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A War to Be Proud Of - [Christopher Hitchens at his best]
The Weekly Standard ^ | September 5, 2005 issue | Christopher Hitchens

Posted on 08/27/2005 4:51:10 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored

A War to Be Proud Of
From the September 5 / September 12, 2005 issue: The case for overthrowing Saddam was unimpeachable. Why, then, is the administration tongue-tied?
by Christopher Hitchens
09/05/2005, Volume 010, Issue 47

LET ME BEGIN WITH A simple sentence that, even as I write it, appears less than Swiftian in the modesty of its proposal: "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."

I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still, unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?

I once tried to calculate how long the post-Cold War liberal Utopia had actually lasted. Whether you chose to date its inception from the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, or the death of Nicolae Ceausescu in late December of the same year, or the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, or the referendum defeat suffered by Augusto Pinochet (or indeed from the publication of Francis Fukuyama's book about the "end of history" and the unarguable triumph of market liberal pluralism), it was an epoch that in retrospect was over before it began. By the middle of 1990, Saddam Hussein had abolished Kuwait and Slobodan Milosevic was attempting to erase the identity and the existence of Bosnia. It turned out that we had not by any means escaped the reach of atavistic, aggressive, expansionist, and totalitarian ideology. Proving the same point in another way, and within approximately the same period, the theocratic dictator of Iran had publicly claimed the right to offer money in his own name for the suborning of the murder of a novelist living in London, and the génocidaire faction in Rwanda had decided that it could probably get away with putting its long-fantasized plan of mass murder into operation.

One is not mentioning these apparently discrepant crimes and nightmares as a random or unsorted list. Khomeini, for example, was attempting to compensate for the humiliation of the peace agreement he had been compelled to sign with Saddam Hussein. And Saddam Hussein needed to make up the loss, of prestige and income, that he had himself suffered in the very same war. Milosevic (anticipating Putin, as it now seems to me, and perhaps Beijing also) was riding a mutation of socialist nationalism into national socialism. It was to be noticed in all cases that the aggressors, whether they were killing Muslims, or exalting Islam, or just killing their neighbors, shared a deep and abiding hatred of the United States.

The balance sheet of the Iraq war, if it is to be seriously drawn up, must also involve a confrontation with at least this much of recent history. Was the Bush administration right to leave--actually to confirm--Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991? Was James Baker correct to say, in his delightfully folksy manner, that the United States did not "have a dog in the fight" that involved ethnic cleansing for the mad dream of a Greater Serbia? Was the Clinton administration prudent in its retreat from Somalia, or wise in its opposition to the U.N. resolution that called for a preemptive strengthening of the U.N. forces in Rwanda?

I know hardly anybody who comes out of this examination with complete credit. There were neoconservatives who jeered at Rushdie in 1989 and who couldn't see the point when Sarajevo faced obliteration in 1992. There were leftist humanitarians and radicals who rallied to Rushdie and called for solidarity with Bosnia, but who--perhaps because of a bad conscience about Palestine--couldn't face a confrontation with Saddam Hussein even when he annexed a neighbor state that was a full member of the Arab League and of the U.N. (I suppose I have to admit that I was for a time a member of that second group.) But there were consistencies, too. French statecraft, for example, was uniformly hostile to any resistance to any aggression, and Paris even sent troops to rescue its filthy clientele in Rwanda. And some on the hard left and the brute right were also opposed to any exercise, for any reason, of American military force.

The only speech by any statesman that can bear reprinting from that low, dishonest decade came from Tony Blair when he spoke in Chicago in 1999. Welcoming the defeat and overthrow of Milosevic after the Kosovo intervention, he warned against any self-satisfaction and drew attention to an inescapable confrontation that was coming with Saddam Hussein. So far from being an American "poodle," as his taunting and ignorant foes like to sneer, Blair had in fact leaned on Clinton over Kosovo and was insisting on the importance of Iraq while George Bush was still an isolationist governor of Texas.

