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Author Topic: The madness of King Chris
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 14 October 2003 08:31 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's quite clear that Christopher Hitchins has gone Round the bend. He supported the war in Iraq because he thought the Iraqi people would be better off without Saddam Hussein. Hitchins got his wish. Hussein is gone. His sons are dead. The man's régime is destroyed. Unfortunately, the American led reconstruction effort has not been going well. Bandits rule the streets of Baghdad. There is massive unemployment and the average Iraqi has no access to fresh water. Not only has Hitchins refused to comment on the Bush administration's long list of post war mistakes,
He also has the very disturbing habit of repeating everything Bush says. What happened to the insightful intellectual we all know and love?

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worker_drone
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posted 14 October 2003 10:45 PM      Profile for worker_drone        Edit/Delete Post
He refused to jump on the bandwagon. The bandwagon even slowed down and waited for him to catch up. It even held a reserved seat for him but he still wouldn't get on board.

Don't worry though, the bandwagon is fickle. It only cares about the current trip. Next time around if he gets on board I'm sure all will be forgiven.


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 15 October 2003 01:02 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by worker_drone:
He refused to jump on the bandwagon. The bandwagon even slowed down and waited for him to catch up. It even held a reserved seat for him but he still wouldn't get on board.

Don't worry though, the bandwagon is fickle. It only cares about the current trip. Next time around if he gets on board I'm sure all will be forgiven.


What are you talking about?


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beluga2
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posted 15 October 2003 01:19 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not sure even he knows, CMOT.

Something inexplicable happened to Hitchens' brain sometime between September 15 and September 20, 2001. On the former date an article was published by In These Times which stands as the last recognizable output of the "old" Hitchens. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he warned against ignoring the historical context out of which the attack emerged, and worried that the range of permissible thoughts was being narrowed. Sensible stuff. (Which I can't find online, unfortunately.)

Five days later, he did a 100% about-face, and published a vile screed in The Nation accusing Noam Chomsky and others of being "apologists for mass murder" by doing exactly what Hitchens had advocated in his own previous column: addressing context, history, and the reasons why 9/11 took place. Suddenly, Hitchy had become a frothing-at-the-mouth neo-McCarthyist thug worthy of anything on Faux News.

It was pathetic to watch. And he's just dug himself deeper ever since.

The question is, what the fuck happened? Did he have a stroke? Was he replaced by alien body-snatchers? Did the US government blackmail him with photos of him in bed with a goat? Or did he just start drinking on September 16 and never stop?

Truth be told, the guy always was an ego-bloated, self-satisfied ass. But when his bluster was aimed at appropriate targets, it was a wonder to behold: his eviscerations of Henry Kissinger, for instance, remain definitive and unequalled.

But now he's just an ass. I, for one, have given up even reading the drool that passes for his current writings. If he's truly determined to spend the rest of his life subsisting on a steady diet of Dubya's shoepolish, that's his problem, not mine. I see no need to watch him humiliate himself any further.


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Jacob Two-Two
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posted 15 October 2003 02:33 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You mean he used to be a real intellectual? Well, you learn something new every day...

As for why he's become a raving war hawk, I believe "brain tumor" emerged as a dominant hypothesis for crazy right-wingers in a not-so-distant thread. Of course, with the new revelations from Rush, "painkiller addict" has become a working theory as well. Or maybe he's just an idiot. You're sure he used to be smart?


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DrConway
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posted 15 October 2003 04:22 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Maybe we should have Hitchens checked for a brain tumor.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 15 October 2003 10:05 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The question is, what the fuck happened? Did he have a stroke? Was he replaced by alien body-snatchers? Did the US government blackmail him with photos of him in bed with a goat? Or did he just start drinking on September 16 and never stop?

Can they do that?

quote:
Five days later, he did a 100% about-face, and published a vile screed in The Nation accusing Noam Chomsky and others of being "apologists for mass murder" by doing exactly what Hitchens had advocated in his own previous column: addressing context, history, and the reasons why 9/11 took place. Suddenly, Hitchy had become a frothing-at-the-mouth neo-McCarthyist thug worthy of anything on Faux News.


I know your all going to hate me for this, but during the war I partially supported Hitchens' point of view. Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction, but I still believe that the stalanist maniac deserved to be tossed out of office has Hitchy written ANYTING about the turmoil in post war iraq?


