Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Is Dead

Good riddance.

Posted by b on December 16, 2011 at 07:13 AM | Permalink

Comments

Come on b, you could have posted something that matters instead of denigrating the dead... Massacre feared in Kazakhstan

Posted by: Uncle | Dec 16, 2011 8:30:35 AM | 1

My sentiments exactly, b.

He was a traitorous, cynical, conscienceless sellout.

And Uncle, turnabout's fair play; Hitchens was never above slandering the dead; in Hitchens' world of ego, b's "just being honest and reasonably thoughtful."

Posted by: china_hand | Dec 16, 2011 8:42:53 AM | 2

his "Trial of Henry Kissinger" is certainly a commendable contribution. Though his embrace of the Iraq War seemed to issue from another sentiment. I suppose Trotsky supporters and radicals are all ultimately violent.

Posted by: scottindallas | Dec 16, 2011 9:00:15 AM | 3

'Tis said he died of cancer but it was terminal self-absorption that got him in the end. Hitchens believed himself to be the writer who would, one day, make Gore Vidal redundant.
What a wanker...
Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 16, 2011 9:11:18 AM | 4

Truthfully, I don’t think Hitchens was ever anything other than an opportunistic writer who found a niche and exploited it. I don’t think he was a “lefty” or a “rightie,” even though he pretended to be both. I think he could swing whichever way the wind blew if it gave him career security. One thing is for certain…he had an ego, and obviously someone, or many on the left, bruised it, so he found a niche in smacking them around from an ex-leftie turned rightie perspective….but that was just schtick to support his revenue stream. In the end, he was just a whore like all the rest…..turning tricks for crumbs and foolishly feeling special about it. I won’t lose any sleep over his passing anymore than I would lose sleep over some unknown old geezer passing away in a nursing home somewhere, or some murderous president (redundant, I know) being assassinated.

http://whowhatwhy.com/2011/12/13/the-military-and-those-strange-threats-to-obama/

Someone on another blog wrote:

If there is life after death, I hope Hitchens is treated kindly, because I don’t believe in torture. But for the last 10 years of his life he was a profoundly bad man.

.....to which I replied:

I agree….it would be tragic if he were facing this for eternity…since he didn’t handle his one little controlled episode all that well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 16, 2011 9:15:07 AM | 5

"b" strikes again. It now appears definite that the Iranians got that drone by spoofing its GPS guidance system, as Richard Silverstein explains at http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2011/12/16/new-evidence-iran-cracked-communications-system-of-u-s-stealth-drone-and-downed-it/ . This is essentially what "b" speculated a week and a half ago, on Dec. 5.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 16, 2011 11:05:13 AM | 6

lysias, CSM's article of the interview w/iranian scientist was the most tweeted article yesterday when i visited google news.

b, agreed re hitchens. enough said.

Posted by: annie | Dec 16, 2011 12:46:15 PM | 7

More whisky for the rest of us...

Posted by: Biklett | Dec 16, 2011 12:54:04 PM | 8

More whisky for the rest of us...

It's too bad Hitchens didn't listen to this guy.

http://www.healthyfoods.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/LiverSTOP.jpg

His liver should be preserved in the Liver Hall of Fame next to JR's.

http://www.pjstar.com/photos_graphics/x1439483789/Transplants-Alcoholic-Hagman/g12c000000000000000f55cd039dbef02e1ca9cc909ffb139c7dc6a2e64.jpg

Ever since Tony Nelson received his transplanted liver, he doesn't eat meat and has developed a fondness for curried lentils and naan.

Posted by: Morocco Bama | Dec 16, 2011 1:10:50 PM | 9

As to Hitchens he was part of a generation of ex-imperial youth (dad an RN officer, educated at Public School) who did more damage to socialism than the CIA ever dreamed of doing. What he excelled in was the dirty fighting of sectarian debating, the sub intellectual business of ruining honest debate, shouting down and ridiculing opponents. He was a brawler, at his best when drunk.

In the sixties the victory of socialism seemed, to the likes of Hitchens, to be inevitable. The arguments that it would prevail unanswerable and easy to rehearse.