Notwithstanding this prescience and principle on his part, one still cannot read the journals of the 2000/2001 millennium without the feeling that one is revisiting a hopelessly somnambulist relative in a neglected home. I am one of those who believe, uncynically, that Osama bin Laden did us all a service (and holy war a great disservice) by his mad decision to assault the American homeland four years ago. Had he not made this world-historical mistake, we would have been able to add a Talibanized and nuclear-armed Pakistan to our list of the threats we failed to recognize in time. (This threat still exists, but it is no longer so casually overlooked.)

The subsequent liberation of Pakistan's theocratic colony in Afghanistan, and the so-far decisive eviction and defeat of its bin Ladenist guests, was only a reprisal. It took care of the last attack. But what about the next one? For anyone with eyes to see, there was only one other state that combined the latent and the blatant definitions of both "rogue" and "failed." This state--Saddam's ruined and tortured and collapsing Iraq--had also met all the conditions under which a country may be deemed to have sacrificed its own legal sovereignty. To recapitulate: It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United Nations, in this crisis, faced with regular insult to its own resolutions and its own character, had managed to set up a system of sanctions-based mutual corruption. In May 2003, had things gone on as they had been going, Saddam Hussein would have been due to fill Iraq's slot as chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Meanwhile, every species of gangster from the hero of the Achille Lauro hijacking to Abu Musab al Zarqawi was finding hospitality under Saddam's crumbling roof.

One might have thought, therefore, that Bush and Blair's decision to put an end at last to this intolerable state of affairs would be hailed, not just as a belated vindication of long-ignored U.N. resolutions but as some corrective to the decade of shame and inaction that had just passed in Bosnia and Rwanda. But such is not the case. An apparent consensus exists, among millions of people in Europe and America, that the whole operation for the demilitarization of Iraq, and the salvage of its traumatized society, was at best a false pretense and at worst an unprovoked aggression. How can this possibly be?

THERE IS, first, the problem of humorless and pseudo-legalistic literalism. In Saki's short story The Lumber Room, the naughty but clever child Nicholas, who has actually placed a frog in his morning bread-and-milk, rejoices in his triumph over the adults who don't credit this excuse for not eating his healthful dish:

"You said there couldn't possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk," he repeated, with the insistence of a skilled tactician who does not intend to shift from favorable ground.

Childishness is one thing--those of us who grew up on this wonderful Edwardian author were always happy to see the grown-ups and governesses discomfited. But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire." I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.

I have a ready answer to those who accuse me of being an agent and tool of the Bush-Cheney administration (which is the nicest thing that my enemies can find to say). Attempting a little levity, I respond that I could stay at home if the authorities could bother to make their own case, but that I meanwhile am a prisoner of what I actually do know about the permanent hell, and the permanent threat, of the Saddam regime. However, having debated almost all of the spokespeople for the antiwar faction, both the sane and the deranged, I was recently asked a question that I was temporarily unable to answer. "If what you claim is true," the honest citizen at this meeting politely asked me, "how come the White House hasn't told us?"

I do in fact know the answer to this question. So deep and bitter is the split within official Washington, most especially between the Defense Department and the CIA, that any claim made by the former has been undermined by leaks from the latter. (The latter being those who maintained, with a combination of dogmatism and cowardice not seen since Lincoln had to fire General McClellan, that Saddam Hussein was both a "secular" actor and--this is the really rich bit--a rational and calculating one.)

There's no cure for that illusion, but the resulting bureaucratic chaos and unease has cornered the president into his current fallback upon platitude and hollowness. It has also induced him to give hostages to fortune. The claim that if we fight fundamentalism "over there" we won't have to confront it "over here" is not just a standing invitation for disproof by the next suicide-maniac in London or Chicago, but a coded appeal to provincial and isolationist opinion in the United States. Surely the elementary lesson of the grim anniversary that will shortly be upon us is that American civilians are as near to the front line as American soldiers.

It is exactly this point that makes nonsense of the sob-sister tripe pumped out by the Cindy Sheehan circus and its surrogates. But in reply, why bother to call a struggle "global" if you then try to localize it? Just say plainly that we shall fight them everywhere they show themselves, and fight them on principle as well as in practice, and get ready to warn people that Nigeria is very probably the next target of the jihadists. The peaceniks love to ask: When and where will it all end? The answer is easy: It will end with the surrender or defeat of one of the contending parties. Should I add that I am certain which party that ought to be? Defeat is just about imaginable, though the mathematics and the algebra tell heavily against the holy warriors. Surrender to such a foe, after only four years of combat, is not even worthy of consideration.