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beluga2
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posted 16 October 2003 01:02 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, he has, and he toes the usual Bush Administration line slavishly: all is well, a thousand flowers of freedom and democracy are blooming in Iraq, everything's peachy, the nasty media are dwelling on the negative, blah-blah-blah. Hitchy's dug himself in so deep he probably couldn't extricate himself if he wanted to.

BTW, we don't hate you, CMOT. I heartily agree that the "Stalinist maniac" had to go, but not like this, not thru a US invasion. The fact is that he probably would have been overthrown by his own people years earlier, if the US hadn't systematically flattened them thru a decade of vicious sanctions. Remember that Saddam was on the verge of being deposed in 1991 until the US came in and rescued him. The US is serving its own interests; those of Iraqis are entirely incidental.

Here's an attempt by a friend of Hitchens to try and figure out what happened to him.


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Courage
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posted 16 October 2003 01:44 AM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think he fell in love with the image of himself as a sort of modern Orwell...
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 16 October 2003 08:59 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I think he fell in love with the image of himself as a sort of modern Orwell...

Yes, but Orwell wasn't a dishonest war monger.


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'lance
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posted 16 October 2003 09:09 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Yes, but Orwell wasn't a dishonest war monger.

Still something of a warmonger, though, during the Second World War. As for honesty, Orwell had about as good a line in venomous invective -- some of it brutally unfair -- as Hitchens.

If Hitchens would like to be a latter-day Orwell, he must have forgotten much that he knew about Orwell's work and life. I think Hitchens would like to have a similar reputation to Orwell.

[ 16 October 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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Courage
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posted 17 October 2003 02:01 AM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by 'lance:

Still something of a warmonger, though, during the Second World War. As for honesty, Orwell had about as good a line in venomous invective -- some of it brutally unfair -- as Hitchens.

If Hitchens would like to be a latter-day Orwell, he must have forgotten much that he knew about Orwell's work and life. I think Hitchens would like to have a similar reputation to Orwell.

[ 16 October 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]



Well, the reason I mentioned it is that Hitchens recently got through doing a biography of his Orwell, and it would seem to me that Chris has started to act and sound a lot like the image of Orwell that Hitchens propounds...

Just a musing on psychology, is all.


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'lance
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posted 17 October 2003 11:01 AM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'd forgotten that. Obviously I haven't read it. I hope and assume he didn't buy into the old Saint George business.
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ronb
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posted 17 October 2003 11:11 AM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Apropos of nothing... I'm currently about halfway through volume one of the collected Orwell letters. I must confess I'm a little taken aback to discover that he was something of an anti-semite.
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'lance
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posted 17 October 2003 11:19 AM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And (a propos of even less) didn't he hate vegetarians, for some curious reason?
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al-Qa'bong
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posted 17 October 2003 11:47 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't know his reasons, but he didn't seem to think highly of sandal-wearing bearded vegetarians, teetotallers and fruit juice drinkers.

Them and fascists.

[ 17 October 2003: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


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Courage
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posted 17 October 2003 01:52 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by 'lance:
I'd forgotten that. Obviously I haven't read it. I hope and assume he didn't buy into the old Saint George business.

Nary a poor word...Hitchies' George is a 'put your money where your mouth is' principled straight-talkin' critic of all idealisms whose "power to face" unwanted, unpleasant realities is the most important contribution, etc....


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'lance
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posted 17 October 2003 02:40 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks for the capsule review... Every time I think "so many books, so little time," and am tempted to despair, something like this lifts my mood -- the reminder that so many of those books are probably not worth reading.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 17 October 2003 08:17 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Orwell was an anti-Semite, but according to Hitchens he tried to get rid of this prejudice, which is more than Agatha Christie ever did. Now granted, Christopher is a turn coat and I will probably never listen the man again, but I would like to believe that old George did make an attempt to improve himself.
One thing still makes me a little uneasy. A couple of months ago Hitch was being interviewed by Michael Enright. In that interview, he said that if Hussein was not toppled, he would be able to build a nuclear weapon within two years. Can somebody tear this argument to shreds?

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pogge
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posted 17 October 2003 08:31 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
A couple of months ago Hitch was being interviewed by Michael Enright. In that interview, he said that if Hussein was not toppled, he would be able to build a nuclear weapon within two years. Can somebody tear this argument to shreds?

