Hitchens' political apostasy

Norman Finkelstein has an article on Hitchens' volte face that should not be missed. A few excerpts:
Outraged at the taunt that he who preaches war should perhaps consider fighting it, Hitchens impatiently recalls that, since September 11, "civilians at home are no safer than soldiers abroad," and that, in fact, he's not just a but the main target: "The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians... . It is amazing that this essential element of the crisis should have taken so long to sink into certain skulls" (emphasis in original). No doubt modesty and tact forbid Hitchens from drawing the obvious comparison: while cowardly American soldiers frantically covered themselves in protective gear and held their weapons at the ready, he patrolled his combat zone in Washington, D.C. unencumbered.

Deriding Chomsky's "very vulgar" harnessing of facts, Hitchens wants to go beyond this "empiricism of the crudest kind." His own preferred epistemology is on full display, for all to judge, in Long Short War. To prove that, after supporting dictatorial regimes in the Middle East for 70 years, the U.S. has abruptly reversed itself and now wants to bring democracy there, he cites "conversations I have had on this subject in Washington." To demonstrate the "glaringly apparent" fact that Saddam "infiltrated, or suborned, or both" the U.N. inspection teams in Iraq, he adduces the "incontrovertible case" of an inspector offered a bribe by an Iraqi official: "The man in question refused the money, but perhaps not everybody did."
One of the best exposes of Hitchens out there.

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