Hitchens: Support the war whether it’s going well or not

posted at 10:20 am on August 31, 2007 by Bryan

I find Christopher Hitchens to be more than a little frustrating. One the one hand, he’s a ghoul to feast on the corpse of Mother Teresa and her faith crises, doubts that show a human side that we never saw when she was alive. In fact, Hitchens’ obits betray a ghoulishness that seems to permeate his character. And then there’s his continued misunderstanding of Vietnam and the lessons of failure there. It almost seems accidental that he’s on the right side of the war in Iraq. Perhaps if Saddam had articulated a more strongly Marxist reason to commit genocide against his own people and attack his neighbors, we’d find ourselves arguing against Hitch instead of cheering him on. Saddam’s, and by extension Osama’s, mistake was to zig Islamist when he should have zagged leftist. Fortunately in at least bin Laden’s case, he is or was too much of a true believer for that.

But the fact is, Hitchens is on our side and he’s probably the war’s most articulate advocate, so we’re cheering him on. Today, Bill Hobbs sends us this clip of Hitchens saying, more or less, that just because the war is difficult is no reason to just give up.

Hitchens makes many good points, but the best is the simplest: Things worth doing are often extremely difficult to do, but their difficulty is no reason to give up. And, their worthiness is no reason to just say that everything is going swimmingly if it isn’t.

The old saw about “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” must have been banned from DNC headquarters, at least when it comes to the war. Every setback is a reason to quit, and every bit of progress is downplayed or ignored, when it isn’t deemed a Bush lie. The Democrats evidently went so far as to use the GAO to cook the books and preemptively destroy the Petraeus report. They must be terribly worried that the war’s progress, if that’s what Petraeus reports, will doom them. Or at least inflame their base, which wants out of the war now, damn the consequences. The Democrats can’t afford another Brian Baird, and Petraeus’ report might just create one or two.


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The democratic party has committed a real and actual crime against our country and humanity.

tomas on August 31, 2007 at 10:28 AM

The old saw about “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” must have been banned from DNC headquarters, at least when it comes to the war. Every setback is a reason to quit, and every bit of progress is downplayed or ignored, when it isn’t deemed a Bush lie.

Excellent point, Bryan. I can’t imagine any American that understands what a truly dangerous time we live in could want this kind of “leadership.”

PatrickS on August 31, 2007 at 10:31 AM

I have a hard time rooting for Hitchens based on his trouncing on Reagan’s grave and saying, among other things, that he was “dumb as a stump.”

He’s on our side on the war, yes–and I’m glad he’s an articulate proponent. I suspect the war is where is alignment with us stops, however.

ConBlog_NH on August 31, 2007 at 10:39 AM

It’s no more ghoulish to sneer at the death of Mother Teresa than it would be to sneer at the death of Osama bin Laden. Both people have been responsible for immense human suffering (see Hitchens’ “Missionary Position” if you can’t wrap your head around the idea that Mother Teresa caused suffering). Just because they do it in the name of religion doesn’t give them a special exemption from derision.

Enrique on August 31, 2007 at 10:49 AM

The left is nervous. I saw Schumer last night say, paraphrased, “if Patraeus was going to give a negative report on progress in Iraq Bush wouldn’t let him speak. Note the “if”.

I would like to ask Schumer on national TV “if” we win this war, will you admit you were wrong on all the major issues about Iraq?

swami on August 31, 2007 at 10:50 AM

You are right to say that Christopher Hitchens remarks about Mother Teresa are ghoulish. There is a strong undercurrent to Hitchens that is foul and ghoulish. He strikes me as the type of person that cries louder and louder and whinier and whinier, “Look at me, Everyone look at me, I’ve got something to say.” “I’m saying something, why isn’t everyone looking at me.” He acts like the spoiled brat everyone wants to slap upside the head.

marianpaul on August 31, 2007 at 10:54 AM

I’d have to have a transcript in front of me in order to really analyze everything he said. He speaks in a low, rapid voice so it was difficult to hear all of it. I would quibble here and there. He said he disagreed with the Vietnam analogy, but in further discussing it, did at least acknowledge that Bush was talking to the left in the way they perceive Nam. He also said that Bush was wrong to instill fear, rather than educate. I don’t think the President’s intention was to instill fear. I think he assumed that people would see the facts and make the correct decisions about what we are trying to do. Now, that is where President Bush made his mistake. Never assume people know what you are talking about. The President was not good at explaining. He allowed the left to spin and frame the discussion for the less aware.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 11:04 AM

Enrique: why not give us a brief synposis of how Mother Teresa is responsible for so much suffering. If you say “she opposed the use of condoms”, however, I shall reach through these here intarweb tube thingees and slap you upside the head.

