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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hitchens writes

Politically me and Hithcens are chalk and cheese, but I can't help admire the man. People like him and Zell Miller and others show that there need not be an artificial left/right divide on every topic. Hitchens' latest piece is very eloquent and worth a read, even though the mere mention of his name round here will bring out the salivating side of those who consider him some sort of traitor. It's quite a long article so here are just a few bits, beginning with,
LET ME BEGIN WITH A simple sentence that, even as I write it, appears less than Swiftian in the modesty of its proposal: "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."

I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still, unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?
The only speech by any statesman that can bear reprinting from that low, dishonest decade came from Tony Blair when he spoke in Chicago in 1999. Welcoming the defeat and overthrow of Milosevic after the Kosovo intervention, he warned against any self-satisfaction and drew attention to an inescapable confrontation that was coming with Saddam Hussein. So far from being an American "poodle," as his taunting and ignorant foes like to sneer, Blair had in fact leaned on Clinton over Kosovo and was insisting on the importance of Iraq while George Bush was still an isolationist governor of Texas
It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.
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Posted by Chefen | 8/30/2005 03:56:00 am


Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

The 4th paragraph is the killer. He can recite off quite a few facts in a row.

8/30/2005 06:28:00 am  
Blogger Chefen said...

I think he's had the practise by now.

8/30/2005 06:39:00 am  
Blogger Chris said...

How come people are still trying to sell this war? In case they hadn't noticed, it's well underway.

8/30/2005 10:19:00 am  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Because Hitchen's is sick of leftists claiming "Bush Lied" etc etc.

8/30/2005 02:47:00 pm  

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