In a working class movement reeling from the Cold War the IS position "Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism" had an almost obscenely cheap attraction. To be fair to Trotskyists, it was a position that Trotsky would never have put forward for all sorts of reasons, not least because of its a-historical vulgarity. In fact it was a stepping stone, and a well used one, from left to right.
And, when Hitchens needed it, it was a perfect escape from the left when it came under intense pressure, in an intelligentsia being re-colonised by proponents of Capitalism, from liberals to reactionaries. Hitchens was not into the dull work, far from the spotlights, of fighting alongside comrades, most of whom were destined to fall or to desert, he had a living to make and one small talent to sell, that of the cheap debater. I was reminded of Hitchens's perfidy recently when the "left" in England and France reacted to the NATO/Saudi attacks on Ghadaffi, as they did to the campaigns against Serbia and, no doubt are doing so again in Syria, not by denouncing imperialism but by, in effect, repeating the old IS line" Neither Tripoli or Washington..neither Damascus or Washington..neither Milosevic or NATO..." Slogans which in effect mean (a) that the weaker side can expect no help from them and (b) that they are on the Pentagon's bandwagon and are eligible for rations and, at least, immunity from attack, besides offering exotic and arcane variations on imperialist apologias.
On the other hand the infestation of hypocrites and traitors which subverts the socialist movement is not wholly bad: you wouldn't want a constituency which can be misled by the likes of Hitchens, Kouchner, BHL, Comrades Blair, Straw and Mandelson or, for that matter, Tony Cliff's latest re-incarnation, to get close to the levers of state power. Until the left can see through the poseurs, provocateurs, egotists and psychopaths who will always gravitate towards the opposition, until it can cleanse itself of the old fixation with leaders and charisma, it will not only fail but ought to.
Bad enough that Hitchens should die an apologist for Jabotinsky fascism, but rather that than as a member of the revolutionary government.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 16, 2011 1:49:15 PM | 10

This long tweet is my account of my only meeting with Christopher Hitchens. Warning: Not pretty.


I only met Hitchens once in NYC in 2006. He was hyperventilating about Hamas winning the Palestinian elections. He went on for 20 minutes on the evils of religion in politics. A theocracy, he said, could never make peace with its neighbors and will always discriminate based on idiotic religious grounds. Palestinians thus deserved to be isolated and punished by the USA for choosing a religious regime.

After his talk, I took Hitchens aside and asked him why he didn't feel the same way about the other religious fundamentalist regime in Palestine: Zionism. If he was so concerned about Hamas's religious fundamentalism, why was he silent about the religious fundamentalism that is driving millions of Palestinians out of their homes, occupying their land and denying them freedom because of their religion? Shouldn't America deal with Jewish fundamentalism in the same way it deals with Islamic fundamentalism?

For once, I saw him flustered and speechless. It was clear he genuinely had not thought of this and now he felt thoroughly embarrassed.
...
This was post-2002 Hitchens. The over-riding directive of his life was to make money by pleasing American right-wingers by dressing up their idiotic nationalism, chauvinism and jingoism with Big Words and an English accent. It was a highly rewarding career, because he sold to morons who watch Sean Hannity the illusion that they are not complete cretins, and they would pay top dime for that sort of intellectual deceit.

Clearly, it was not part of the New Hitchens Act to include material critical of Israel, since the awful Islamo-Fascist-Satan-Beast had to be defeated at all costs.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 16, 2011 1:57:45 PM | 11

bevin, you have made your point well except that there is an archeology to the hitchens of this world. there was the 'god that failed school' whose identification with 'socialism' was purely cursory, it was about them, not about the people or the larger movement

there is more deeply felt socialism in the work of malcolm lowry. deeply unnerving. a connection that was integrated with a whole jigsaw of feelings about the world. it is difficult to go past the very contradictory but just as profound james agee. for them ideas were more than a frockcoat. these cretins funded by the cia attempted & to some extent dominated high culture with their quarterlies & as hobsbawn points out in his memoir - their complete absence from the academy in the cold war. it was thin even then - supporting an infantilist commentary & history of what happened in socialist societies. i have just been reading what was happening in the chinese mass movement from 1925 -35 & it is of labyrinthine complexity - there is no monolith, no one man vision of history . that was also true of soviet society in a different way, reduced to one man, when even the crudest societies are more complex than that

