutes of his 2003 SOTU, a point when most folks had stopped paying attention and gotten back to their wine (myself included).

    Also, I don’t remember much hearty public discussion. Plenty of rhetoric, based on bad information, from the Presidential Pulpit though.

  60. John,

    “Bush Lied” is a hell of a lot closer to the truth than the crap you’re trying to peddle here. I’ll lay it on the line – your arguments are so very close to right-wing talking points that I doubt you ever served in Iraq.

  61. Do I think the world was better off with Saddam? Tell me, John, do you think the world’s better off now that that Iraqi kid who got his arms and legs burned off? And are you still beating your wife?

    I’d like to try an experiment: can an Iraq hawk even approximate fair and decent discourse? Try asking me that question in a manner that doesn’t attempt to steal any bases, and I’ll answer it.

  62. “One problem with this is that the ones actually making the sacrifices overwhelmingly support Bush and the Iraqi war effort.”

    Before my response, I’d like to point out that as a patriotic American, I resent any suggestion that not being in the military myself means that I haven’t made any sacrifices for the war. Every dead or wounded American is a sacrifice–a sacrifice not felt as acutely as a loved one but a sacrifice nonetheless.

    …My opposition to the war, from the start, was always predicated on the insistence that the lives of American troops are too precious to squander on anything but self-defense. …I don’t ask for whom the bell tolls.

    ..and I’m not saying you were suggesting otherwise–I’m just sayin’.

    To the point, I think I answered this sufficiently in another comment above, maybe you missed it?

    People who make big sacrifices for things tend to value those things relative to the size of their sacrifices. No one suggested that such people didn’t overwhelmingly support the Iraq War.

    …but that doesn’t mean they were right to do so.

  63. I’d like to try an experiment: can an Iraq hawk even approximate fair and decent discourse?

    So… ironic… can’t… respond!

  64. “The most recent answer, “a free and democratic Iraq, city on a hill, etc.” even if true, might not have been the sort of thing Americans want to die for in the first place…”

    Had this been the reason that the average American was given from the outset, I think that the average American may well have given more support to this war.

    I pay attention to the news, and I looked at the buildup to this war, and I never once remember reading or hearing on NPR that these were the reasons given at the UN. Everything in MSM was all about the WMDs.

    I seem to be one of the few who is shifting away from non-support, toward support of more troops and a bigger push to support the democratic/federalist process in Iraq. It’s emotional, for me–not libertarian, but in complete support of a process that may eventually result in the re-establishment of equality for women.

    I am giving it my support because I believe in certain unalienable rights, and I am becoming convinced that it is a worthy cause to try to establish those rights in parts of the world that do not have them. I think many Americans do believe that is a worthy goal.

    When can we start on Darfur?

  65. MD,

    March 2003 until September 2003. I don’t care whose talking points they are. They are still true. Fuck you and the horse you road in on by the way.

  66. I love to debate the war, but I find fewer and fewer sane people with whom to do it with. Most people fit MD profile type of the “Bush lied people died” mantra. Its hysterical to listen jerks like Josh talk about reasoned debate when most of them are just plain old fashioned nuts when it comes to the subject of Bush or the war.

  67. “More importantly, how is anything you have to say any more than just Monday morning quarterbacking?”

    Well, there’s the fact that I was saying all of these things before the war started.

    And by “all of these things,” I mean specifically 1) we are not threatened by Iraqi WMDs, 2) Iraq was not involved in September 11, and is not cooperating with Al Qaeda, 3) an invasion of Iraq will encourage terrorism, 4) we cannot impose democracy on another country; it has to come from within, 5) an invasion of Iraq will take resources and attention away from Afhanistan and Al Qaeda, and 6) regardless of the merits of the war, the administration is too stupid, dishonest, and incompetent to carry it our properly.

    These facts may just be dawning on you, but many millions of us (known as the “reality based community”) realized them three years ago.

  68. John
    Is the world a better place with Kim Jong Il? How would you deal with him? Is the world a better place with Mugabe? How would you deal with him? There are lots of bad men out there in the world. Saying that the price we payed, both in distraction from the GWOT, I mean GSAVE, the terrorists being created by Iraq and the reduction of our strategic capability to deal with actual threats does not mean that Saddam is a good man.

  69. Joe,

    The reality based community was too busy protesting the war in Afghanistan and telling the world how it was going to result in mass death and tragedy and lecturing us on how we deserved 9-11 to have put out many of those thoughts. Further, they were also the same people who spent the late 1990s doing their best to end the sanctions on Iraq. The fact is that sanctions could not go on as they were. You are basically saying that we were better off welcoming Saddam back into the world community than getting rid of him. I think that is incredibly nieve to believe that he would not have been a threat once the sanctions were lifted.

  70. John,

    We seem to disagree on two main points.

    1) I believe that the purpose of the military is to defend the rights and freedoms of the American people.

    …Not the Iraqi people.

    2) I remain unconvinced that invading Iraq did anything to make the American people safer from terrorism and I am highly skeptical of Reverse Domino Theory.

  71. MD,

    Kin Jong Ill is a bigger threat than Saddam. If I could rid the world of him at the cost of 1,800 American lives, I would do it in a minute. Unfortunately, to get rid of him would kill about a million innocent South Koreans and God knows how many 1000s of Americans. You eliminate tyrants where you can. Just because you can’t get rid of all of them doesn’t mean you should not get rid of any of them.

  72. I’ll go so far as to say that, while Iraq was a hellhole under Saddam, it’s WORSE now that he’s gone. At least for the fifty percent of Iraqis who are female. Sharia law’s being implemented, and women who a few years ago had secular, independent lives, and professional jobs, and a variety of friends both male and female, are now forced to take the veil and basically spend their lives under gender-based house arrest. Wow, yeah, THAT was worth the death of Sheehan’s son.

  73. Ken,

    I believe that 9-11 showed us that the security of Americans is dependent on the security of the rest of the world and in places like Iraq. But that is the debate. Its a close call. What would be nice is if both sides would at least admit that there is a rational case to be made each way rather then Bush is Chimp blah blah, level of discourse.