The chief US weapons hunter, David Kay, said in a report to Congress earlier this month that Saddam still remained "firmly committed" to obtaining nuclear weapons. That's it. Firmly committed. No fissile material and none of the specific infrastructure required to develop and test nuclear weapons has yet been found. It takes more than two years to achieve a project like that and even hawks like Ken Pollack, before Saddam was brought down and the Americans were able to get in and see for themselves, thought it would be more like four to six years. I think Hitch drank too much of the Bush Kool Aid. Or something.

On edit: Believe me, if Kay had determined that Saddam was only two years from a functioning nuclear weapons program, Fox and CNN would have been screaming about it. You wouldn't have missed it.

[ 17 October 2003: Message edited by: Slim ]


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 17 October 2003 09:30 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wonderful! Now I can go back to hating all things American!
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pogge
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posted 17 October 2003 10:15 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I wouldn't go quite that far. But by all means, go on hating Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,...you get the idea, I'm sure.

And if you don't already hate flood control, please start.

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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 17 October 2003 11:22 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Don't worry. I will.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 17 October 2003 11:41 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Has Hitchins gone after Robert Fisk yet?
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 18 October 2003 04:59 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm worried again. In the interview I mentioned earlier, the pommy bastard mentioned that the information about Saddam's nukes was given to Gerhard Schroeder by the German secret service. Does anybody want to tackle this? I don't want Hitchins to have a shred of credibility.

I have another question. If the beast of Baghdad did have WMDs, wouldn't Sharon attack Iraq?

[ 18 October 2003: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


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Courage
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posted 19 October 2003 04:14 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
I'm worried again. In the interview I mentioned earlier, the pommy bastard mentioned that the information about Saddam's nukes was given to Gerhard Schroeder by the German secret service. Does anybody want to tackle this? I don't want Hitchins to have a shred of credibility.

I have another question. If the beast of Baghdad did have WMDs, wouldn't Sharon attack Iraq?

[ 18 October 2003: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


Quite the contrary, Arik the Butcher reserves his strongest attacks for the defenseless.


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 19 October 2003 05:13 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, but if Hussein did start to build a nuclear weapon wouldn't that constitute a threat to Israel? They attacked Iraq in 1981 because they found out Saddam was building WMDs. Why couldn't they do it again?
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 21 October 2003 12:35 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
BTW, we don't hate you, CMOT. I heartily agree that the "Stalinist maniac" had to go, but not like this, not thru a US invasion. The fact is that he probably would have been overthrown by his own people years earlier, if the US hadn't systematically flattened them thru a decade of vicious sanctions. Remember that Saddam was on the verge of being deposed in 1991 until the US came in and rescued him. The US is serving its own interests; those of Iraqis are entirely incidental.

I'm about to say something very conservative.

*ahem*

What was the alternative? Saddam was a ruthless dictator. He was absolutey ruthless when it came to dealing with his opponents. If the sanctions were lifted last year and we started trading with Hussein again, how long would it take for the Iraqi people to rise up and crush Saddam? How could you guarantee that they would succeed?

Not in the face!

Please spare me. I mean you no harm. Don't flame me!


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Jacob Two-Two
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posted 21 October 2003 02:29 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What was the alternative? Saddam was a ruthless dictator. He was absolutey ruthless when it came to dealing with his opponents. If the sanctions were lifted last year and we started trading with Hussein again, how long would it take for the Iraqi people to rise up and crush Saddam? How could you guarantee that they would succeed?

OK, first, the sanctions don't have to be all or nothing. The sanctions regime as it was completely devestated the country and everyone in it (my theory is that they were tailored to prevent an uprising until the oil barons could deal with him personally, but that's another matter). There could have been, however, a sanctions strategy carefully constructed to do the least harm to the people while still preventing Saddam from rebuilding his military. This would embolden the people while weakening the tyrant.

How long would it take? Well, we should remember that without US support, Saddam probably would never have taken and held the country in the first place. As well, everyone seems to agree that hatred of him was bitter and widespread. Remember, the Iraqi people ousted the British Empire. It seems logical to think that they could do the same to a tin-plated stalinist. At least, one that wasn't being propped up by the most powerful country in the world. Personally, I think that if the US had just stopped backing Saddam in '91 and taken no other action whatsoever, people would barely remember Saddam's name right now. As the Bushites are discovering, the Iraqi people are an ornery bunch. Cross them at your peril, and Saddam did many, many times.

