Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hitchens On The Third Anniversary of the Iraq War And Occupation

Reason Magazine and Slate, had opinions by Christopher Hitchens, on the third anniversary of the Iraq occupation.

ReasonOnline at 03/17/06, asked several conservative and libertarian writers, if they changed their mind about the Iraqi occupation. They were all asked the same three questions. This is Hitchens response:

1. Did you support the invasion of Iraq?


Yes: I was an advocate before the fact, not a supporter.

2. Have you changed your position?


Not in the least: I wish only that Saddam had not been able to rely upon Russian and French protection and the influence of oil-for-food racketeers and other political scum.

3. What should the U.S. do in Iraq now?


The United States and its allies should continue to stand for federal democracy, while making Iraq a killing-field for jihadists and fascists and a training ground for an army that will need to intervene again in other failed state/rogue state contexts.


As for the second point, I have some memory of a third party, that had something to do with the oil for food program. Iraqi people are facing more hardship, now that the oil for food program is being discontinued.

My reaction to the third point, is to tell Hitchens, the joke is on you. I believe some neocons and Bush, authentically entered this situation with a sense of idealism. Days after the invasion of Iraq, the idealism ended. The neocons were heard from less. The world view of Cheney and Rumsfeld prevailed. The US's best friends are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All US imperialism wants to do is contain Islamism. Islamism is similar to imperialism, as both based on profit and reaction.

The March 20th Slate, has Hitch again telling us about Iraq.

Up until now, I have resisted all urges to assume the mantle of generalship and to describe how I personally would have waged a campaign to liberate Iraq.

Not quite true. I can live with that statement.

This commitment doesn't override truth, and I know that a lot of people feel that they were cheated or even lied into the war. It seems amazing to me that so many people have adopted the "Saddam Hussein? No problem!" view before the documents captured from his regime have even been translated, let alone analyzed. I am sure that when this task has been completed, history will make fools of those who believed that he was no threat, had no terror connections, was "in his box," and so forth. A couple of recent disclosures lend some point to my view. The first are the findings published in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs, and the second is the steady work of Stephen Hayes, over at the Weekly Standard, aimed at getting some of the captured documents declassified.

Things changed from Saddam had WMD, to he had intentions, to we have documents that say something.

Well, if everyone else is allowed to rewind the tape and replay it, so can I. We could have been living in a different world, and so could the people of Iraq, and I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?? Maybe he means,“Mankind will not be free until the last king is stranged with the entrails of the last priest"- Diderot.

Hitchens announced he is part of the ACLU lawsuit against wiretaps. He announced it at Huffington's blog. Why not announce it in The Wall Street Journal or Reason? Shouldn't the Huff and Puff people be strangled?

This post represents an obvious direction change. The process of blogging, not only changes readers of blog, it changes writers. My initial support of the Iraq invasion, wasn't based on support of the invasion, as much as not being able to identify with the stupid arguments brought by the Democratic Party.

I like Maryam Namazie's blog. Her party with branches in Iraq and Iran, are unequivocally against both Islamism and occupation. I love Edie's blog Annotated Life. Read her articles about the history of neoconservativism and Islamism.
RENEGADE EYE

29 comments:

sonia said...

My initial support of the Iraq invasion

Shhhh!!!! Not too loud. THEY might hear it!

All your criticism of Hitch might also apply to me, so let me respond.

Overthrowing tyrants is a good action independently of whether a specific tyrat has WMD or not. In fact, because democratic countries only want to fight openly agressive tyrants (like Hitler), while praising far more dangerous hypocritical tyrants (like Stalin), it is only natural that some people (Chalabi?) decide to fight fire with fire and lie about Saddam's non-existent WMD's in order to provoke an invasion. I don't blame them, just like I don't blame White Russian emigrees who exaggerated stories of Bolshevik's brutality in order to provoke Western intervention. When Germany finally invaded Soviet Union in 1941, the entire Soviwet population INITIALLY welcomed them with open arms too.

The parallels with Iraq are striking. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it. You remember who won WWII ?