Antaeus was able to draw strength from the earth every time an antagonist wrestled him to the ground. A reverse mythology has been permitted to take hold in the present case, where bad news is deemed to be bad news only for regime-change. Anyone with the smallest knowledge of Iraq knows that its society and infrastructure and institutions have been appallingly maimed and beggared by three decades of war and fascism (and the "divide-and-rule" tactics by which Saddam maintained his own tribal minority of the Sunni minority in power). In logic and morality, one must therefore compare the current state of the country with the likely or probable state of it had Saddam and his sons been allowed to go on ruling.

At once, one sees that all the alternatives would have been infinitely worse, and would most likely have led to an implosion--as well as opportunistic invasions from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on behalf of their respective interests or confessional clienteles. This would in turn have necessitated a more costly and bloody intervention by some kind of coalition, much too late and on even worse terms and conditions. This is the lesson of Bosnia and Rwanda yesterday, and of Darfur today. When I have made this point in public, I have never had anyone offer an answer to it. A broken Iraq was in our future no matter what, and was a responsibility (somewhat conditioned by our past blunders) that no decent person could shirk. The only unthinkable policy was one of abstention.

Two pieces of good fortune still attend those of us who go out on the road for this urgent and worthy cause. The first is contingent: There are an astounding number of plain frauds and charlatans (to phrase it at its highest) in charge of the propaganda of the other side. Just to tell off the names is to frighten children more than Saki ever could: Michael Moore, George Galloway, Jacques Chirac, Tim Robbins, Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson . . . a roster of gargoyles that would send Ripley himself into early retirement. Some of these characters are flippant, and make heavy jokes about Halliburton, and some disdain to conceal their sympathy for the opposite side. So that's easy enough.

The second bit of luck is a certain fiber displayed by a huge number of anonymous Americans. Faced with a constant drizzle of bad news and purposely demoralizing commentary, millions of people stick out their jaws and hang tight. I am no fan of populism, but I surmise that these citizens are clear on the main point: It is out of the question--plainly and absolutely out of the question--that we should surrender the keystone state of the Middle East to a rotten, murderous alliance between Baathists and bin Ladenists. When they hear the fatuous insinuation that this alliance has only been created by the resistance to it, voters know in their intestines that those who say so are soft on crime and soft on fascism. The more temperate anti-warriors, such as Mark Danner and Harold Meyerson, like to employ the term "a war of choice." One should have no problem in accepting this concept. As they cannot and do not deny, there was going to be another round with Saddam Hussein no matter what. To whom, then, should the "choice" of time and place have fallen? The clear implication of the antichoice faction--if I may so dub them--is that this decision should have been left up to Saddam Hussein. As so often before . . .

DOES THE PRESIDENT deserve the benefit of the reserve of fortitude that I just mentioned? Only just, if at all. We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves. But a positive accounting could be offered without braggartry, and would include:

(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.

It would be admirable if the president could manage to make such a presentation. It would also be welcome if he and his deputies adopted a clear attitude toward the war within the war: in other words, stated plainly, that the secular and pluralist forces within Afghan and Iraqi society, while they are not our clients, can in no circumstance be allowed to wonder which outcome we favor.

The great point about Blair's 1999 speech was that it asserted the obvious. Coexistence with aggressive regimes or expansionist, theocratic, and totalitarian ideologies is not in fact possible. One should welcome this conclusion for the additional reason that such coexistence is not desirable, either. If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent book is Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. A recent essay of his appears in the collection A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq, newly published by the University of California Press.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: chrishitch; christopherhitchens; gwot; hitchens; iraq; islamism; jihad; jihadists; politics; saddamhussein; war; waronterror; waronterrorism; wwiv
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Well said, Mr. Hitchens.
1 posted on 08/27/2005 4:51:22 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

Big PING for later reading. This guy is great.