Fred on August 31, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Contrary to what I lot of people think, the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, he is my enemies enemy. Hitchens may not be my enemy per say, but he certainly is not my friend.

I have a great respect for his intelligence, to disrespect an intelligence such as his would be a down right foolish thing to do. But that does not mean that I admire him. The man spend as much if not more time attacking my faith as he does the terrorists.

Unlike Christopher Hitchens I am perfectly content to allow him and those like him to not believe any thing they want to not believe. It’s really quite sad that a man with his intelligence cant show reciprocity in that respect.

I have no intention of attacking him for what he chooses not to believe, but that does not make him my friend. We have the same enemy, but that does not make him my ally. I am glad that he has chosen to attack my enemy, but I know sooner or later, mostly sooner, he will be attacking my faith again.

So where does that leave me while he is attacking my enemies? It leaves me watching one of my enemies get attacked by someone who is not my friend. I will not root for my enemies over someone who is not my friend and I will not celebrate should the person who is neither my friend or enemy be hurt.

I would mourn should Hitchens get hurt but not because my friend or ally was hurt, but because a fellow human being who was not my enemy was hurt.

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 11:11 AM

It’s no more ghoulish to sneer at the death of Mother Teresa than it would be to sneer at the death of Osama bin Laden. Both people have been responsible for immense human suffering (see Hitchens’ “Missionary Position” if you can’t wrap your head around the idea that Mother Teresa caused suffering). Just because they do it in the name of religion doesn’t give them a special exemption from derision.

Enrique on August 31, 2007 at 10:49 AM

Hmmm… financier of a bunch of suicide bombers and airplane hijackers leading to the deaths of thousands in the name of jihad for Allah…. or…. woman who spent a large portion of her life tending to the sick and dying in one of the world’s most impoverished hovels in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wow Enrique, that’s a tough call. I’m gonna have to think about that one. The best thing about Christopher Hitchens is that even he thinks that after he’s dead he is gone forever, he will never bother decent human beings again.

BKennedy on August 31, 2007 at 11:11 AM

God gave Hitchens a brilliant mind. I’m hoping some day he realizes that.

The Dems are the big problem here. They are willing to cause us to lose a war in order to gain more power. It’s beyond shameless. In the end, it may not matter. I think we are on the fast track to a shooting war with Iran. That will change everything… except the left blaming Bush. Bush says we won’t withdraw from Iraq as long as he is President, and I believe him. I don’t think the Democrats have the guts to defund the war. I think they would just rather yell, scream and lie. When it comes to acting on their rhetoric, they will chicken out.

Ordinary1 on August 31, 2007 at 11:12 AM

The man spend as much if not more time attacking my faith as he does the terrorists.

Perhaps, but he wants to see the terrorists killed. I hope you appreciate the distinction.

JiangxiDad on August 31, 2007 at 11:24 AM

Perhaps, but he wants to see the terrorists killed. I hope you appreciate the distinction.

JiangxiDad on August 31, 2007 at 11:24 AM

I do, thats why I do not consider him to be an enemy.

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 11:33 AM

That was a superb interview on both sides of the table.

Hitch’s views on Maliki as a sec. thug and the inability for a political class to rise up unto the totalitarian state of Hussein are both well made.

I also completely agree with his analysis of Bush: scare vs. educate, in my opinion, the biggest mistake of his administration regarding the threat.

And interesting begrudging tip of the hat to Rudy.

Spirit of 1776 on August 31, 2007 at 11:35 AM

God gave Hitchens a brilliant mind. I’m hoping some day he realizes that.

Ordinary1 on August 31, 2007 at 11:12 AM

Chuckling at that.