Mike B) said...

I agree with Sonia. Overthrowing tyrants is a good idea. But that's not why the polytricksters in charge of the U.S. sent the young to risk their lives, limbs and lives in Iraq.
It was oil and the power that commodity gives one.

Problem is that Shrub and his cronies didn't figure out before they sent others off to bravely die for imperialist power projections that the invasion/occupation would cost them dearly in bucks and credibility. Check out Nobel Prize winning economist Stiglitz assessment in "Der Speigel".

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,394735,00.html

Renegade Eye said...

What I want to ask Hitch, I"ll ask you.

What specifically do you support about the occupation? Is it the prison system, healthcare, workers rights, ability to unite the country etc.

I think people like Hitch, have little to do with how the operation occured.

Nothing debatable about Saddam gone. I'm not hostile to the arguments about why you overthrow a tyrant. That is in the abstract.

Finish this sentence; The occupation pleases me because.....

sonia said...

Ren,

What specifically do you support about the occupation?

Absolutely nothing. I was never for OCCUPATION. I was for WAR and extermination of all Baathists. My problem with the occupation is that it is too lenient towards those Sunnis who support the Islamofascist insugency. Hitler's occupation of Russia, where instead of granting freedom to all nations persecuted by Stalin, Germans were killing Jews, is a bit like the American occupation of Iraq, where instead of proclaiming independent Kurdistan and an independent Shiite Iraq, the Americans are just trying to kill people they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as their enemies...

Sangroncito said...

With friends like Pakistan, Israel and Saudi Arabia...who...needs...what?

beatroot said...

I welcome Renegade to the ranks of the anti-war. I think that is a big thing for you to do and I respect that.

But most pro-war lefties have not the courage to do that. And Hitchins is one of them. It is depressing to see someone admirable like him make an utter arse of himself. Everything he and others like him write about the bsubject is just squirming at the end of a line, like a fish.

Sonia: When Germany finally invaded Soviet Union in 1941, the entire Soviwet population INITIALLY welcomed them with open arms too.

That's not really
true. Forget 'entire' anyway. In Poland many peasants did welcome the Nazis...there is the 'Jedwabne' factor. But generally people don't welcome being invaded. Iraqis definatly don't! That's why I was against the war then, and I am against it now.

ella said...

You supported the Iraq war at one time?

I suppose we have all been fooled at one time or another. I remember feeling nauseous when I heard about it, and I still am.

:)

sonia said...

In Poland many peasants did welcome the Nazis

I wasn't talking about the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, but the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Like Iraqi Shiites and Kurds (85% of the population right there), Soviet people more than welcomed the WAR. As for OCCUPATION, that's another thing entirely.

I think one can be for WAR (the actual act of deposing a tyrant), but against prolonged OCCUPATION of a country. The Americans should have left a long time ago...

beatroot said...

But if our heroes, the US and UK, smashed their way in there, toppled a couple of statues and then buggered off again the Iraqis would still be in a bloody mess trying to pick up the pieces.

I think we should oppose the war ON PRINCIPLE. That means saying to these governments HANDS OFF THE MIDDLE EAST - we are not wanted there.

sonia said...

PRINCIPLE. That means saying to these governments HANDS OFF THE MIDDLE EAST - we are not wanted there

A very nice principle, which you can only claim the day you agree only to walk, and NEVER to take a car or an airplane...

Because otherwise, you will be paying money to bloody tyrants who will use it to exterminate their own populations...

The moment Saddam gassed the Kurds, he was fair game... Too bad it took the West 15 years to react... Maybe they were following your "principle" ? No, I don't think so neither...

Renegade Eye said...

where instead of proclaiming independent Kurdistan and an independent Shiite Iraq, the Americans are just trying to kill people they perceive (rightly or wrongly) as their enemies...

Independant Kurdistan and a Shiite south, was never on the table.

Chalabi is out of the picture, as is Hitchens. The idea that the US army is fighting Islamism isn't true. They only want it contained.

