Some time ago, I ceased reading Christopher Hitchens’s output, for the very simple reason that he’s full of shit and in violent denial about it. The man has become so infantile and ridiculous that I saw no serious point in following anything else he says. Yes, some of my readers continually send me links or quotes from varied sources, asking what I think about Hitchens’s latest outburst. And I reply that I think nothing about him — that such a dynamic speaker, writer and thinker had devolved into a sputtering death-loving crank is certainly sad, especially for us who knew him back in the day, but following his toxic freak show made no sense anymore. All it did was either sicken or anger me. I’ve got enough to deal with as it is.
Well, comes the third anniversary of our ongoing destruction of Iraq, and the Hitchens links find me once again. Only this time I decide to click and read the thing. I knew what I was going to get, but for some reason, perhaps my odd present mood, I was genuinely curious. And about four or five sentences in, I not only realized that my decision to read his column was stupid and fucked up, but that Hitchens has actually gotten worse. You can decide for yourself, presuming you wish to waste time on his fantasy musings, but allow me to highlight one consistent falsehood that I thought Hitchens had been shamed into abandoning, though clearly not. In fact, he leads the piece with it:
“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. I became involved in this argument before the Bush administration had been elected, and for me it always was (and still is) a matter of solidarity with the democratic forces in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and of the need for the United States to change its policy and be on their side.”
The segment in bold is a bald-faced lie, as I’ve pointed out before. Again, Hitchens did not come out in favor of “regime change” in Iraq in 1991, 1993 or in 2001. He waited till the last possible second, when his Beltway sources told him in 2002 that the invasion was greenlighted and would be unleashed no matter what. That’s when he jumped on board, and even then he had, in his words to me, “about a zillion” concerns about Bush’s ultimate intentions. Once he got past those (which took about five minutes), he fully became the pathetic warmonger who now shouts and belches before us.
While his opening is as honest as James Frey’s memory, his ending takes a dive into a semi-digested tag from Meslier:
“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.”
Hitchens doesn’t specify what “phony pacifist” he wishes to see strangled, but we do know that he hates pacifists and pacifism altogether (“an abdication” he once told me as he tore into a bratwurst), so perhaps he was pleased to see Tom Fox, the recently murdered Christian pacifist, meet his grisly (deserved?) fate. I wouldn’t be surprised, but who really knows, or cares, for that matter. I do know that Hitchens’s tough guy act is truly phony, so he might be engaged in some kind of projection.
The guy who arranges Hitchens’s debates asked me if I would moderate a face off between Hitchens and Juan Cole. I said yes, assuming Hitchens would ever agree to it, but now I’ve changed my mind. I’d sooner open for Professor Irwin Corey than share a stage with that wretched, lying asshole.
DENNIS PERRIN lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and can be reached through http://redstateson.blogspot.com