Sunday, July 10, 2005

LIBERALISM 101: A Look At An Endangered Subspecies: The Thinking Liberal

Christopher Hitchens proves that 'thinking liberal' is not an oxymoron after all... but you'd best take notes... he is a rare and endangered species.

In his article, Pluck vs. defeatism after the bombs, he comments on the man-in-the-street interviews depicting the "vox populi encounters (that) disclosed an identical, almost camera-ready, ability to emulate the stoic forebears" and an email he received from a friend: "He recounted the almost pedantic willingness of citizens to make way and say "after you" as the doors finally opened and as emergency staff made an appearance on the platforms. As anyone who regularly uses Edgware Road station, or anyone who goes to soccer matches, can attest, Londoners don't normally behave this politely, so again I assume that there is a subliminal script that so to speak "kicks in" when things get nasty."

To wit Hitchens recounts a brief historic tidbit describing how the "sturdy phlegmatic Londoner" stereotype wasn't altogether true. Upon which he comments: (At least) "There were no serious demands for capitulation. But last Thursday the blood wasn't dry on the wall of the British Medical Association in Bloomsbury, with the lower stairway covered in body parts, before the call for surrender was being raised."

He then unleashes upon the lunatic left: "First out of the trap was George Galloway, the renegade Member of Parliament who has been Saddam Hussein's chief propagandist in Britain. Within hours of the atrocities, he had diagnosed their cause, or causes. These included the presence of British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the photographs from Abu Ghraib, and the state of affairs at Guantanamo. This can only mean that Galloway knows what was in the minds of the bombers, and knows that it was these subjects (and not, say, the Wahhabi hatred of unveiled women, or their fury at the liberation of East Timor) that had actually motivated the attacks. If he really knows that much about the killers, he should be asked to make a full disclosure of his sources to Scotland Yard. If he doesn't know, he should at least have waited until the blood was dry before opening his ugly mouth. Scant chance of the latter."

... In 2001 there was an enemy to hit back at, and some business to conclude with the Taliban. Since then, there has been unfinished business with Saddam Hussein and his notorious fedayeen. But from now on, we must increasingly confront the fact that the war within Islam is also a war within Europe. It's highly probable that the assassins of 7 July are British born, as were several Taliban fighters in the first round in Afghanistan. And the mirror image also exists. Many Muslims take the side of civilization and many European fascists and Communists are sympathetic to jihad."

These are not the bright, clear lines that many people fondly imagine to be heritable from a heroic past. But the nature of the enemy is somewhat similar. Like the fascists that they are, the murderers boast that they love death more than we love life. They imagine that this yell of unreason is intimidating and impressive. We shall undoubtedly go forward and put these grave matters to the proof but, meanwhile: Death to them and Long Live London!"


SCARBOROUGH: You know, obviously, a man that you or I have little respect for, George Galloway, a member of Parliament and also a frequent critic of the British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, had this to say about the attacks. We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorism attacks in Britain. Tragically, Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.

HITCHENS: Well, he got a very good rebuke from the Labor defense minister today. And I hope The Daily Mirror will publish what I think of him tomorrow. I mean, according to him, it's not the perpetrators who are responsible. They didn't kill anybody. The murderer is Tony Blair. I mean, that's all you have to believe, really, morally to agree with a man like him. Well, you should additionally believe that the root cause of terrorism is the resistance to it.

I suppose the simplest reply would be to say that the first three British people killed fighting in Afghanistan, the first three citizens, were, I'm sorry to have to tell you, fighting for the Taliban. So, this movement of jihadist forces, some of them homegrown, was operating in and out of Britain long before there were any British soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq. But I think that takes care of the logic, don't you?

SCARBOROUGH: Christopher Hitchens, earlier today, you had Hillary Clinton, senator for New York, coming out and actually criticizing George Bush, criticizing our government, saying that we're just not spending enough money on counterterrorism. Take a listen to what she had to say.

CLINTON VIDEO CLIP: But the fact is, the president's budget calls for a $50 million cut in what we appropriated last year. Last year, although Chuck and I wanted more money and the Senate unanimously passed a bill for $570 million, we got $150 million out of the Congress."

SCARBOROUGH: Mr. Hitchens, is Senator Clinton correct?