in fact most serious histories of the last 30 years acknowledge to some degree or other that complexity, not apology but offering a reasonable portrayal of how that society functioned & failed

this complexity was beyond the fools of the god that failed whether spender, muggeridge, even orwell did not have enough distance to view it correctly so it is no surprise that his work could become cold war tracts

the generation of hitchens & amis are quite disgusting in a vanity coupled with a complete incapacity to work on any other area than the surface, they never went beyond that, & christ there are even worse examples in the english & french speaking world. minimal intellects making a big boom, television helped that, it made fools seems like saints


the other day though in the levenson inquiry the murdoch hack gave a truer picture of that society & how it really functions, for all its vulgarity - in a few sentences he stripped the world hitchens would like us to believe, bare

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 16, 2011 2:25:33 PM | 12

i will never forgive his personal betrayal of the especially vulnerable edward said

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 16, 2011 2:34:49 PM | 13

Hitchens doesn't even deserve a short 6 word posting.

So anyway I'll link to some important news stories I've been reading:

- As the Sex Pistols sang "God save the Queen, the fascist regime" seems suitable for this.

A 22-year-old man who created a "Letz start a riot" Facebook page as looting swept English cities last summer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years. West Mercia Police said it hoped the sentence imposed on Danny Cook acted as a deterrent to anyone else tempted to incite disorder on the internet.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/facebook-riot-inciter-jailed-6276839.html

Bear in mind that this 22 year old guy never actually attended any riots or protests. He merely stayed at home on the internet and created this facebook page voicing support for them. So now he gets a 2 and a half year jail term and a criminal record. I also have no doubt that Facebook sold his information out to the cops. So remember this story the next time David Cameron starts waxing poetic about the Arab Spring.

- From that Zionist rag The New York Times is a story about China's spy agencies from 1990's to Present, which I found kind of interesting since it isn't reported on much. Just read with the healthy caution needed when looking at US Mainstream News Outlets.

China’s success in obtaining the secret design of the W-88 is the most dramatic example of a fact that United States counterintelligence agencies have been slow to recognize: just as China has become a global economic power, it has developed a world-class espionage service — one that rivals the C.I.A.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/chinas-spies-are-catching-up.html?_r=1

- Alot have probably read this already but Christian Science Monitor scored an interview with an "Iran military engineer" who explains how the US Drone was brought down via changing the GPS coordinates to make the drone thing it was landing on its base.

Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1215/Exclusive-Iran-hijacked-US-drone-says-Iranian-engineer/%28page%29/3

- Finally a guide to everything you need to know about the CIA spies uncovered by Hezbollah including profiles of some of the people.

http://www.thearabdigest.com/2011/12/no-nonsense-guide-to-cia-in-lebanon.html

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 16, 2011 3:41:01 PM | 14

"The evil men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."

Hitchens could, even near the end of his life, write an essay about Lincoln, that did not bear any of the affectation of his public performances. After 9/11 he went nuts and lost his bearings, in a kind of anti-fundamentalist fundamentalism; but in his time he spoke with some eloquence and wit against Reagan and all his works, against the murderous reign of the death squads, against Kissinger. This does not mitigate the sense of loss about his deterioration in the public square; yet it seems to me that he was once a comrade against authoritarian madness, and fought against injustice in his own fashion. How he fell into justifying the Iraq War and the Islamophobic worldview, is perhaps explained in terms of a nervous breakdown. I don't know; it seem such an incomprehensible departure from what once issued as reason in him.

What has been said about his vanity and ego is probably true, along with the dogfight-like debates, which were by no means the best of him. I remember reading his essays many years ago, and thinking that he was a good man to have in our corner.