2 posted on 08/27/2005 4:57:21 AM PDT by Critical Bill ("Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?" ... George Galloway MP)
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To: snarks_when_bored

I'm REALLY proud my Country stands next to you in Iraq.


3 posted on 08/27/2005 5:00:15 AM PDT by an italian (God bless all the b in the world... Bush, Berlusconi and Blair...)
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Thanks. This is a great piece.


4 posted on 08/27/2005 5:02:08 AM PDT by Syberyenta
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To: an italian
I'm REALLY proud my Country stands next to you in Iraq.

As a person of Italian ancestry (on my mother's side), I'm pleased about it, too.

Best regards...

5 posted on 08/27/2005 5:03:10 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

For later reading. Must work. Baby needs new shoes.


6 posted on 08/27/2005 5:03:40 AM PDT by heckler (wiskey for my men, beer for my horses, rifles for sister sarah)
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To: AliVeritas

Hitch ping


7 posted on 08/27/2005 5:06:38 AM PDT by AliVeritas (Ignorance is a condition. Stupidity is a strategy.)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Bookmarking


8 posted on 08/27/2005 5:07:41 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (Be a Good Mullah Now ...)
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To: snarks_when_bored

I am sitting here stunned. This is not an easy article to read, but it is a fantastic article and explains what for me has always been unexplainable. Why the president does not more clearly lay out the facts about the Iraq/AQ connections.


9 posted on 08/27/2005 5:08:50 AM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Peach

This should be copied off and plastered to the inside door of every bathroom stall at Foggy Bottom and the CIA.


10 posted on 08/27/2005 5:10:54 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Mr. Hitchens opens up a giant can of whoop ass BUMP!!


11 posted on 08/27/2005 5:13:17 AM PDT by conservativecorner
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To: mewzilla

I agree with you mewzilla. This is one of the better articles I've seen in a long, long time.


12 posted on 08/27/2005 5:13:24 AM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
“(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.”

This should be higher on Hitchens list. As in all wars, there is no substitute for the knowledge you gain of your enemy as when locked in combat.

Without the lessons & intelligence gleaned from Afghanistan and Iraq... we would be no more aware of the Islamo-fascist mind than we were on 9/12/2001.

13 posted on 08/27/2005 5:18:12 AM PDT by johnny7 (“What now? Let me tell you what now.”)
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To: snarks_when_bored

" Coexistence with aggressive regimes or expansionist, theocratic, and totalitarian ideologies is not in fact possible. One should welcome this conclusion for the additional reason that such coexistence is not desirable, either. "

The entire "lessons learned" history of the 20th Century in two simple sentences.

What else really needs to be said?


14 posted on 08/27/2005 5:18:35 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (The most dangerous phrase in the English language: "There oughtta be a law")
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To: Peach
I am sitting here stunned. This is not an easy article to read, but it is a fantastic article and explains what for me has always been unexplainable. Why the president does not more clearly lay out the facts about the Iraq/AQ connections.

A good question. This administration sometimes seems to take the 'never complain, never explain' adage a bit too far.

15 posted on 08/27/2005 5:19:27 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: Peach

Bookmarked.

The reality is that the evidence for the Saddam-AQ connection is circumstantial. And some of the "hard" evidence, like a certain memo, has been dismissed as a fraud by the media who have a corrupt stake in not blowing their own cover of cooperation with the forces of evil.

For the casual citizen of this country, the evidence will have to be overwhelming and undeniable before the media will concede defeat in its project of ending the loss of power of their side (the Democrats allied with the forces of world wide socialism and communism).

President Bush does bring up these points, but he is drowned out by the drum beat of whatever talking points the NY Times, etc. have dreamed up for the day or week or month.

And he goes on the road and gives speeches all the time on his policies and actions and their justifications, and all you see on the tube is a small, soundless, slow motion bit of the president while a large polished dedicated socialist talks in front of and over him with the NY Times slant on the event.

We are facing dedicated, vastly experienced, and very smart traitors here in this country.

The battle here is every bit as serious and life-threatening for our country as the world wide battle against Islamofascists.