I have no idea. My presumption would be that she's just fooling with the numbers. But that's just because I don't like her and can't stand the sight of her. It's not a matter of money. I mean, I used to not say this, because I didn't want to give anyone even the idea. I didn't want to even feel that I was... That's if it could be stopped with extra expenditure, there would be nothing to worry about. We are vulnerable precisely because we live in an open society. Surely, that's the root problem, to begin with. You can't spend your way out of that."




In another interview the next day with Ron Reagan, Hitchens tips over yet another Sacared Cow... I like RadioBlogger's description of the exchange:
"Christopher Hitchens from Vanity Fair was involved in a complete verbal undressing of Ron Reagan (on Connected). Reagan, like all the other feel first, hate Bush second, think last lefties, is so intent on re-writing history to make the case that the war in Iraq was illegitimate, got boxed around the ears by Hitchens."

RonReagan: Christopher, I'm not sure that I buy the idea that these attacks are a sign that we're actually winning the war on terror. I mean, how many more victories like this do we really want to endure?

ChristopherHitchens: Well, it depends on how you think it started, sir. I mean, these movements had taken over Afghanistan, had very nearly taken over Algeria, in a extremely bloody war which actually was eventually won by Algerian society. They had sent death squads to try and kill my friend Salman Rushdie, for the offense of writing a novel in England. They had sent death squads to Austria and Germany, the Iranians had, for example, to try and kill Kurdish Muslim leaders there.

If you make the mistake that I thought I heard you making just before we came on the air, of attributing rationality or a motive to this, and to say that it's about anything but itself, you make a great mistake, and you end up where you ended up, saying that the cause of terrorism is fighting against it, the root cause, I mean.
Now, you even said, extraordinarily to me, that there was no terrorist problem in Iraq before 2003. Do you know nothing about the subject at all? Do you wonder how Mr. Zarqawi got there under the rule of Saddam Hussein? Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal?

RR: Well, I'm following the lead of the 9/11 Commission, which...

CH: Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal, the most wanted man in the world, who was sheltered in Baghdad? The man who pushed Leon Klinghoffer off the boat, was sheltered by Saddam Hussein. The man who blew up the World Trade Center in 1993 was sheltered by Saddam Hussein, and you have the nerve to say that terrorism is caused by resisting it? And by deposing governments that endorse it?

RR: No, actually, I didn't say that, Christopher.

CH: At this stage, after what happened in London yesterday?

RR: What I did say, though, was that Iraq was not a center of terrorism before we went in there, but it might be now.

CH: How can you know so little about...

RR: You can make the claim that you just made about any other country in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

CH: Absolutely nonsense.

RR: So do you think we ought to invade Saudi Arabia, where most of the hijackers from 9/11 came from, following your logic, Christopher?

CH: Uh, no. Excuse me. The hijackers may have been Saudi and Yemeni, but they were not envoys of the Saudi Arabian government, even when you said the worst...

RR: Zarqawi is not an envoy of Saddam Hussein, either.

CH: Excuse me. When I went to interview Abu Nidal, then the most wanted terrorist in the world, in Baghdad, he was operating out of an Iraqi government office. He was an arm of the Iraqi State, while being the most wanted man in the world. The same is true of the shelter and safe house offered by the Iraqi government, to the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, and to Mr. Yassin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. How can you know so little about this, and be occupying a chair at the time that you do?

RR: I guess because I listen to the 9/11 Commission, and read their report, and they said that Saddam Hussein was not exporting terror. I suppose that's how, Christopher.

CH: Well, then they were wrong, weren't they?

RR: No, maybe they just needed to listen to you, Christopher.

CH: Well, I'm not sure that they actually did say that. What they did say was they didn't know of any actual operational connection...

RR: That's right. No substantive operational connection.

CH: ...which was the Iraqi Baath Party and...excuse me...and Al Qaeda. A direct operational connection. Now, that's because they don't know. They don't say there isn't one. They say they couldn't find one. But I just gave you a number, I would have thought, rather suggestive examples.

As a liberal, Christopher Hitchens is on the opposite side of most issues from Write Wing Warriors, however, he definitely understands the War on Terror and does not follow the mandates of the Liberal Manifesto, if indeed he even has a copy.

You have a right to your own opinions - You do not have a right to your own facts!