I will add one other thing. Hitchens is right about Hillary. She is between a rock and a hard place. She was in the WH previously and therefore privy to certain knowledge and discussions that make it impossible for her to cater totally to the anti-war crowd – even as inept as her husband’s administration was on matters regarding terrorism and Islamic totalitarianism. She knows she needs that crowd to win the WH, so she is trying to do a balancing act to stay where she’s put herself while attempting to also appease the dKuss types. She’s not as dumb as her husband on matters of war, but that just makes her twice as dangerous if she gets elected. Bubba just wants to be loved. Hillary wants power. It doesn’t matter how she gets it or who she has to mow down to get it.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 11:38 AM

Spirit of 1776 on August 31, 2007 at 11:35 AM

I can’t quite bring myself to elevate Maliki to proper thug status. He seems more a puppet than anything else.

As far as Rudy is concerned, yes, I believe the man does understand what needs to be done and most likely has the energy to see it through. Now if I could just make it through the social liberalism… I don’t want to fight terrorism over there just to have the multi-culti diversity crowd completely take over here.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 11:44 AM

As far as Rudy is concerned, yes, I believe the man does understand what needs to be done and most likely has the energy to see it through. Now if I could just make it through the social liberalism… I don’t want to fight terrorism over there just to have the multi-culti diversity crowd completely take over here.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 11:44 AM

And I don’t want to fight terrorism over there whilst getting disarmed over here…

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 11:48 AM

Enrique: why not give us a brief synposis of how Mother Teresa is responsible for so much suffering.

Fred on August 31, 2007 at 11:05 AM

Oh, come on, atheists. Anyone? Allah, JayHaw, Pablo? Spare us the search for Hitchens’s meaning and tell us why Mother Teresa of Calcutta caused “so much suffering” among the poor that she gave her life comforting.

We’ll keep our minds open, we promise.

Jaibones on August 31, 2007 at 11:53 AM

He seems more a puppet than anything else.

To whom? He plays both Iran and the US against each other with rhetoric at the very least.

And I don’t want to fight terrorism over there whilst getting disarmed over here…

Do you get the sense that this would be part of his domestic agenda? After he said what worked in NYC won’t work elsewhere? It’s a completely legit concern, just wondering how far into the realm of possibility you measure it, given the power of the NRA etc.

Spirit of 1776 on August 31, 2007 at 11:58 AM

And I don’t want to fight terrorism over there whilst getting disarmed over here…

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 11:48 AM

Good point.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 11:58 AM

To whom? He plays both Iran and the US against each other with rhetoric at the very least.

Spirit of 1776 on August 31, 2007 at 11:58 AM

I don’t know as it is Maliki himself who is playing anyone. I think he’s a tool of those who surround him. And those who surround him are most likely working with Iran and Damascus.

Connie on August 31, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Connie – it was difficult to hear all of it. Yeah, no kidding. I had the speakers up on kill and I still couldn’t make out a lot of his mumbling. Thought I was losing my hearing. Good to know someone felt the same way.

Babs on August 31, 2007 at 12:12 PM

Enrique on August 31, 2007 at 10:49 AM

The worst that can possibly said about Mother Teresa is that she might have been naive about the causes of suffering and therefore advocated solutions to it that don’t work. The best that you can say about bin Laden is that at least his mass murder isn’t driven by entirely base motives: He believes, somewhere in there, that he’s serving a calling higher than himself.

But still, bin Laden is an imperialistic mass murderer on a global scale, and Mother Teresa devoted her life to trying to help the poor. So there’s really no comparison between the two that’s at all valid, and it’s nonsense to suppose that there is. Hitchens is flat wrong about her. Just flat wrong.

Bryan on August 31, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Simply outstanding post. Every word. It perfectly expresses my own frustration with (and confusion over) Hitchens.

I especially like this line:

It almost seems accidental that he’s on the right side of the war in Iraq.

It is nothing short of bizarre to watch someone who is both very smart and very wrong on so many issues … also articulate so clearly the reasons we are in Iraq.

I wonder if you’re right about the Islamist versus Leftist paradigm? I hope not, but Hitchens own words on Vietnam suggest you’re right.

Do you have a personal blog elsewhere? Is all your blogging done here?

Professor Blather on August 31, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Enrique on August 31, 2007 at 10:49 AM

I believe intentions matter.

Zetterson on August 31, 2007 at 12:23 PM

It’s no more ghoulish to sneer at the death of Mother Teresa than it would be to sneer at the death of Osama bin Laden.

Enrique on August 31, 2007 at 10:49 AM

Congrats, Enrique. In one sentence you authored the single dumbest thing I’ve ever read on the Internet.