  74. john,

    “Its hysterical to listen jerks like Josh talk about reasoned debate when most of them are just plain old fashioned nuts when it comes to the subject of Bush or the war.”

    wait what josh are you talking about? I think we are both hawks…are we nut hawks and you are a sane hawk? I am very confused.

  75. Ken Layne said:

    “He converted to Bushist anti-Islamic Fundamentalism (itself a ridiculously hyped creation of Bush’s masters) and goddammit, he will Stay The Course.”

    How exactly is this ridiculously hyped??? Before I use a rhetorical device such as the Twin Towers I’ll give you a chance to respond.

  76. Jennifer,

    You are dead wrong. Iraq is a lot better now than it was under Saddam. Iraqi opinion polls show that the vast majority of Iraqis believ that. Further, Iraq is the size of Texas. Vast areas of the country in the Kurdish North and Shia south are thriving and living without the threat of Saddam. Millions of people in these areas are better off. You never hear about them because the press never leaves Bahgdad. The insurgency is concentrated in the West and in the center. Even in those areas, you have to remember that Saddam killed with impunity in those areas. So, the deaths in those areas due to the war have to be somewhat counterbalenced by the deaths that have not occurred because Saddam is gone.

  77. One problem with this is that the ones actually making the sacrifices overwhelmingly support Bush and the Iraqi war effort. They were not bitching about not having armor durring the election so they could pull out…they wanted so they could fight and win.

    Actually, I thought they were bitching about armor because they had an aversion to shrapnal.

    Obviously, I was wrong. They were making a political statement regarding the war, not a pragmatic statement regarding their vulnerability to high-velocity chunks of metal.

    Silly me.

  78. josh,

    I was referring to Josh with a capital J, whoever he is.

  79. John–

    Perhaps I see things differently than you, because I belong to the fifty percent of humanity that would be under permanent house arrest if I lived there. Sharia’s being implemented into their Constitution, and MANY women are protesting that. And many of the protesters are having acid flung in their faces for daring to act so unwomanly.

  80. Jennifer,

    Bullshit. The Shias in southern Iraq are not the Taliban. They would not put you under house arrest. I don’t beleive that any Arab or shia democracy will turn into the Taliban. Perhaps I am just not racist enough to see the truth, but I don’t think democracy in Iraq is going to destroy woman’s rights.

  81. John,
    Iraq has cost a lot more than 1800 lives. There have been tens of thousands (or more, depending on which numbers you believe) dead Iraqis. Our security and credibility have been reduced due to the invasion in Iraq. We are creating more terrorists than there were before we invaded Iraq and our friends’ support that we had in Afghanistan has been reduced to to the unjustified invasion.

    Contrary to what Yikes said above, most Americans’ support of the Iraq invasion was based on fears of WMDs and a link to 9-11. Both of which have been proven false. Pulling isolated lines out of speeches to say, “See this was the goal the whole time” is disingenuous at best.

    I’ve never heard the “Bush is a Chimp” level of discourse here. Maybe at DU, but not here.

  82. Well John I’m not sure how I’m a jerk or even where I talked about ‘reasoned debate,’ so I don’t really know what you’re getting at.

  83. jennifer

    “Sharia law’s being implemented, and women who a few years ago had secular, independent lives, and professional jobs, and a variety of friends both male and female, are now forced to take the veil and basically spend their lives under gender-based house arrest.”

    WEll all this remains to be seen…but from what i see it appears that woman can vote, hold office, pursue an education and pursue a carrier and have a free press to critisize inequality…are you reading or watching something i am not…also yes many iraqi women before the invasion lived secular (what ever that means) lives in the major cities, but not in smaller comunities and without a free press to expose the inequility.

  84. April–

    Those are great sentiments, and I don’t doubt your sincerity, but if the average woman in Iraq has now or ends up with in the near future (like 20 years) anything approaching what we would consider to be equality for women, I’ll eat my hat. That was one thing women actually had under Hussein– one of the most secular, least Islamist, set of rights for women in the Muslim world. As John would be quick to point out, one of the equal rights was the right to get yourself thrown into a woodchipper, but hey.

    But I agree that support for the war in the long term might have been secured by a more honest campaign for the war, focusing on the ultimate failure and destruction of the sanctions, Hussein’s intent once sanctions were lifted, the cost of mainaining a military presence to contain him, etc. It would have taken a while to convince Americans that those reasons were worth their blood. And maybe it would not have worked after all. But talk of mushroom clouds and whatnot was the easy way to rile the public, and, in the words of one administration official whose name I cannot recall right now, “it was the reason for war everyone could agree on.” There were plenty of good reasons, in theory, to take out Hussein (whether those reasons would have justified the costs is another matter). Actual, existing WMD’s were not among the good reasons, however, and for that Bush has paid a price. And there was never a good reason, other than political expediency, to take out Hussein with half the troops required to properly occupy the country.

  85. If we could all cool down for a moment and reflect on the awesome level of political namecalling that has gone on for the past 6 years. I think some of the most ridiculous nicknames for candidates and political parties have popped up, and been adopted by some as the true names of their enemies. Examples:
    Chimpler McBushiburton (et alia)
    Lurch
    The Silky Pony
    Shrub
    Curious George
    Rethuglicans
    Repugs
    Demoncrats
    Demorats
    RINOs (Republican in name only, like that scallywag McCain hehe)

    Can anyone else think of any? I just find it all very amusing. Maybe I could write a book about it.

  86. Well,

    FWIW, I think Hitch is one of the few people who hasnt changed their tune about Iraq from the beginning, and has presented the clearest and best argued pro-war case, in my view, to date.

    He also has presented the clearest points undermining the ‘moral authority’ of the anti-war crowd, who disingenuously mouth ‘solidarity with oppressed peoples’, while not caring a whit what really happens to them. (i.e. “Lets let Iraq go to shit because of our ‘NOTBUSH’ meme!”)