When did permanent bases come into the picture? The only way that can happen, is if the population is kept in civil strife mode. I don't think it's at civil war mode yet. Surprising Sunni-Shiite alliances have kept it from happening.

US has already given Turkey a green light, against Kurdish, in exchange for air rights, if Iran is invaded.

If the US invasion was to support the Kurds, the first step would be a vote to decide if they wish to seperate from Iraq.

Maybe 20 years from now, we'll intervene in Sudan, their was injustice there. That's laughable. The great liberators; Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. The great democratic voices.

All it takes to get Hitch to support a policy; is buy him a drink, and tell him you admire Trotsky and Chalabi.

Mike B) said...

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,409710,00.html

Unlike the war against Hitler, this one was a mistake. Read em and weep. No matter how cute the photo of Sonia is, this was not a war waged to get rid of a tyrant.

Renegade Eye said...

It dawned on me how off base, the idea of the occupation is revenge for the atrocities against the Kurds.

Saddam was green lighted at that time, to do anything he wanted. If his masters would have stopped him, he'd obey at the time.

Sonia will like this: The CIA overthrew a democratic govt in Iran, and put in power The Shah, who was replaced by mullahs who the US disliked, and supported Saddam as a foil to them. If the US didn't overthrow the Iranian govt in the 1950s, there wouldn't be the Iraq war now. That is more true than the Iraq war is revenge for what happened to the Kurds.

I think the idealism of people like Sonia was exploited.

Addendum: To be against the war, doesn't automatically put you in the company of an Islamist as George Galloway or Cindy Sheehan.

To support the war, means supporting the wiretapping of phones at will, the treatment of prisoners, the massacres etc. Sonia and Hitch aren't players. A line in the sand has to be drawn.

I said on another blog that Sonia and I, are joined at the hip. We need each other to define ourselves.

sonia said...

I have a post about what I think about the Iraq War.

how off base, the idea of the occupation is revenge for the atrocities against the Kurds

I never said it was. But the atrocities against Kurds and Shiites was the reason 85% of Iraqis were glad US invaded their country. That's it.

Saddam was green lighted at that time, to do anything he wanted. If his masters would have stopped him, he'd obey at the time

Saddam wasn't a puppet. It would be nice if he was, but he wasn't. It was Cold War. The West was skilfully manipulated by tyrants like Saddam.

CIA overthrew a democratic govt in Iran, and put in power The Shah, who was replaced by mullahs who the US disliked, and supported Saddam as a foil to them. If the US...

Very perceptive, Ren.... But the topic at hand was whether the overthrowing of Saddam was a good thing or not...

I think the idealism of people like Sonia was exploited

I am not an idealist. The day I will realize that Islamofascists will win, I am going to buy a burka, or have a sex-change operation, and I will join their ranks. In order to destroy them from the inside.

To be against the war, doesn't automatically put you in the company of an Islamist as George Galloway or Cindy Sheehan

No, it's far worse. At least George really believes that Islam is superior to Western decadence. Who knows, he might even be right. And Cindy is simply driven insane by grief. But a pure pacifist is nothing but a moron, unable to understand the world around him...

To support the war, means supporting the wiretapping of phones at will, the treatment of prisoners, the massacres etc. Sonia and Hitch aren't players. A line in the sand has to be drawn

Not really. I supported Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union too, but I wanted Hitler dead as well...

For me, a real dilemma would be: Hitler and Stalin in front of me, with only one bullet in my gun...

With Bush and Saddam, no such dilemma.... Bush would live...

I said on another blog that Sonia and I, are joined at the hip. We need each other to define ourselves

Yeah, you definitely know which buttons to push...

Renegade Eye said...

However vile Bush is, he is not a fascist. A fascist is someone who fits a precise definition. He is most certainly a lesser evil to Hitler.

beatroot said...

To be against the war, doesn't automatically put you in the company of an Islamist as George Galloway or Cindy Sheehan.

That's an important point.

Galloway is a Scottish Stalinist Saddamist arselicker who gets in bed politically with amazingly reactionary religious weirdos in London. Cindy Sheehan is just a screwed up mother who has lost her son.