And there is a lot of dumb on the Internet.

Moral equivalence between Mother Theresa and Osama bin Laden. I’ve now officially seen everything and can die happy. How about Princess Diana and Genghis Kahn? Were they close?

Wow.

I’ll let you know if anybody challenges your Crown of Stupid. It’s a big Internet so I wouldn’t doubt it.

But man, you’ve raised the bar with this one! Well done!

Professor Blather on August 31, 2007 at 12:23 PM

Professor Blather on August 31, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Hot Air is my home, so yeah, all my blogging is here. You can find years of my old stuff at JunkYardBlog though. That’s where I blogged before we launched Hot Air.

Bryan on August 31, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Crown of Stupid

Sweet… :)

heatherrc77 on August 31, 2007 at 12:49 PM

This war (against the imperialistic Islamic jihad, essentially) would be far less difficult and bloody had half of the country just understood the need for instinctive unity against such a brutal and tyrannical enemy.

And if they had simply stood behind our effort to defeat this expansionistic and unholy terror that is openly attempting to slaughter its way to power and (by its brutal and immoral intimidation) subjugate the world.

By confusing the fact of the Jihad with their mere political aims and their local power strugggles, they blindly and brainlessly weaken the nation when we are fighting for our, and the West’s survival.

Somehow, half of the country doesn’t know that Nick Berg and Danny Pearl are only the first of us to meet the new masters head on.

Everyone else is next -if this movement of violent, intolerant “religious” despotism isn’t defeated.

What good is gaining power if you only use it to allow our civilizational suicide?

Anything that does not weaken the Jihad strengthens it.

And its aim is clear: a global theocratic gulag.

How this kind of future doesn’t worry half of the nation is what is worrisome.

We must all hang together, or the Jihad will hang us one by one.

profitsbeard on August 31, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Liberals are the enemy within. Thier hatred for Bush is so great they would see America nuked into the stone age if it meant defeat for Bush.

jdawg on August 31, 2007 at 1:20 PM

Allow me to give a quick heads up on why Hitchens has an issue with Mother Theresa: medication in her houses of the dying was a no-no. The ultimate goal was to save people’s souls for the afterlife with little concern for their earthly status.

Keep in mind that these places weren’t/aren’t medical clinics, but places the terminally ill go to die after no one else would take them in.

Haven’t fact checked this, but that is the basis for his dislike.

Krydor on August 31, 2007 at 1:32 PM

Hitchens makes many good points, but the best is the simplest: Things worth doing are often extremely difficult to do, but their difficulty is no reason to give up.

Nothing is difficult for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
- Murphy

The wise man does at once what the fool does finally.
- Niccolo Machiavelli

You can’t get there from here.
- New York cab driver

MB4 on August 31, 2007 at 1:36 PM

Hot Air is my home, so yeah, all my blogging is here. You can find years of my old stuff at JunkYardBlog though. That’s where I blogged before we launched Hot Air.

Bryan on August 31, 2007 at 12:43 PM

Thanks, Bryan. I really enjoy your stuff. If you ever go solo, it’d probably be my first and last stop of the day. I look forward to checking out your old stuff.

Professor Blather on August 31, 2007 at 1:56 PM

What up Professor Blather?

~B (Old PoliPundit days)

Good to see you are still spreading the good word.

Brian on August 31, 2007 at 2:03 PM

Haven’t fact checked this, but that is the basis for his dislike.

Krydor on August 31, 2007 at 1:32 PM

If I read Hichens correctly the basis for his dislike of Mother Teresa was actually the fact that she was religious, his hatred for all things religious is truly venomous.

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 2:49 PM

I cannot bring myself to watch that much of CH anymore, his arrogance supersedes everything he says for me.

d1carter on August 31, 2007 at 3:14 PM

If I read Hichens correctly the basis for his dislike of Mother Teresa was actually the fact that she was religious, his hatred for all things religious is truly venomous.

doriangrey

It’s a trifle deeper than that. Her religious beliefs led her to allow and condone the suffering of those in her care because (and I hope I’m absolutely wrong on this) she thought the more they suffered in this life the better the reward in the afterlife.

When you view her work through that prism, it becomes clear why Hitchens calls her The Ghoul of Calcutta.

Krydor on August 31, 2007 at 3:27 PM

You are right to say that Christopher Hitchens remarks about Mother Teresa are ghoulish. There is a strong undercurrent to Hitchens that is foul and ghoulish. He strikes me as the type of person that cries louder and louder and whinier and whinier, “Look at me, Everyone look at me, I’ve got something to say.” “I’m saying something, why isn’t everyone looking at me.” He acts like the spoiled brat everyone wants to slap upside the head.

marianpaul on August 31, 2007 at 10:54 AM

Translation: “I disagree strongly with what Hitchens has to say, but I am incapable of formulating a reasoned counter-argument. Therefore, I’m going to slur Hitchens personally in the vain hope that he’ll shut up and go away. And, even if he sticks around, then my expressions of hatred will help me to feel better. And maybe others will have second thoughts about supporting Hitchens knowing that so many people hate him!”

Loundry on August 31, 2007 at 3:49 PM

Translation: “I disagree strongly with what Hitchens has to say, but I am incapable of formulating a reasoned counter-argument. Therefore, I’m going to slur Hitchens personally in the vain hope that he’ll shut up and go away. And, even if he sticks around, then my expressions of hatred will help me to feel better. And maybe others will have second thoughts about supporting Hitchens knowing that so many people hate him!”

Loundry on August 31, 2007 at 3:49 PM

Christopher Hitchen’s wild fantasies regarding Mother Theresa have less backing than any religion Chris criticizes. Next you’ll be asking us to defend 9/11 Truth.

BKennedy on August 31, 2007 at 5:02 PM

The man seems to have his head screwed on straight when it comes to fighting jihadists. His analysis of Iraq seems to come from careful reasoning. I’m happy at least one intellectual in the world understands that the US being in Iraq was the right thing to do, even if it was/is unpopular.

His last comment about religion made me toss my intellectual cookies (the few that I have). Religion is not the problem…the way people of any faith twist religion towards demonic ends is. It’s not the faith, it’s the people, stupid!

American_Jihadist on August 31, 2007 at 5:06 PM

Somehow, half of the country doesn’t know that Nick Berg and Danny Pearl are only the first of us to meet the new masters head on.

Everyone else is next -if this movement of violent, intolerant “religious” despotism isn’t defeated.

What good is gaining power if you only use it to allow our civilizational suicide?

Anything that does not weaken the Jihad strengthens it.

And its aim is clear: a global theocratic gulag.

How this kind of future doesn’t worry half of the nation is what is worrisome.

We must all hang together, or the Jihad will hang us one by one.

profitsbeard on August 31, 2007 at 1:18 PM

Magnificent post, profitsbeard. Hear! Hear!

p.v. cornelius on August 31, 2007 at 7:02 PM

It’s hard to listen to an idiot. It is amazing to me how people grab onto a morsel or two of what comes out of this opportunist capitalists mouth.

Hey, I’m all for capitalism, but consider the source. He has books to sell…and opinions he puts out there lay his base….

just sayin’

Highrise on September 1, 2007 at 4:15 AM

Highrise:

He is an opportunistic Marxist.

davod on September 1, 2007 at 5:06 AM

When you view her work through that prism, it becomes clear why Hitchens calls her The Ghoul of Calcutta.

Krydor on August 31, 2007 at 3:27 PM

You would have to be smoking some pretty damn serious crack to even think of viewing it through that “prism”. I find it no strange thing that those peering through this “prism” are those who attack Christianity at every opportunity. For that non-existent being that atheists don’t believe in sake the last thing we can have is some one like Mother Teresa actually being REAL…

doriangrey on September 1, 2007 at 2:29 PM

doriangrey on August 31, 2007 at 11:11 AM

What’s so smart about Hitchens? The man said he’d love to fight in an American civil war so he could kill right wing Christians. You’re wrong about him not being your enemy. He is your enemy just as much as Osama is. Hitchens just doesn’t have the power, guts or brains to do what Osama did and simply settles for opening his mouth and saying something stupid. Supporting the war in Iraq is not something smart people do, it’s something EVERYBODY should be, especially when one is a liberal atheist. If fundamentalist Islam takes over, all you or I have to do is pay a head tax. Hitchens would get his melon chopped. He has more reason to want to fight this war than I do. Just becase he isn’t brain dead like evey other anti-war liberal doesn’t mean he’s smart either.

Darth Executor on September 1, 2007 at 5:00 PM