    That said, Hitch can’t help sounding like a dick a lot of the time. Because he IS a dick. Just a smarter dick than most.

    I didnt get the last paragraph either. He drinks a whole lotta coffee. But im not sure it’s a total lack of self awareness. I might reread that in a year and be suddenly enlightened.

    Or not.

    JG

  87. Mike: Because it doesn’t really exist, that’s how it’s ridiculously hyped.

    Yelling “al qaeda!” every time a car bomb goes off in a country that’s torn apart by civil war, a brutal occupying army and the competing violent interests of Iran, Saudi Arabia & Syria is just putting a simple bogeyman’s mask on a swirling mess of failed-state / failed-occupation chaos. And the War Bosses couldn’t give a shit if Iraq settles down today or next year or in 12 years, as we’re now being prepped for. (That’s probably not quite accurate; a simple financial argument can be made that it’s in the Pentagon’s & defense contractors’ direct interest for the chaos in Iraq to continue for another dozen years. We will not break the resolve of stockholders who’ve seen 71% gains across the top five defense stocks since 9/11! Never forget!)

    There *was* an Al Qaeda. It was a computer database of CIA-trained mujahadeen from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. And a couple of those characters have — always after the fact, and with no real evidence of involvement — routinely taken credit for anything that gets a TERRORISM headline. They win, too, because they get to act like they actually do run some magical worldwide operation … which encourages the more pathetic fundamentalists to asplode themselves now & then, which makes the Global Islamic Terror Company seem real again, etc. & etc.

    There is no organized worldwide Islamic terror group run by some scary guy in a cave. You know that, Hitchens knows that, the White House certainly knows it, and yet this ridiculous fiction remains the code with which politicians and pundits must speak, even on the “Left” … even on a libertarian site like this one!

  88. “Unfortunately, to get rid of [KJI] would kill about a million innocent South Koreans and God knows how many 1000s of Americans.”

    And big war with giant china army! We kick you reel good, jus like before! Try it soldierboy!

  89. Gilmore,

    You are right, Hitch is a jerk. A smart jerk and a pretty funny jerk sometimes, but he is a jerk. He really is an independent thinker and because of that if you look hard enough he will have said something you agree with and since he such a good writer he probably said it better than you could have. This fact sometimes clouds the fact that he really is kind of a nasty person.

  90. IMHO it’s incorrect to think that support for the war would have been better if the goals of making Iraq a democracy or merely regime change because he was bad were stated. In fact I believe that many AMericans would have viewed it as nation building and would have been very against it. Maybe some more “lefties” would have supported it, but I think you would have lost a LOT of support from the “righties”. I don’t think that selling a war to the American people without convincing them that we are at direct risk would have been feasable. That would have put the war squarely into the “war of choice” category without the ability to refute that categorization. And I don’t think too many Americans are willing to support wars of choice.

    Besides it would have given fodder to any candidate who opposed Bush when he would have trotted out Bush’s “No Nation Building” pledge from the Bush/Gore campaign. Politically the Mushroom cloud rationale seems like the only way to go.

  91. EXCERPTS FROM THE HAPPY LIVES WE AMERICANS BROUGHT TO THE WOMEN OF IRAQ (link below):

    Across the country, a steady clampdown on women’s rights has been going unreported and unchecked by the government. Islamic terrorism is killing and injuring Iraqi women daily, employing among other weapons, acid attacks. . . . . .n March this year, for example, followers of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr targeted an outing of students from Basra University. Playing football and listening to music, the mixed group was attacked in Basra Public Park. One male student was killed trying to defend his female friends against Islamists who literally tore the women’s clothes off their bodies. Sadr’s men photographed the dishevelled, half-dressed women, and told them that their parents would receive the photos if they didn’t refrain in future from “immoral” behaviour. . . .So-called “honour killings” are rife, as is the kidnapping and rape of women. Beheadings have occurred and women have been sold into sexual servitude. When I was in Baghdad a few months ago, I couldn’t go anywhere without a bodyguard. . . . .Leaflets, graffiti and verbal warnings in their thousands warn women against going out unveiled, against putting on make-up, and against shaking hands or mixing with men. Female doctors have been prevented from treating male patients, and male doctors warned not to attend to women. . . . .

    http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article305879.ece

  92. Ken B,

    But it was the peg on which Bush hung his Cowboy Hat. Do you believe that people/Congress would have suppored an invasion if it were mainly to “liberate” Iraq (as opposed to the invented WMD danger)?

    Bush didn’t hang his cowboy hat on any one peg. He sold a package deal. Congress could have said no. The American people could have said no. The American people could have voiced displeasure at the polls in November as well.

    Similar, from joe,

    I don’t attach a great deal of significance to the fact that Bush included the same “We’re bringing freedom to a benighted land, here look at the kitten!” language in his war speeches that every politician who ever started a war throws in for domestic consumption.

    See? It’s almost forumulaic:

    (All the Stuff Bush Said Before the War – What Bush Said About Democratization) = WMDs/Bush Lied.

    The fact is that Bush didn’t change his story. Period. He gave everybody plenty of warning.

    (Also from Ken B)Also, I don’t remember much hearty public discussion. Plenty of rhetoric, based on bad information, from the Presidential Pulpit though.

    Did you sleep from September ’01 through March ’03? In a coma or something? You don’t remember Hans Blix, David Kay, Dominique de Villepin, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair, Congress, or the grassroots battles on all sides? Surely you jest.

  93. He also has presented the clearest points undermining the ‘moral authority’ of the anti-war crowd, who disingenuously mouth ‘solidarity with oppressed peoples’, while not caring a whit what really happens to them. (i.e. “Lets let Iraq go to shit because of our ‘NOTBUSH’ meme!”)

    Half the world is a shit-basket. If George Bush feels it’s America’s business to clean up the world, he should have flat out said so, not played footsy with WMD.

    Because the simple fact of the matter is most Americans don’t give a shit about the rest of the world, but do tend to give a shit about their relatives serving in uniform.