His personal friend, Robert Sheer, writes of Hitchens:

Despite the vehemence of our debates, both public and personal, he and his saving grace and wife, Carol Blue, held a gathering at their home to discuss a book I wrote on the subject. This was a man unafraid of intellectual challenge and committed to pursuing the heart of the matter.

That was his driving force, a seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sanctimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state or a claim to the ear of the divine.

Hitch was the opposite of the opportunistic pundits who competed with him for public space. He took immense risks, not the least in offering himself for waterboarding before concluding it was unmistakably torture, or challenging the greatness of God, knowing full well that he was exposing himself as an object of wildly irrational hate.

To watch the kind of dissipation Hitchens went through is painful, with his former self blurring in the process. There was too much drinking, too much grandstanding, too much desire to play the enfant terrible of the Left. Who can occupy such a personal space of ego while our history every day grows sicker. But it is my instinct to feel sad for him, for the fall any human being may suffer, to remember his acts of personal courage, and his talent which once counted for something.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 16, 2011 5:14:58 PM | 15

Correction: Robert Scheer

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 16, 2011 5:16:16 PM | 16

copeland

on this a rare disagreement between us , my friend

it is impossible to forget the million bodies that are spread from the north to the south, the east & the west in iraq, bodies massacred, murdered, vanished while this cheerleader called for more massacres. this he did, openly & often. it was celine like his fever for the horror only an empire can create

hitchen did not challenge power, ever , he lay in its bosom

it is impossible forget the dying edward said & the squalid betrayal by hitchens

i am not dancing, i am too sick for that & it is not my nature but i do not mourn him. that i will not do. i mourn the people, the culture & the country, iraq

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 16, 2011 6:35:28 PM | 17

I am perhaps at a loss to understand what happened to Hitchens; he seems to have suffered some kind of break with reality. It seemed like a mental breakdown to me. I feel no sympathy for his betrayal; but some sense of loss for him as a person. When a writer goes to pieces, it's a terrible omen about human frailty. When I was a boy, I came come one day to find my mother weeping; she had just seen Truman Capote on TV on a talk show in such a state of dissipation, that she said we had just lost an artist, one of our great writers. Not to compare Hitchens with Capote; but it sends a shiver down my back to think of collapses of that kind, moral or artistic, where the rational just implodes into irrational.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 16, 2011 7:09:30 PM | 18

in the early nineties here, the first person who wanted to translate my work had translated tennessee williams but she told such a terrible story about how one night sweet tennessee was in a state, very drunk & he just wanted company, somebody to speak with, to teach but she did not want to see that side of him. i thought this was an act of such infamy that i sd it was not possible for me to work with her. tennessee williams had more loving humanity in his broken body than all the works of a hitchens, trading in on a trot past - there was more complicated love of humanity on williams than could ever exist in hitchen's generation, taken as they were by a very brutal kind of bitterness that you will more often find in the scribblers that write for murdoch

when i read that he was a stylist as if that is salvatirice - i remember the beautiful constructed sentences of james agee, of his crude communist heart how much a painful love of the world was in his work. then i forget mr hitchens very easily

this to say that there are thos who are not called 'of the left', whose fanatic hearts are very left

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 16, 2011 7:54:00 PM | 19

I doubt if Jesus is weeping.

Posted by: Linda J | Dec 16, 2011 7:54:27 PM | 20

A single checkmark in one box. There are many boxes remaining.

One wonders, when those such as Cheney are dead and gone, will the truth about 9/11 be forever lost?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 16, 2011 10:19:55 PM | 21

thank you 'giap and Copeland. both sentiments powerfully expressed. Copeland, I'm going to repost one of your comments at the little blog I contribute to.

Posted by: lizard | Dec 16, 2011 11:36:52 PM | 22

lizard, thanks, you are welcome anytime to repost my comments.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 17, 2011 12:40:14 AM | 23

b;
I think the news have reached you a bit too late my friend, he died long time ago!

