March 01, 2006

Hitchens Fukuyama's Up.

Chris Hitchens has seen fit to criticize everyone that has ever held an anti-war position on Iraq, including relatives of dead soldiers. So it comes at no surpirse to WOTS that he takes on Francis Fukuyama’s critical account of neocons, here http://www.slate.com/id/2137134/. Hitch has been a WOTS favorite for years, because he’s so obviously in love with himself that he's lost all shred of credibility.

Take this new WOTS gem: Hitch claims that anyone opposed to the war must confront themselves with three questions (thus reserving the four questions for Passover, presumably). First, “[w]as the George H.W. Bush administration right to confirm Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991?” WOTS says yes. Second, “[i]s it right to say that we had acquired a responsibility for Iraq, given past mistaken interventions and given the great moral question raised by the imposition of sanctions?” WOTS agrees that “a responsibility” is correct, whereas, “responsibility” is not, so yes. Third, “and is it the case that another confrontation with Saddam was inevitable; those answering 'yes' thus being implicitly right in saying that we, not he, should choose the timing of it?” The rub, indeed.

The correct answer to this question is “absolutely not,” and not just because nothing is inevitable except for bad Hitchens’ columns. The overwhelming evidence leading up to the war pointed to two truths: (i) Hussein was not a WMD threat because (ii) Clinton-era bombings and sanctions worked to disarm, dissuade, and defang him. Even absent war, UN weapons inspectors were pulling a CSI: Miami all over the country, including the dramatic sunglasses work. Hussein may have been obnoxious, but he was caged obnoxious.

So whereas Hitch clearly thinks, sans explanation, that the answer to 3 is yes, it isn’t. But let’s assume dear Hitch is right. Its fine to agree that we should choose the timing of Hussein’s ouster to Exile Island. But many WOTSies would take note that the middle of an actual war against actual terrorism in Afghanistan was probably not the time to fiddle with The Great Iraqi Moustache. So if this is Hitch’s great critique of Francis (even if generally WOTS doesn’t trust men named Francis), is not only a terrible critique, it also reveals the critic (if that’s a word) to be unworthy. Of course, WOTSies knew that already about Hitch.

WOTS note: Its fun to see one discredited author trying to discredit another discredited author. Where is James Frey when you need him? Seriously, let's get Oprah involved.

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