    It may not be politically correct to say so, but the “anti-war” sentiment om Iraq ranged from the pure pacifists, to the pragmatic “Not this war, we need to finish off Afhganistan”, to the selfish “Ending Iraqi misery isn’t worth American lives”.

    I notice the hawks tend to switch back and forth between them, to whatever suits their current argument, but I ain’t fucking buying.

    Plain and simple is that Bush sold this war under false pretenses. He spent the bulk of his time hyping a WMD threat that he didn’t take seriously — and knew was bullshit at the time — and a link with terrorism that never existed.

    And that’s why people supported it. They thought Saddam was a threat to us — by giving nasty weapons to terrorists to use against us — and that threat was judged worth billions of dollars and thousands of American lives.

    Whereas the more practical among us — who knew the terrorists were in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia and that Saddam was about a big a threat to the US as Castro, were a little pissed that real threats were being ignored so Bush could prance around a flight deck for the midterms.

  94. Jennifer,

    Why don’t read some of the accounts of the child prisons, the gulag system, systematic starvation of the Southern Shias, the draining of the Iraqi Marshes and corrisponding gennocide against the marsh arabs, the campaign against the kurds in 1998 and so fourth. Everything you just cited is about 1/1,000,000 of the suffereing inflicted by Saddam. Further, the entire report you site is nothing but anicdotes. Are there islamic extremists who try to enforce dress codes? Yes. The same kinds of things described in your article happen in Western Europe all the time. Do you think Finland or Germany are hellholes?

  95. Jennifer,

    I see your displeasure, but the evidence you present is anecdotal, counterable with anecdotes of purges of women, gassing of Kurdish women, slaughter of Shia women, or stories of the “rape rooms” under Saddam. Those atrocities count, no?

    Neither sets of anecdotes really gives us an understanding, though, of what’s going on for women generally, or different groups of women (it’s likely that Shia and Kurdish women are doing substantially better than their Sunni sistren, which might suggest that most women are better off – but neither of us statistics to back us up, so we’d be in a pissing match of speculation).

    Also, how about we wait ’til Iraq settles on a constitution before assessing whether or not it’s sharia-based? Last I heard, laws were to not be “counter to Islam” but also that laws were to not be “counter to democracy.” Whatever the hell that means. Wait And See.

  96. One would think that cooler heads would prevail here at “reason” … apparently not.

  97. John is a fucking tool. In particular:

    1. Nearly nobody protested Afghanistan.

    2. Women ARE worse off now than under Saddam

    3. The rest of the country IS pretty much fucked; only inside the Green Zone are things remotely normal

    4. W DID lie, repeatedly, over and over again; democratization wasn’t one of the main stated reasons for the invasion.

    He’s a tool, people. A fucking tool.

  98. More importantly Jennifer, what is your point? So because the people of Iraq are going to vote in a shiria based theocracy, they are better off being ruled by a ruthless tyrant? If that is your point, all you are really saying is that Arabs are incapable of democracy and need to be kept down by a strongman. That is a pretty racist sentiment.

  99. Yikes,

    You are full of it and you know it. Bush didn’t sell a package of goods. He sold a non-existant threat. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith — all of them were stressing that we needed to go to war because Saddam had WMDs and he would use them on us and our allies. That was ALWAYS the focus of their statements before the war. They may have paid some minor lip service in the form of “well setting up a democracy would be cool too”, but that was never a main rationale at all. We heard a lot about mushroom clouds, aluminum tubes, anthrax, chemical weapons, etc. and very very very little in comparison about helping the plight of Iraqis or about how democracy conquers all. Only after the fact that it was proved that there were NO WMDs did these other rationales start to become “primary reasons” and the fact that you are here trying to peddle this revisionist crap doesn’t bode well for any other arguments you try and make because you have a credibility problem.

    If WMDs HAD been found, the right would be screaming bloody murder about the left and how wrong they were….now they want to pretend that all their doomsday rhetoric wasn’t really the reason we went to war, facts be damned. Yeah, that’s a rational position — for a troll.

  100. MD,

    Things are not fucked up outside the green zone. Just the opposite, the green zone is fucked up. I don’t know anyone who claims that Basra and the South are not doing well right now. Even the biggest critics of the war admit that. Further, there were protests of the war in Afghanistan and lots of influential people on the left, Robert Fisk most notably, objected to it and claimed that it was a crime and immoral. If Iraq is so much worse off now, why is that even though there is a large Iraqi community in the U.S., none of the anti-war protests ever seem to involve Iraqis? Shouldn’t they be out protesting how we screwed up their country? No, the protests are always filled with ignorent lefty tools like yourself.

  101. ChicagoTom,

    The have found WMDs in Iraq. Not huge quantities but there have been several cases of the insurgency using old Iraqi artillery shells that turned out to be gas shells. The insurgency didn’t make them that way, they just found them and used them. The media didn’t give these cases much play and granted we haven’t found huge quantities, but WMDs have been found in Iraq.

  102. Yikes —

    Bush didn’t hang his cowboy hat on any one peg. He sold a package deal.

    He *did*. He emphasized WMD. Powell emphasized WMD. Cheney emphasized WMD. Rumsfeld emphasized WMD. Rice emphasized WMD. NONE of them focused on “liberation” — please note, I said “focused”, not “mentioned”. The emphasis, the focus, was WMD. Also note I have not said “Bush Lied, People Died”. I am merely pointing out that WMD was the main focus, the “peg” if you will, to Bush’s push for the war. So much so that it was the emphasis in the 2003 SOTU, where “liberation” was buried at the end, almost as an afterthought (or an out). Please note that the “or an out” comment was my own conjecture.

    Congress could have said no.

    This goes to the point, made by you, that the intelligence was wrong. Their decision was based on the immediate threat of Iraq’s (non-existent) WMD/programs. Please note, again, that I am not saying “Bush Lied, People Died”.

    The American people could have said no.