16 posted on 08/27/2005 5:24:43 AM PDT by patriciaruth (They are all Mike Spanns)
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To: snarks_when_bored
(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

This goes unreported and unremembered, but it is as big as any other on his list.

17 posted on 08/27/2005 5:27:05 AM PDT by conservativecorner
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To: snarks_when_bored
"Well said, Mr. Hitchens."

Though I disagree on the wisdom of arming why Arab who showed up claiming to be an "ethnic Albanian" in Bosnia and the subsequent, US/British led victory for al Qaeda and "Greater Albania" (still no mass graves over there and our troops are STILL not home) it was otherwise well said.

In defense of the Bush administration and DoD though, I need to point out that some administration and military officials HAVE been telling the blunt truth all along. The media does not report these statements, because they don't fit the Quagmire status quo.

For example: In answer to the zillionth's question about how many American troops must die and Iraq's readiness to take over it's own security so we can leave, Col. Myers pointed out at over 2000 Iraqis have been killed by "insurgents" - in other words, more Iraqis have died defending their country from terrorists than have American troops. No mention was made anywhere in the media that I found.

This leads me to a pet peeve: the administration's capitulation on the term "insurgent". The definition of "insurgent" is someone who is fighting the government of THEIR OWN COUNTRY. Some of the terrorists in Iraq killing Iraqis and coalition troops are Iraqis, but most are from Iran, Syria, Saudi, Egypt, Pakistan, the PA territories etc. They are NOT "insurgents" they are INVADORS. In fact, though some locals joined forces with the foreigners, only a few targets have been officials of the new government. The rest have been local police and civilians.

People might argue that we invaded first. Yes, we did. The fact NOW is that the bulk of the Iraqi people want us to stay. One poll showed that 2/3 of the people of Baghdad want our troops to stay until the security situation is cleared up.

The whole administration needs to stand firm against the redefinition of "insurgent" by the left because it implies that the Iraqi people are the ones killing their countrymen and coalition troops, which creates public confusion about whether we're winning, whether we should pull our and whether this is The Next Viet Nam.

18 posted on 08/27/2005 5:29:40 AM PDT by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: snarks_when_bored
IMHO, the real enemy is within...as with Vietnam defeat can only be engineered from our end. We all discuss Muslim threats within our borders....yet these pale against the anger of the Western Liberal toward Western thought and achievement. The best way to think of the Western Liberal mind as that of the Muslim radical, the Stalinist, the Pol Pot apologist camouflaged by the Ivy League, the country club and the BMW -to seem as just another neighbor with an opinion. Such camouflaged evil in the long run is FAR more effective towards its ends than the caricatures we all recognize and acknowledge on the TV. The Muslim issue will not be successfully put to rest until the West first deals with its own great Satan within.
19 posted on 08/27/2005 5:30:03 AM PDT by mo
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To: snarks_when_bored
Why have so many people failed to point out that Iraq was known to have WMD's, namely the chemical weapons which they used against the Iranians and Kurds?

During the runup to the two Gulf Wars everyone, whether they were "for" or "against" war with Iraq, took for granted that Iraq had chemical weapons, and perhaps worse. Some opponents of Gulf War I gave this as a reason to oppose invasion. I wonder how many of these people are now crowing that Bush "lied" about WMD's.

20 posted on 08/27/2005 5:30:52 AM PDT by FederalistPhred
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To: snarks_when_bored

No one puts it better than Hitch! Good catch, snarks.


21 posted on 08/27/2005 5:31:15 AM PDT by meema
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To: snarks_when_bored; jan in Colorado; Dark Skies; AmericanArchConservative; Former Dodger; ...

Brilliant Hitchens, thanks for posting snarks. Don't miss this guys and girls.


22 posted on 08/27/2005 5:32:43 AM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand islam understand evil - read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf see link My Page)
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To: johnny7
"Without the lessons & intelligence gleaned from Afghanistan and Iraq"

That's another thing: there are tens of thousands of Ba'ath Party documents stored in Kuwait, with only half a dozen people to go through and interpret them. You'd think there would be a higher priority on those. A LOT higher.