How could you guarantee success? There is no guarantee, but that's a problem with the "invade and take Saddam out" plan as well, as we are all seeing right now. The people are rising up against the occupation and Saddam roams the country, waiting to make his move. It seems like we're seeing a guaranteed failure happening with this option.

I don't think the people would have had much trouble with Saddam if he had never been supported by the US, and they had never been beaten into the ground by a sanctions regime that could more acurately be called a starvation seige. History (and current events) shows that they are extremely adept at insurrections and guerilla warfare, and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve victory. They would have succeeded against Saddam. They will succeed against the US military. They will succeed against Saddam again, if he returns, or any warlord that tries to take his place. They will never surrender.


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jeff house
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posted 21 October 2003 01:24 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What was the alternative?

The alternative was to respect the fact that the United States government does not have a free-standing right to overthrow governments it disapproves of.

Since Saddam presented no threat to the US or its allies, the only alternative was to keep American soldiers away from Iraq, where there presence constitutes a continuing violation of international law.


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beluga2
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posted 22 October 2003 12:30 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Saddam was a ruthless dictator. ... how long would it take for the Iraqi people to rise up and crush Saddam? How could you guarantee that they would succeed?

You're right, there was never any "guarantee" that it would've happened. Nothing is ever "guaranteed". But that doesn't mean that it couldn't have happened.

True, Saddam was (is?) a vicious tyrant and overthrowing him would've been no picnic, but remember: thugs just as brutal as he HAVE been overthrown by their own populations quite a number of times in the last decade or so. Ceaucescu, Suharto, apartheid South Africa. It can and does happen.

[ 22 October 2003: Message edited by: beluga2 ]


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April Follies
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posted 22 October 2003 01:33 AM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We could probably develop a list of things the US could have done to dislodge Hussein circa 2002, rather than the invasion. I'm not going to be really mean and go back to the 1980's, and say, "don't have supported the little spit in the first place."

OK, so. Having made the mistake of supporting the egregious war-criminal... and having compounded the mistake with the mis-aimed sanctions, what could the world have done starting in 2002 to dislodge Hussein?


Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is "stop being part of the problem" in the Middle East, of course. Back off support for Israel's govenment insofar as it breaks international law, for instance; similarly, withdraw support for human-rights violators like Egypt until they start practicing actual democracy and so forth. In other words, cease to provide a Hard Place as the only area alternative to Saddam's Rock.

More finely tuned sanctions, or other economic pressures, might have had an effect. Target Saddam's personal assets, if they can be found, and make life harder for him. Begin in absentia war-crimes proceedings, as was done for Milosovich (I believe). Let his generals quietly know that if they deliver him in handcuffs, there's a hefty fee waiting. Hey, it worked in other circumstances...

Seriously, any suggestions that we can come up with, on how the world can peaceably assist the transition from a despotic regime to a democratic government, would doubtless be welcome to the world at large. After all, we have Myanmar just a'waitin' for some more pressure. What can be done?


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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 22 October 2003 03:01 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank you for answering a question couched in such neoconservative terms. However, I have one more slightly conservative thing to say. Saddam is a billionaire his cash assets are surely locked up in Switzerland and various Caribbean islands. Surely the beast of Baghdad would have enough money to rebuild his army all by himself.
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pogge
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posted 22 October 2003 03:19 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Have you shopped for weapons lately? A billion doesn't go very far. (And the latest buzz is that Saddam's money is in Syria.)
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 24 October 2003 07:06 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I feel sorry for Christopher Hitchens. He is my political enemy and probably wouldn't want my pity, but I still feel some sympathy for him. That's my problem, I have too much empathy.
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CMOT Dibbler
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posted 26 October 2003 07:03 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I just had a thought. Hitchy's precious invasion would've worked if the United Nations had managed to find evidence that Saddam Hussein threatened the United States. They could then have acted multilateraly and rebuilt Iraq with the help of their European allies. Of course they didn't, so they couldn't and therefore they shouldn't have invaded Iraq. Beginning this war with a lie was a very bad mistake.
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