    Many Americans did say no. The American people, however, do not control the US Military. Their opposition, or support, is symbolic at best and certainly does not dicate nor control policy.

    Did you sleep from September ’01 through March ’03?

    September ’01 is not relevant, as we were not attacked by Iraq. We were attacked by hijacked airplanes, which did not contain any Iraqi hijackers.

    As I recall, the address to the UN that you referenced was in September of 2002. I was not sleeping from September 2002 to April 2003. I remember clearly watching the start of the Iraq war (non-declared, as you pointed out earlier) on the teevee. But also, per the sleep comment, please see the above statement about the wine.

    On a final note, did all this public debate take place in any sort of arena? Was it on the teevee, or in the newspapers? Isn’t that the “MSM”. I have been told many times not to trust the “MSM”, as they are all Liberals. How can I believe that there was a public debate if the Liberal MSM said so?

    Please note that the last point was a joke. However, the wine comment was not.

  103. Randolph Carter, re: candidate name-calling:

    Don’t forget Bushitler, Bushitler, Bushitler.

    And even our own Nick Gillespie once likened John Kerry unto the cartoon Frankenstein Jr.. Not exactly partisan in that case, but a goodie.

  104. John,

    I think part of Jennifer’s valid point is that if the reality is that we are trading tyranny for tyranny then we really didn’t get any bang for our tax bucks.

    Your “Saddam is gone” so everything is justified position is just silly. I think Iraqis as a whole would be better had Saddam stayed in power than they are RIGHT NOW and have been since we invaded.

    They have less electricity, they have higher unemployment, they have to worry about getting shot up by their liberators, they can’t move around their country without having to present papers at checkpoints, they have to answer to an occupying force, since we invaded there seem to be a whole lot more Islamic terrorists in Iraq than there ever was under Saddam, and they are on the brink of Civil War.

    But not to worry….The paper lion is gone, all is well, America love it or leave it, unless you hate freedom.

  105. MD – you sure are a presumptuous, arrogant fuck!!

    Jennifer –

    Just out of curiousity, I looked around for some Iraqi women/pre-invasion material.

    FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH..

    Human Rights Watch notes that there were more than 4,000 “honor killings” in Iraq between 1991 and 2001. Also,

    Furthermore, as the economy constricted, in an effort to ensure employment for men the government pushed women out of the labor force and into more traditional roles in the home. In 1998, the government reportedly dismissed all females working as secretaries in governmental agencies.30 In June 2000, it also reportedly enacted a law requiring all state ministries to put restrictions on women working outside the home.31 Women’s freedom to travel abroad was also legally restricted and formerly co-educational high schools were required by law to provide single-sex education only, further reflecting the reversion to religious and tribal traditions.32 As a result of these combined forces, by the last years of Saddam Hussein’s government the majority of women and girls had been relegated to traditional roles within the home.

    Also, Amnesty International was quoted by the State Dept on another website:

    Beheading. Under the pretext of fighting prostitution, units of “Fedayeen Saddam,” the paramilitary organization led by Uday Hussein, Saddam’s eldest son, have beheaded in public more than 200 women throughout the country, dumping their severed heads at their families’ doorsteps. Many families have been required to display the victim’s head on their outside fences for several days. These barbaric acts were carried out in the total absence of any proper judicial procedures and many of the victims were not engaged in prostitution, but were targeted for political reasons. For example, Najat Mohammad Haydar, an obstetrician in Baghdad, was beheaded after criticizing the corruption within health services. (Amnesty International Report, Iraq: Systematic Torture of Political Prisoners, August 2001; Iraqi Women’s League in Damascus, Syria)

    29 female Iraqi army recruits tell “insurgents” to fuck off and die

  106. 1) He can’t tell the difference between “good writing” and “big words”.
    2) He can’t tell the difference between “wit” and “big words”.
    3) He can’t tell the difference between “coherent arguments” and “big words”

    Yes, but Hitchens knows that WINE IS RED.

  107. “but WMDs have been found in Iraq.”

    You lying sack of shit.

  108. Ken, you said:

    “There is no organized worldwide Islamic terror group run by some scary guy in a cave. You know that, Hitchens knows that, the White House certainly knows it…”

    And I know it too! Just because it isn’t a monolothic fascist death cult doesn’t make Islamofascism any less dangerous to civilization. I fail to see how this is some “creation of Bush’s Masters”.

    Besides, I’ve seen and read Hitch enough to know that he doesn’t claim that Islamo-fascists (yes, this IS an accurate term!) are politically or even philosophically monolithic.

  109. Oh. My. God.

    Rather than defend what I still believe to be a worthwhile war in Iraq, and explain my reasons for doing so, all the while running the risk of being called all sorts of names and then getting angry and responding in kind…

    I’m gonna go make a ham sandwich instead.

  110. In my debates with the anti-war types (usually of the Lefty variety), I find an inherent contradiction in their argument:

    On the one hand, they complain that Bush is installing a puppet regime and not allowing a “true” democracy to flourish.

    On the other hand, they complain that we are allowing Iraqis too much autonomy and risk seeing a constitution overly influenced by Islam.

    They want it both ways. Nothing new here. No different than their arguments about Iraqi deaths or the rights of women, before and after Saddam. Quite frankly, these folks are so set in their ideological ways, they’ll spin something negative – whatever it takes – to make themselves look like they were right all along. This is the same trap the MSM falls into and it’s too bad. Too bad for the Iraqi people.

  111. Just as it doesn’t take a genius to call someone else stupid, your knowing of lefties who contradict themselves doesn’t make anything you say correct.

  112. Matt, providing a link to the full article doesn’t excuse misleading stories, does it? Personally I wasn’t much moved by it but it’s true that the article was surprising in that it felt completely different from what your excerpts made me feel. So it was emotionally deceitful.

    John, if you can’t find one single sane person with whom to debate the war, maybe it’s time for you to break out of the asylum.

