Hitchens in the Dock


In the final decade before his demise, the late Christopher Hitchens had become the Phil Spector of American politics. Ala Spector, even his hair looked crazy.

After injecting himself into the Clinton-Lewinsky affair,  “Hitch 22” appeared on some network show looking, humorist Harry Shearer hilariously noted on his radio program, “Le Show”, “like he just rolled out of bed at the homeless shelter.”  He was drunk, hair going every which way, and as he angrily ranted about Clinton’s adulterous affair, he couldn’t stop blinking.

Hitchens’ evolution from young Trot, to eloquent dashing columnist for the liberal Nation magazine, to frothing war monger and volunteer mouthpiece and cheerleader for the Bush-Cheney junta’s plot to take the U.S. to war has been well-chronicled from Ian Buruma in the New York Review of Books, the website “Hitchenswatch”(which humorously noted, “We watch him so you don’t have to”) to the pages of CounterPunch.

But surely in the future the gold standard  for the deconstrucion of Hitchens will be Richard Seymours’ “Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens.”

The title of course is an ironic reference to Hitchens  book, “The Trial of Henry

But now, posthumously, it’s Hitchens’ turn in the dock.

Seymour’s book, part of Verso’s “Counterblast,” series,  is a thoroughly documented prosecutors brief and demonstrates why in a fair and just world Hitchens, who conspired with the likes of Ahmed Chalabi to start a most unnecessary war, would stand trial with Bush, Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz as an accused war criminal.

Seymour’s meticulous, Chomsky-esh detailing of the Hitchens saga was chided in the Washington Post for lacking “style” and being harshly biased. But, hey, this is a trial and Seymour as the chief prosecutor is supposed to  be biased.

Frankly, my favorite part of the book is the cover photo of Hitchens in mad hatter mode.

One can’t help but wonder what would be going through Hitchens head, were he still amongst the living, reading about  Secretary of State John Kerry warning Iraq to quit allowing Iran to use Iraqi airspace to assist the Assad regime in putting down a rebellion.

My guess is, unlike former Bush speech writer David “Axis of  Evil” Frum, Hitchens would continue to dissemble.

According to Glenn Greewald in The Guardian, for March 18, Frum not only laments how things have turned out in Iraq, but also admits in a Newsweek column that previous denials to the contrary, the war was very much about oil.

A newly contrite Frum also reveals that the real “axis of evil” was a secretive meeting with Ahmed Chalabi–in the apartment of Christopher Hitchens to discuss strategy for starting a war.

In the final analysis, the best characterization of Hitchens came from the man who knew him best: Alexander Cockburn. In a long ago Nation column, writing even before Hitchens became “just another right -wing porker,” Alex noted that more and more Hitchens had “postures” not “principles.”

The Trial of Christopher Hitchens demonstrates in lush detail that in the matter of Christopher Hitchens its case closed.

Jack McCarthy is former managing editor of the Florida Flambeau, contributing editor to Online Journal, and a proud contributor to Counterpunch. Can be reached at jackm32301@yahoo.com



Jack McCarthy is a writer in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at jackm32301@yahoo.com

December 01, 2015
John Wight
From Iraq to Syria: Repeating a Debacle
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: the Left Takes Charge
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border
Sami Al-Arian
My Ordeal: One of America’s Many Political Trials Since 9/11
Steffen Böhm
Why the Paris Climate Talks Will Fail, Just Like All the Others
Gilbert Mercier
Will Turkey Be Kicked Out of NATO?
Bilal El-Amine
The Hard Truth About Daesh and How to Fight It
Pete Dolack
Solidarity Instead of Hierarchy as “Common Sense”
Dan Glazebrook
Rhodes Must Fall: Decolonizing Education
Colin Todhunter
Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe
Eric Draitser
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Linn Washington Jr.
Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie
Randy Shaw
Krugman is Wrong on Gentrification
Raouf Halaby
Time to Speak Out Against Censorship
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case
Patrick Walker
Wake Up Zombie, Kick Up a Big Stink!
November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism