Look on the bright side: This’ll make for one hell of a Slate column once he gets back.

I can only assume they didn’t recognize him, as the opportunity to scalp one of the world’s foremost atheists surely would have been irresistible.

I dont know if you find this as news worthy or not, but Christopher Hitchens is currently in Beirut sponsored by the same group that owns that crap NOW Lebanon. He got in a few nights ago and surprisingly went out drinking. On his way out of the bar he saw an SSNP poster and wrote on it “Fuck the SSNP”. There just happened to be some SSNP thugs near by–most likely asking people for their ID, and most likely to no avail–and saw him write on the poster and kicked his ass. He is still walking with a limp.

Abu Muqawama says he’s confirmed the story. The SSNP is, of course, a Hezbollah ally that advocates a Syrian anschluss of Lebanon (and Israel, natch). Consider Hitch a minor martyr to the cause of the Cedar Revolution here. Exit question one: More or less unpleasant than being waterboarded? Exit question two: Er, isn’t Ace there with him? Has anyone heard from Ace recently?

Update: Belated exit question three: Is it time for me to organize a mighty atheist army and lead it on a march to Damascus for justice? Yes.

Update: Forbes says Totten was in the mix.

But later that night, three of our “scoop” brigade–Jonathan Foreman, Michael Totten and Christopher Hitchens–got involved in a street brawl with some thugs of a Syria-loving skinhead party called the SNPN after Hitchens rather gallantly insulted their swastika flag. On our way to a meeting with Minister of State Nissib Lahoud, Hitchens showed me the gashed knuckles and bruises suffered during the punch up. The attackers had apparently come out of nowhere on posh Hamda Street, where they had gone to buy shoes. “I was on the ground,” Hitchens said, “and getting it in the head.” It was a miracle they didn’t pull Kalashnikovs.

Note: I changed the headline to reflect that the attackers were pro-Syrian, but not necessarily Syrian in origin.

Update: Ace sets the record straight.