What I meant by a political principle, Sonia, is something that holds in all situations.

Invading countries - even if your motives are positive - is doing the invaded country no good at all. It simply does not work.

The principle of self determination (for individuals and nations) is an important political principle.

But the anti-war movement just plays into the hands of politicians who make the 'politics of fear' their number one button to push. That means more restrictive laws at home.

'Oooh, invading Iraq makes us more vulnerable at home'.

But it doesn't, really. 9/11 happened before then.

'Oooh, politicians lied to us about WMD'.

Yep, politicians sometimes lie. Get over it!

The anti-war movement should be sticking to principles. Trying to plant democracy with the barrel of a gun sticking up your nose, is wrong. Period.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Sonia: over throwing tyrants is great, selective over throw of tyrants where there's oil is bad. Imperialism fully emabraced by the US is great, imperialism half-baked and with isolationsist policies oozing from every pore is bad. Iraq was a bad choice because the US supported it for so long and supplied it with its WMD capacity. There is nothing worse than a hypocritical empire. Speaking of which you name the gassing of Kurds as the fair game moment, so the gassing of Iranians with US WMDs was fine then? Remember the US turned a blind eye to the atrocities of Saddam's regime while he was an ally but as soon as the sides switch this can be used as evidence for his demise?

I have one problem with the removing tyrants logic, I don't trust those in power to decide who is a tyrant and who is not. I also don't trust them not to forge relationships with certain tyrants if they have something to gain from it, please see China, Israel and Saudi Arabia for reference.

You also use the made-up and frankly offensive word 'islamofascist' and this always makes my right-wing nut siren go off.

Now some further points:

85% of population glad about invasion? Show me the facts please, this is not true.

It wasn't the Cold War, unless you have a poor understanding of the time frame of it, show me evidence that Saddam was manipulating the West, all the evidence I've seen shows a US government feeding a regime with weapons. Where are your sources?

Sorry, George Galloway does not believe in the things you've put, show me quotes or otherwise don't say it, and as someone that attends his speechs I know that's not what he thinks or says.

Your dismissal of a dead soldiers mother is flawed, cold and offensive. To dismiss her as insane is desperate and untrue, take some time to work with veterans and their families as I have and you will see little madness and much knowledge based on experience rather than posturing.

Beatroot: Your statement on Galloway is inaccurate and prejudiced, your view of Cindy Sheehan is downright disrespectful. Your views are dismissive and widescreen and would not stand up in debate.

I challenge you to be more concise and think about the words you use.

sonia said...

Daniel,

You also use the made-up and frankly offensive word 'islamofascist' and this always makes my right-wing nut siren go off

Your siren is rigfht. I am a right-wing nut and proud of it. If you called me a left-wing nut, then I would be offended.

85% of population glad about invasion? Show me the facts please, this is not true

That's the combined Shiite and Kurd population of Iraq. They are ALL glad Saddam is gone. Even Sadr, the most anti-American Shiite leader, hated Saddam who killed his father.

show me evidence that Saddam was manipulating the West, all the evidence I've seen shows a US government feeding a regime with weapons. Where are your sources?

One doesn't exclude the other. Saddam was playing Washington against Moscow, getting weapons from both ("Ron, if you don't give me those tanks, I will ask Leonid...")

George Galloway does not believe in the things you've put, show me quotes or otherwise don't say it

I wasn't denouncing George Galloway. I said "he might even be right". You mean he doesn't believe that he is right?

Your dismissal of a dead soldiers mother is flawed, cold and offensive. To dismiss her as insane is desperate and untrue

Pleeeease, if Mother Cindy was active in the anti-war movement before her son was killed, I wouldn't call her "insane with grief". I would call her a hypocrite for letting her son VOLUNTARILY enlist. Her son's dead because he enlisted. He knew the risks involved...

beatroot said...

Sorry this is (almost) completly off the subject but remember the Afghani guy who wanted to convert to christianity and caused moral outrage with our western 'clash of civilisations' crew?