Posted by: pirouz_2 (RT) | Dec 17, 2011 3:47:23 AM | 24

I wonder. If we had a seance, ya think we could convince Hitchens to invite Bachman, Perry, Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney to join him for dinner? I mean, hey, if these five do a swan song, millions, perhaps billions, might be saved.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 17, 2011 12:05:00 PM | 25

A conventional, pandering, mainstream, provocateur. Get em all riled up at Slate or The Nation. Whatever.

As the French say, N’importe quoi, meaning, literally ‘anything’ but really means 'ongoing BS'

---------

his embrace of the Iraq War seemed to issue from another sentiment.

His second wife is / was, vaguely or desperately Zionist. ..? Hitchens discovered his Jewish roots (I first typed toots!) late in life ..with reservations, which meant that he became a VALID interlocutor, you know, arguing about everything, for a Pal Homeland (yet against it because Hamas were religious terrorist extremists), at the same time for a Jewish State, and not too critical of Jewish fundamentalism / Zionism.. but he denied that as well...

He survived as a sort of clown cum media darling, because he could be quoted on anything in any direction, scooted on his reputation as an iconoclast, his life in the US as a Brit ‘intellectual’ with the accent and the outrageousness and all..not a nice way to make a living, though it pays, and very well.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 17, 2011 3:34:45 PM | 26

Hitchens' sellout is, was, certainly not unique. Clemons has seemingly gone through the same process, learning that complicity and journalistic cowardice is far more materially rewarding than integrity and truth. One's career certainly soars in the world of journalism with a willingness to whore one's self to the brokers of power.

To me, there can be no more lowly a calling than that of a journalistic hack, tasked to misinform and incite. There is a whole contingent of these human shit bags out there, riding a saddled pig to fame and fortune. Hannity, Limbaugh, Maddow, Mathews, Coulter, Igram, Wiener.....SCUM, one and all. The scummier they are, the higher they are on the ladder, and the more outrageous their compensation.

That fat fuckin' addict, Limbaugh, obscenely rich. Hannity, the same. Maddow, slobbering her pseudo progressive horseshit nightly, while campaigning for the status quo of perpetual war and subservience to the zionist racists and facists. Mathews, drooling as if there is some substantive difference between the murderous sack of shit Obama and his war crazed predecessor.

These people are sociopathic in their disregard for the truth, and their willingness to pit American against American in order to maintain the status quo criminality that is SOP in Washington DC.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 17, 2011 4:02:30 PM | 27

Go hit the wogs...

Christopher Hitchens on the use of cluster bombs by the US in Afghanistan, “If you’re actually certain that you’re hitting only a concentration of enemy troops…then it’s pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they’re bearing a Koran over their heart, it’ll go straight through that, too. So they won’t be able to say, ‘Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.’ No way, ’cause it’ll go straight through that as well. They’ll be dead, in other words.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/left-and-911?page=0,3

Echoing POA, who wrote, “To me, there can be no more lowly a calling than that of a journalistic hack, tasked to misinform and incite,”

“…the usual war-stuff, the tub-thumping, the heroics, the vilification of the enemy — all these were done, as usual, by people who were not fighting and who in many cases would have run a hundred miles sooner than fight. One of the dreariest effects of this war has been to teach me that the Left-wing press is every bit as spurious and dishonest as that of the Right…The people who write that kind of stuff never fight; possibly they believe that to write it is a substitute for fighting. It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda-tours. Sometimes it is a comfort to me to think that the aeroplane is altering the conditions of war. Perhaps when the next great war comes we may see that sight unprecedented in all history, a jingo with a bullet-hole in him.” - George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79h/chapter5.html

Not a bullet-hole, but …

Posted by: DakotabornKansan | Dec 17, 2011 4:12:52 PM | 28

On Being Spit Upon—Literally—by Christopher Hitchens
http://www.thenation.com/blog/165194/one-being-spit-upon-literally-christopher-hitchens

Posted by: Paul | Dec 17, 2011 5:03:44 PM | 29

So, Hitchens was a transparent panderer, etc.

Quite..the smarmy tributes (acid pen, ironic wit, strong stances, etc. etc.) and critics can fight it out.