    MD, there was lots of protesting against war in Afghanistan…that’s what turned many of us off of the entire anti-war movemement and made it harder to hear this time ’round. Wasn’t as strong as opposition to the war in Iraq, and for good reason, but it existed, and it took a really obnoxious holier-than-though form and lots of talk about waiting, giving more time, doing things the European way (negotiate, talk, employ slow processes, etc.).

    MD, they certainly found enough WMDs in Iraq to kill my grandmother. Fortunately she’s already dead.

    Joe,

    I’d like to try an experiment: can an Iraq hawk even approximate fair and decent discourse?

    Um…yes, probably. It’s at least as likely as there being a sane Iraq war opponent somewhere or other. OTOH, if by definition anyone you disagree with is incapable of rational discourse, why do you even bother talking to people?

  113. john,

    Speaking from ‘yurp’, may i kindly object:

    “The same kinds of things described in your article happen in Western Europe all the time.”

    There are no, i repeat, there are no armed militia’s in germany nor in finland trying to impose sharia laws of promoting honor-killings.

    you should get a passport and travel more.

    ps
    Do you think Finland or Germany are hellholes?

  114. Mike A said : “. Quite frankly, these folks are so set in their ideological ways, they’ll spin something negative -”

    Does this apply only to lefties? I know quite a few righties who that same description applies to just as well. So is your point that some factions on both sides of the aisle are blidned by ideology? If it applies to both sides, then all you are doing is stating the obvious, if you think it only applies to the “left” then you are being dishonest. Based on the whole post you seem to want to propogate the lie that only the left is ideological — which just isn’t true.

    The left doesn’t want it both ways, they are merely pointing out the illogic of the right’s position. The right seems to be saying that Islamic fanaticism is the biggest threat to America, yet somehow it is a positive that a Secular country will now be under Islamic law ruled by fanatic people who have quite a hostility to America/The West. Why is that you don’t see the “inherent contradiction” in that position though? Maybe because your ideology won’t allow you to find a flaw when its the right making decisions?

    And for the record, I don’t see the contradiction in the belief that Bush would like to install a puppet regime (as was evidenced when the US took an active role in assisting certain parties during the Jan. elections) and at the same time arguing against allowing oppression to be written into a constitution for a “free society” (freedom does NOT mean the freedom to exploit and discriminate against others — despite what many right-wingers think) and lobbying for protection against minorities. No one on the left thinks that merely being influenced by Islam is the problem. The problem is when Taliban-style Islam is imposed on the minority by the majority. But for most righties the concept of minority rights is anathema. Majoritarianism and democracy are not the same. You seem to be confusing the two.

  115. Okay, my two cents as one of the few token OIF Vets and Reason subscribers. First, I find it hard to sympathize with Ms. Sheehan from a libertarian perspective. Her son FREELY joined the military as a grown adult (I believe RE-enlisted, as a matter of fact), as did I and many others.

    As the mother of a free-thinking adult child, she needs to learn to live with the ramifications of that child’s actions, rather than try to twist that grief and make her son as some unwilling 17-year-old Vietnam era conscripted rube that didn’t know what he was getting into.

    We all suffer the consequences of our choices and actions, good or bad. Unfortunately, in SPC Sheehan’s case, he became a casualty, whereas I and a 100,000 other GIs got lucky and came home with most or all of our parts intact. C’est la vie …

    Secondly, why does Sheehan think she is so special whereas the other parents of slain GIs are not? She has been one of the lucky FEW to have ALREADY met the President after the death of a loved one in the service, whereas most of the mothers of other dead service folk got nothing more than a signed letter from the SecDef (if he was the actual signatory), a folded flag and, if lucky, a funeral service with halfway decent honors.

    And even if the sky in her world turned blue, the clouds parted, trumpets blared and she got to meet with Bush, what useful purpose would it serve? Is Bush really going to listen to some frazzled broad that schmoozes with Joan Baez and rescind the last four years of his actions?

    There may be intelligent critiques of this administration, but it ain’t coming from Sheehan and her media manufactured fellow travelers …

    Flame Away …

  116. So it was emotionally deceitful.

    Do you want a hug?

    Look, if I had wanted to characterize this column, one of the things I might have done would have been to characterize this column.

  117. “The right seems to be saying that Islamic fanaticism is the biggest threat to America, yet somehow it is a positive that a Secular country will now be under Islamic law ruled by fanatic people who have quite a hostility to America/The West.”

    strawman…the right arn’t saying that iraq is ruled by fanatic people…you are. Show me evidance.

  118. everyone,

    So am I to assume that there is no real consencious when it comes to libertarians and forign policy?

  119. joshua,

    you want evidence, and there is plenty of it, but somehow I don’t think the biggest piece of evidence is going to swing you. A constitution based on Islamic law.

  120. Moore is a commie people. Not a fascist. Get it straight.

    Are there any commies left? I thought they were all fascists now . . .

  121. “but WMDs have been found in Iraq.”

    You lying sack of shit.

    He was right, gas shells have been found.

  122. MD: Bush Lied” is a hell of a lot closer to the truth than the crap you’re trying to peddle here. I’ll lay it on the line – your arguments are so very close to right-wing talking points that I doubt you ever served in Iraq.

    Hmm. Recently a typical lefty talking head was “owned” when he interviewed some soldiers in Iraq.

  123. He was right, gas shells have been found.

    SFW?

  124. Phil,

    SFW? Where do you think those gas shells came from? How do you think Saddam got them? He manufactured them. We know that he had and used chemicals weapons on the Kurds in the 1980s and we now know that he had at least some of them left over. Once the sanctions broke down, is there any reason to believe that he wouldn’t have started producing them again once the heat was off? Further, Saddam spent the last ten years ignoring the ceasefire from the first gulf war and saying that he was at war with the United States. How does it further U.S. security to let him get by with all of that only to survive and see the sanctions lifted, which is what would have happened had we not invaded? The bottomline is regardless of what happens in the future, Saddam fucked with the US and ended up in the bottom of a whole and now in prison about to be executed at the hands of his former victims. That is a damn good message to send to every other petty tyrant in the world, in addition to being a generally all alround good dead. Again, to all of the people on here that Iraq is so much worse off, why cann’t you get the very sizable Iraqi American community to join the anti-war movement? Afterall, aren’t they the real victims but they don’t seem to have a problem with the war. Perhaps its because they actually lived with Saddam and aren’t didn’t quite value the lower unemployment and electricity at the price of an institutionalized terror state.