Well Der Spiegel has an interesting article showing that this guy is indeed a nut case. He was reported to the authorities in the first place, not for wanting to not be a muslim anymore, but for attacking his wife, brother, mother, anyone...

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,409650,00.html

Renegade Eye said...

As long as there is religious courts, events like that will happen.

Could you imagine him tried by Hitchens's democratic force, the Northern Alliance?

The cause was still right. It saved a nutcase from execution.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Sonia:

I'm glad you're into drawing lines in the sand, by playing their game of 'with us or against us' you fall into the trap of things being black and white when in reality its all shades of grey.

I asked you to show me facts, not a weak assumption that you've made up to fit your point. Hilarious!

Again, you've made up a discussion to fit your point, thankfully you're not in a position of power, although your intelligence gathering has much similarity with the Bush regime.

You made sweeping statements regarding Galloway that were untrue, you are retreating, good.

Again, your dismissal of Cindy exposes a deep set prejudice that blinds you to the reality of the situation, of course he knew what he was signing up for but the war was fought on false circumstances, poorly supported, poorly led and falsly declared won. More importantly the mounting dead bodies were seen as bad press, not a way to treat the soldiers that die for a folly and so Cindy made her point.

Again, take some time to engage with veterans and those that fight the wars you're so keen on and maybe you'll learn something.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
beatroot said...

Please Daniel...why do you constantly get 'personal' about this?

"...thankfully you're not in a position of power, although your intelligence gathering has much similarity with the Bush regime.

daniel. You are not making a point here,,,its just a feable insult. What's the point of that?

I have a rule on my blog - we debate ideas (ruthlessly sometimes) but we do not get personal. I just delete when it happens.

Debating stuff is not the same thing as slagging someone off.

One of the reasons I am fond of this blog is that people seem to like a battle here.

But when someone has to get personal to win a debate/battle then you know for sure he's lost it...

Try and stick to the point.

Renegade Eye said...

The issues are literally life or death issues.

The discussion is too important, to break down by personalities.

I've been thinking about my peace plan for Iraq. I'll probably be made into mince meat when I post it. I have ideas, but don't know how to implament them yet.

sonia said...

Ren,

I've been thinking about my peace plan for Iraq

Peace = death. Living in peace isn't in our nature. We got where we are because we fight. For survival. For food. For freedom. The moment we will stop fighting, we will die as a species...

There are wars that make no sense. There are places where peace would be welcomed. Iraq isn't such a place. This is a war against totalitarian tyranny. There shouldn't be a peace with the likes of Zarquawi - and there won't be. For Islamofascists, this is a fight to the death. Theirs or ours.

Beatroot,

Thanks.

Renegade Eye said...

I did use the wrong words, by saying peace plan.

Still fighting shouldn't be just a spontaneous or reactive thing.

I'm trying to think of a vision, and a strategy to get there. One point would be as I said on your blog, is Iraq must have a secular govt.

Mukov Aegis said...

"Peace = death. Living in peace isn't in our nature..."

So where are these "places where peace would be welcomed" -- if peace is death?

And which are the "wars that make no sense" -- if living in peace isn't in "our" nature?

Really, though... you're just talking out your ass (some more).

Aren't you?

Get over there and fight?

sonia said...

Mukov Aegis

So where are these "places where peace would be welcomed" -- if peace is death?

Places where Good isn't fighting Evil (like in Iraq) - i.e. Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sri Lanka...

And which are the "wars that make no sense" -- if living in peace isn't in "our" nature?

Wars where no matter who wins, things will be exactly the same (see countries listed above). That's not the case with Iraq. It will be a great country if the Islamofascists are defeated. It will be hell on Earth (again), if they win.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Beatroot: I'll let your own words hang you on the matter of personal attacks:

"Galloway is a Scottish Stalinist Saddamist arselicker who gets in bed politically with amazingly reactionary religious weirdos in London. Cindy Sheehan is just a screwed up mother who has lost her son."