23 posted on 08/27/2005 5:33:34 AM PDT by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: snarks_when_bored
bttt
great with coffee
24 posted on 08/27/2005 5:34:55 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: snarks_when_bored
Childishness is one thing--those of us who grew up on this wonderful Edwardian author were always happy to see the grown-ups and governesses discomfited. But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire." I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.

Bang! BTTT.

25 posted on 08/27/2005 5:35:49 AM PDT by Alia
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To: snarks_when_bored
The only speech by any statesman that can bear reprinting from that low, dishonest decade came from Tony Blair when he spoke in Chicago in 1999.

In fact, Blair made the most moving impassioned speech after the bombing of the World Trade Center for which I will always remember.

26 posted on 08/27/2005 5:36:27 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (Be a Good Mullah Now ...)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Is this the same Hitchens that only a few years ago seemed to be writing unfocussed screeds while under the influence? Has he straightened himself up, or is he just on the money when it comes to the WOT? Either way, sharp article. No artcles from the anti-war crowd can match this and others for intellectual weight.


27 posted on 08/27/2005 5:36:44 AM PDT by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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bookmark


28 posted on 08/27/2005 5:37:26 AM PDT by federal
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To: snarks_when_bored
bump for great stuff

Lando

29 posted on 08/27/2005 5:37:57 AM PDT by Lando Lincoln (The general public doesn't slow down enough........to care enough.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
"This administration sometimes seems to take the 'never complain, never explain' adage a bit too far."

And also, even tho evidence sometimes abounds, fail to PROSECUTE!

30 posted on 08/27/2005 5:38:13 AM PDT by litehaus
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To: FederalistPhred
By the way, COUNTERCOLUMN: All Your Bias Are Belong To Us has posted a great rebuttal to the "no terrorists before invasion" line. You'll have to scroll about halfway down the page.

www.iraqnow.blogspot.com

31 posted on 08/27/2005 5:40:02 AM PDT by FederalistPhred
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To: snarks_when_bored
Slobodan Milosevic was attempting to erase the identity and the existence of Bosnia.

If by "attempting to erase the identity" he means "engage the marauding beheaders who were invading from Bin Laden's terrorist training camps"...he does have a point.

I can think of a few identified characteristics of the US that I'd like to see erased, for the better. Several European countries are erasing identified characteristics now with deportations...an "ethnic cleansing" of sorts.

32 posted on 08/27/2005 5:40:28 AM PDT by Jim_Curtis
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To: johnny7

You are right. When you compare the Union Army's first battles compared to how they fought at Gettysburg, Overland, there is no comparison.

Likewise, how the US soldier fought in their first engagments in Africa and how they fought in Normandy, Bulge.

The US military now has experience fighting a special ops war, a conventional war and an insurgency. If the US military can get its information war in gear this would help.


33 posted on 08/27/2005 5:41:25 AM PDT by Patriot from Philly
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To: snarks_when_bored
A good question. This administration sometimes seems to take the 'never complain, never explain' adage a bit too far.

So they take it too far, and yet win MORE elections? Doesn't Bush always make you think he knows something the rest of us don't? Those on the left, in their infatile stupidity, call Bush a liar because WMD didn't show up in "Stockpiles." (The Left's whole argument) The Left thinks the rest of the country cares about this when every other nation said the same thing about WMD Bush said! All Bush does is keep his mouth shut and lets the LEFT hang themselves with their idiocy because he understands that this country understands what and who we're fighting. Wholey Moley the dems and the left are part of the culture enemy to this country by striking at every institution we hold dear!

Bush doesn't have to explain Jack to the left! They can all go pound sand.

34 posted on 08/27/2005 5:43:00 AM PDT by sirchtruth (Words Mean Things...)
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To: patriciaruth

The good news here is that the New York Times and the rest of the dinosaur media loses more credibility with more people on an almost daily basis. The more shrill the dinosaur media becomes, the faster people depart from them and get their news and information somewhere else. The water, after all, runs fastest when it gets the closest to the drain.


35 posted on 08/27/2005 5:44:01 AM PDT by Uncle Vlad
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To: snarks_when_bored
"Was the Clinton administration...wise in its opposition to the U.N. resolution that called for a preemptive strengthening of the U.N. forces in Rwanda?" Makes you think about what an Ambassador like Bolton would have said in those days.
36 posted on 08/27/2005 5:44:44 AM PDT by n230099
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To: snarks_when_bored

Bump.