  125. “FWIW, I think Hitch is one of the few people who hasnt changed their tune about Iraq from the beginning, and has presented the clearest and best argued pro-war case, in my view, to date.”

    Did anyone ever account for the square he had to circle when he wrote While Orwell Matters?

    …Didn’t he come across Shooting an Elephant! How can a man write a book called Why Orwell Matters and embrace neo-conservative imperialism so?

    “He was right, gas shells have been found”

    I was under the impression that those shells were used as IEDs, suggesting that the people that used them had no idea what they were. …Armor piercing mustard gas?

    …At any rate, if you think a handful of dud shells justified the deaths of 1,800 some American soldiers–well–I think you’re wrong.

  126. Yeah, John, SO FUCKING WHAT? Where are the NBC weapons the Iraqi Army was going to bust out on our troops? Where are the mobile weapons labs? Where’s the fissionable material? Where’s the stuff Tony Blair said Saddam could deploy in 45 minutes? Gas shells? Motherfucker! I supported this war on the basis of the WMD claims. And all I get is motherfucking gas shells that are being converted into IEDs? You’d better come up with something else, fucking pronto.

    The rest is just the same bullshit, struttung, big-dick-swinging, ignore-the-man-behind-the-curtain crap that hasn’t gotten any more convincing in two years now.

  127. Phil,

    If you would respond to any of my points, I might respond to yours, but a general dismissive, doesn’t cut it. Its typical of the anti-war left temper trantrums, so at least you are in good company.

  128. high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium

    But think of the children.

  129. Poor John, he only wants the level to discourse to rise above “Bush is a chimp.” A sentiment I’ve never seen expressed on this site except by sarcastic Bushies.

    But not John. He wants the discourse to soar all the way to “You are basically saying that we were better off welcoming Saddam back into the world community than getting rid of him.”

  130. “Gilmore,…You are right, Hitch is a jerk. A smart jerk…a pretty funny jerk… but he is a jerk. He really is an independent thinker … if you look hard enough he will have said something you agree with…he probably said it better than you could have. This fact sometimes clouds the fact that he really is kind of a nasty person.”

    Yes. And?

    I personally think the world needs people of his intellectual caliber, with his type of style and attitude. I also think that people who judge him 1 dimensionally are generally far sillier, vindictive, and easily dismissed than he is. Whether one agrees with his Iraq rationale or not, he’s a writer of uncommon ability.

    But i guess gas cans are interesting too…

    JG

  131. “See? It’s almost forumulaic:

    (All the Stuff Bush Said Before the War – What Bush Said About Democratization) = WMDs/Bush Lied.”

    Yeah, what about the things Bush said that weren’t lies? You never hear about those.

    People who point out that Bush lied to the American people are always harping on those topics (WMDs, Iraqi involvement in September 11) that he lied about in order to get the country to go to war. But what about the things he didn’t lie about, or more importantly, that he didn’t lie about for the purpose of the Iraq War. Huh? Huh?

  132. Question for anyone who cares to answer or for any random stranger.

    How often do you think about the war?

    Sheehan despite whatever ad hominem attack Hitchens, and other here, wishes to fling has successfully got the war back in the news. She’s forced the news to consider that there is a war going on and that it has a human cost. The one thing that can’t be taken from her is that she’s achieved this.

    My position or lack thereof… As far as I can tell Bush has successfully got us in a position where we are pounding sand. I don’t want Saddam back. I think WMD’s were a lie, but I still wanted Saddam gone. I think the administration cynically used 9/11 to build support, and of all things this is the most unforgiveable. I have only useless theories for ways we could have avoided the current situation. I don’t care if the Iraqis lives suck worse now or if they sucked worse before. I think the only achievement so far is to have successfully removed a bad leader and created an unstable situation that isn’t unusual given the history of the region.

    This is a problem that needs to be dealt with, and if it takes some mourning mother, looney lady, misguided anti zionist, leftist,…. to get the country to think about this a little then it’s a good thing.

  133. Was it worth the blood of a single american, much less 1800+ if the end result is Iran II: Electric Boogaloo?

    I think the thing that most disgusts former war supporters, like myself, is how the administration pretends a conservative Islamic government is an acceptable result to this conflict, even as they attempt (and rightly so) to undermine similar governments throughout the region.

    Yeah, I personally think the ‘brown people’ should vote for whoever they want, even some smelly wimmin-hatin’ mullahs, if that rocks their boat. But this isn’t what we were promised.

    We were promised a Germany / Sweden on the Tigris. We were promised enough liberated WMD’s to choke an entire herd of horses. We were promised garlands and dancing in the streets from giddy Iraqis. We were promised a pony.

    Not only were all promises broken, but they pretend this broken end result was their entire plan all along.

  134. Bush is a chimp.

  135. “Our hearts are pure! Our hearts are pure! We’re not bad people, really! We didn’t mean for this to happen. We just really didn’t see it coming.” –joe

    You mean sort of like what the Supreme Court just did in Kelo? “Legislative hearts are always pure! Zoning and development boards are good people! We didn’t imagine for a second that people would lose their homes to big corporations and their well-heeled cronies…”

  136. What makes me think that its justified is that Saddam was a horrible tyrant who was killing 10,000 people a month

    You keep saying this. Evidence would be nice. And, by the way, complaining about how impossible it is to find a reasonable person to debate, even as you keep talking, is kind of neurotic.

    Yikes!-you do realize that it’s the Shi’a, and not the Sunni that are pushing for a theocracy, don’t you? I mean, it ain’t the Sunnis who want Islam as the basis of the Constitution.. By and large, they don’t seem to be the reasonable and modern people you make then out to be.

  137. The Shi’a, that is.

  138. Cindy Sheehan is more interesting for the questions she asks than the answers she gives. Her question is a simple one: Why? For what reason did her son die? Bush refuses to given an answer to that question, because he has already given answers – many different answers, changing from day to day, contradicting each other and the facts. His answers are bland; her question is raw.

    We always knew about W’s indifference to human suffering; but now we see an even greater moral flaw; his hatred of accountability.

  139. that he didn’t lie about for the purpose of the Iraq War. Huh? Huh?

    Did administration ever make the argument that the sanctions were killing too many Iraqis? Although I am strongly against the Iraq War, this is something I wonder about. Wonder both whether it is a factually correct argument and whether it is morally correct.

  140. To John and others who cite Cindy Sheehan’s oddball statements:

    Look, about this whole supposedly anti-Semitic “the war was for Israel” meme. I’ve had friends injured in terrorist attacks in J’lem, but let’s review the historical record:

    Newsweek: http://tinyurl.com/aes9d.

    Right wing news from the heart of NYC: http://tinyurl.com/al7u6

    Gary Bauer via Freep: “Baghdad and Jerusalem are merely different battlefields in the same war.” http://tinyurl.com/cs63p

    The hardly anti-Semitic Slate quotes the NY Times: “In a recent column, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof approvingly quoted Zinni as saying the Bush administration believes ‘the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad.’ ” http://tinyurl.com/7effn

    Nah, we didn’t invade Iraq on Israel’s behalf, but let’s not ignore that it was one of the many reasons — defending our little ally, the island of democracy amid the Arab tyrannies — and let’s not knock Cindy Sheehan for pointing it out.

  141. The way the Sheehan spectacle was frame in the press was certainly illustrative on how the debate on the war is being presented in certain segments of the press. I get most of my news from NPR and the BBC, and up until fairly recently, I’d heard nothing on either outlet that informed me that she had already met with the President once before, painting the portrait of an aloof criminal monster coldly shunning a bereaved mother.

    The comments about Israel were the icing on the cake, while the (doubtlessly inevitable) insersion of Michael Moore into the fray completely changed the story for me, while Hitchens delivered the coup d’grace. “Moral authority” my ass – Cindy Sheehan is an echo chamber for the editorial postion of the New York Times and traditional leftist American press dinosaurs, and we’re getting the resulting coveerage one would expect, ie, let the story do the editorializing and ask no uncomfortable questions in the process.

  142. If you would respond to any of my points, I might respond to yours, but a general dismissive, doesn’t cut it.

    I’ll try not to lose any sleep over it. You make sure you do the same.

  143. So because the people of Iraq are going to vote in a shiria based theocracy, they are better off being ruled by a ruthless tyrant? If that is your point, all you are really saying is that Arabs are incapable of democracy and need to be kept down by a strongman. That is a pretty racist sentiment.

    So decrying the existence of a new Islamic theocracy (with close ties to Iran) that gives no rights to women now makes me a racist. Gotcha.

    The same kinds of things described in your article happen in Western Europe all the time. Do you think Finland or Germany are hellholes?

    If such behaviors happened with the tacit approval of the government, then I’d say yes. But when Finnish Muslims throw acid in a woman’s face, the Finnish police will prosecute them, not look the other way.

  144. “So because the people of Iraq are going to vote in a shiria based theocracy, they are better off being ruled by a ruthless tyrant?”

    you know, this is one of those bored, sophomore bonghit chinscratchers, but what is worse: an insane theocracy or a crazy secular dictatorship?

    being male, it’s almost 50/50. but for women who aren’t into submissive abrahamic religion games, the choice is fairly simple.

  145. So decrying the existence of a new Islamic theocracy (with close ties to Iran) that gives no rights to women now makes me a racist.

    there’s no degree of plain facetiousness that some people won’t sink to, ms jennifer.

  146. “So because the people of Iraq are going to vote in a shiria based theocracy, they are better off being ruled by a ruthless tyrant?”

    The concern expressed for the Iraqi people here is heartwarming. …I expressed similar concerns when we were dropping bombs on them, but, really, my primary concern was never for the Iraqi people–it was for the American people.

    …Whether the Iraqi people were better off under a ruthless tyrant is for them to decide; I’m more interested in whether the American people are better off with a ruthless tyrant under the watchful eye of the coalition or with a sharia based theocracy loosely allied with Iran, a state sponsor of terror.

    …Oh, and whether achieving the latter scenario justified the sacrifices made by Americans.

  147. He was right, gas shells have been found.

    lol — have you seriously convinced yourself, mr don, that what’s been found constitutes the imminent threat to the united states and the world we were promised on the eve of war? 😀 hysterical! i had no idea anyone here carried that depth of delusion about this whole sad disaster.

  148. and mr john as well!! lol — this explains much. you’re just a drone! you haven’t thought about any of this seriously at all; you’re simply moving the goalposts to defend your christ in crawford.

    tell me — do they pay you? they should pay you. you should get something for being made to look so silly.

  149. The only legitimate use of force is in self-defense. Bush tried to portray the invasion of Iraq as self-defense by brewing up a concoction of WMD’s, terrorist fears, and an imperialistic doctrine of “pre-emption”. It was a true crock of shit, but a lot of gullible Americans were fooled into supporting this foolish intervention.

    Saddam was not an immediate threat to the USA. He may have been an asshole and a potential threat – but this does not justify our costly war. We have destabilized the entire country, killed thousands of innocent non-combatants, destroyed our reputation in the court of world opinion, and spent billions of dollars in the process (not to mention the spilled American blood). Iraq will probably be an intolerant, hostile theocracy for a few years before it shatters into factional wars. It will probably remain a dangerous mess for decades to come. Our heavy-handed invasion has boosted recruitment throughout the world for anti-american terrorists. The USA is less safe and secure now than before the war.

    How can anyone put a positive spin on this? You can put as much lipstick as you want on a pig – but the pig will still be a damn pig when you are done.

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