37 posted on 08/27/2005 5:46:12 AM PDT by Rocko ("The ratio of damn fools to villains is high." -- Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Jim_Curtis
Yes, I've revised my view of our late Kosovo adventure, viewing it now as a mis-adventure. We bailed out a bunch of muslims, some of whom are even now giving refuge and succour to our al qaeda enemies.

Hitchens is not a man with whom I agree about everything (for example, he's still somewhat inconsistently holding on to his late 1960's view that we shouldn't have resisted the advance of Communism in Southeast Asia, but we should resist the advance of radical islam now), but, on balance, I find him persuasive on matters relating to the WOT.

38 posted on 08/27/2005 5:46:48 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: an italian

"I'm REALLY proud my Country stands next to you in Iraq."

We are proud of our alliance also.

The road ahead will be full of obstacles, but we will win. We have no other choice.


39 posted on 08/27/2005 5:46:51 AM PDT by wingman1 (University of Vietnam 1970. Forget? Hell.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
Good article.


No doubt Nicholas [reads Democrat Party] should be made to eat the bread and milk, along with the slimy critter they placed in it.


One can only pray the frog is of the poisonous specie and that "Nicholas" will perish.





Build their gallows high

40 posted on 08/27/2005 5:48:36 AM PDT by G.Mason
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To: snarks_when_bored

Christopher Hitchens is truly Remarkable.


41 posted on 08/27/2005 5:49:12 AM PDT by chatham
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To: snarks_when_bored

Christopher Hitchens is truly Remarkable.


42 posted on 08/27/2005 5:49:31 AM PDT by chatham
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To: snarks_when_bored
Why the president does not more clearly lay out the facts about the Iraq/AQ connections.

This administration sometimes seems to take the 'never complain, never explain' adage a bit too far.

As Mr. Hitchens opines above

I do in fact know the answer to this question. So deep and bitter is the split within official Washington, most especially between the Defense Department and the CIA, that any claim made by the former has been undermined by leaks from the latter. (The latter being those who maintained, with a combination of dogmatism and cowardice not seen since Lincoln had to fire General McClellan, that Saddam Hussein was both a "secular" actor and--this is the really rich bit--a rational and calculating one.)

My opinion is that the CIA is still full of Clinton plants who are working against rather than for us. I cite Valarie Plame and her non CIA husband Joe Wilson as only the surface, as well as the phony 911 Commision's cover up. The enemy within is well embeded. Let's hope the new Homeland Security and CIA directors can flush them out.

43 posted on 08/27/2005 5:50:37 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
This, right here, perfectly illumines the conflict between DoD and "dem operatives" within State and CIA:

There's no cure for that illusion, but the resulting bureaucratic chaos and unease has cornered the president into his current fallback upon platitude and hollowness. It has also induced him to give hostages to fortune. The claim that if we fight fundamentalism "over there" we won't have to confront it "over here" is not just a standing invitation for disproof by the next suicide-maniac in London or Chicago, but a coded appeal to provincial and isolationist opinion in the United States. Surely the elementary lesson of the grim anniversary that will shortly be upon us is that American civilians are as near to the front line as American soldiers.

I differ from the wonderful Mr. Hitchens in this comprehension. I grew up skeet shooting. I've been duck hunting. In order to get the catch, you flush the ducks out. Herein lies, a principal difference in approach between the two operations. But I believe the DOD holds the trump card in the here and now (and since 9-11) given that the US was attacked - Furiously, evilly, cruelly. Since 9-11, the Admin has made good to "flush" out the terrorists and murderers. And this has been done. And it has been conducted in a very cost-effective, logistically brilliant manner -- drawing the terrorists from all over the world to, Iraq and Afghanistan, Where they may be flushed out, and thereby preserving untold millions of innocent lives around the world -- locations where these terrorists have taken root; but have been drawn to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan, instead.

In MHO, had the war not been conducted this way, pick any country, we, the US and Coalition Forces, would have been forced to fight this war on terms lain out by the terrorists, themselves.

Ergo, the threat to the US is unchanged -- they, the terrorists have always had us in their sights, the fact that they still do, is nothing new. But what is new? Our Homeland Security, Patriot Act, FBI, Intel and Law Enforcement have new marching orders -- one in which they can share intel, and beat inside-the-US-terrorists before they can strike. This is a great and better step than what we've had previous. And, it is clear from reading various reports -- these "US-domiciled-terrorists" are indeed being flushed out in advance of assault, mayhem, and murder.

My point being? The "old" CIA was unworkable. And yet it demanded more powers immediately after 9-11. It was too late, for that plan as laid out, then. And like the scorned-woman, many in the CIA/intel net sought personal revenge for the slight to their "intel". Therefore, the leaks.

And this too, Under Porter Goss, is being addressed.

What else have you to say, Joe Wilson?

44 posted on 08/27/2005 5:50:37 AM PDT by Alia
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To: snarks_when_bored

Bump for later!


45 posted on 08/27/2005 5:51:33 AM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: Peach
Why the president does not more clearly lay out the facts about the Iraq/AQ connections.

I believe he thinks he has.

Just another example of why pubbies are good at getting elected put poor at governing. They do not understand the propaganda/information side of the governing equation.

RATs do.

46 posted on 08/27/2005 5:54:16 AM PDT by evad ( PC KILLS..and so do liberal judges.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
It would be admirable if the president could manage to make such a presentation.

He's right.

This is a terrific article. thanks for posting.

47 posted on 08/27/2005 5:58:10 AM PDT by BunnySlippers (Death to Islamo-Fascists ...)
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To: snarks_when_bored
At once, one sees that all the alternatives would have been infinitely worse, and would most likely have led to an implosion--as well as opportunistic invasions from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on behalf of their respective interests or confessional clienteles. This would in turn have necessitated a more costly and bloody intervention by some kind of coalition, much too late and on even worse terms and conditions. This is the lesson of Bosnia and Rwanda yesterday, and of Darfur today. When I have made this point in public, I have never had anyone offer an answer to it. A broken Iraq was in our future no matter what, and was a responsibility (somewhat conditioned by our past blunders) that no decent person could shirk. The only unthinkable policy was one of abstention

Truly, of marvel to me, is to witness the Cindy Sheehan cabal of the usual "interventionists" casting aspersions upon "intervention" of a more primary order -- survival and safety of many people. The Lefties are the hugest fans of .. "battered women's shelters'" "child abuse intervention".."drug abuse intervention".. not to mention their allfavorite -- banning smoking everywhere they can as a means to "intervention" in an individual's life. And yet, in classic "both lobes not working together" style, rail against "intervention" of a much, much larger order in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nay, in this instance, the liberals aid and abet the "batterers".

The new mantra of the left should be clear, by now, IMHO:

We are Against Domestic Violence" but for "International Violence" - since the liberals would indeed speak in quiet corners about Saddam's abuse of WOMEN in Iraq; but yet supported him for the "international" violence he was trafficking in.

The liberals never went and did a "crawford" in Iraq on behalf of those being domestically "abused" and "violated" in Iraq (and Afghanistan). Obviously, they had to know what Saddam was doing on the "global" levels.

48 posted on 08/27/2005 5:59:03 AM PDT by Alia
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To: snarks_when_bored
The clear implication of the antichoice faction--if I may so dub them--is that this decision should have been left up to Saddam Hussein. As so often before . . .

OOh! Brilliantly and scathingly put!

49 posted on 08/27/2005 6:01:02 AM PDT by Alia
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To: patriciaruth

I will have to disagree with you about one thing. The circumstances surrounding the relationship between Iraq and AQ is not circumstantial. Far from it. It's rock solid.

And it was detailed going back to the 90's when the MSM wrote frequently about the world's alarm at the growing relationship between Iraq and AQ.

And since we got to Iraq, we have found so much more information to absolutely solidly confirm the long standing relationship.

Facts are available here:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1327993/posts


50 posted on 08/27/2005 6:04:42 AM PDT by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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