What about the living, those who now have the creds that Hitchens lost over time or now thru death? Aren’t such ppl endlessly recycled by the media?

Naomi Klein is of course more careful, controlled, and mainstream. In a way I prefer the nutty desperate unthinking extravagance of Hitchens.

Klein in the Guardian, April 2007:

Excerpt 1:

“It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.”

Excerpt 2:

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.”

(bold in the original)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

Afaik, N. Klein is respected and even adulated for now by the ‘left.’

And don’t get me started on E. Warren, I’ll be up all night.

Sorry for what seems like a derail.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 17, 2011 5:21:56 PM | 30

Wow. What hatred (with the exception of Copeland - who provides a balanced portrayal of a man).
You guys are *so* much better than him, don't you think?

Posted by: Roger | Dec 17, 2011 6:07:19 PM | 31

I have huge respect for Klein, born when I first read "Bagdad Year Zero". I disagree with her on the degree of our "resilience". But overall, I find her writings pretty right on.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 17, 2011 6:08:07 PM | 32

@ Roger

Balance? Hatred?

“The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.” - Aesop, Fables

Contrary to Hitchen’s “pretty good” use of cluster bombs, cluster bombs shred innocent bystanders.

Above the law and below morality, the cluster-bombing of Afghanistan, where 'shining like a diamond,' death comes in a little yellow soda can:

http://cursor.org/stories/abovethelaw.htm

“On October 10th, 2001, U.S. B-52s and B-1s began dropping deadly…wind-corrected CBU-103 cluster [fragmentation] bombs upon "soft targets" [vehicles and people] in Afghanistan.”

“Eleven weeks later, U.S.planes had dropped 1,210 cluster bombs, each containing 202 BLU-97 bomblets. The British Halo Trust now estimates on the basis of groundwork in the vales of Afghanistan that 20% of the bomblets failed to explode, meaning 48,884 yellow soda-can sized, yellow-colored deadly sub-munitions now litter the villages, paths and fields of Afghanistan.”

“A favorite U.S. weapon used in Afghanistan has been the 1,000 lb CBU-87 cluster bomb with its 202 BLU-97 bomblets. The BLU-97 cluster bomblet is one of the cheapest air-delivered weapons available, costing only ~$60 per unit. Unlike most American mines, cluster bomblets are not designed to break down over time as this would raise their low cost. A single BLU-97 bomblet kills anyone within a 50 meter radius and severely injures a person within 100 meters. It is considered more dangerous than a conventional land mine.”

There can be no more lowly a calling than that of a journalistic hack writing about the “pretty good” use of cluster bombs.

Posted by: DakotabornKansan | Dec 17, 2011 7:24:45 PM | 33

PissedOffAmerican, I was too hard on Klein. The thing is, many public ‘intellectuals’ get my goat, just because they are ‘public’, i.e. given a voice, a place, in the media, which means that they will fudge here and there, or tailor their message to the ‘larger public’, or some section of the ‘public’ that has known xyz opinions. They become quasi-politicians, cultural icons or figures, make their living off it, thus are careful not to cross red-alert lines. They don’t contribute to meaningful change directly (indirectly, perhaps), because without the status quo they would not exist. They do slice and dice, well it is human I suppose. And Klein is one of the best of the lot...the shock doctrine did alert a lot of people and no logo was an entertaining book.

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 20, 2011 9:32:23 AM | 34

@DakotabornKansan,
It's not like I'm going to argue in favor of cluster bombs... but apparently Hitchens was not alone in thinking (incorrectly) that they were an effective weapon... i.e. it's not exactly like the U.S. military lay down cluster bombs to purposely target children and other innocents. Do not ascribe malice to an action when stupidity will do just fine in explaining it. Hitchens was clearly a flawed man... more so, apparently, in the last 10 years at least in regards to his pro-war stance. But he is certainly not alone in history in being a sometimes great man who supported war when he shouldn't have or tactics in a war that are brutal or politics we don't agree with in total... or let his emotions of anger and frustration or hatred get the better of him. But do we add to the conversation when we turn around and try to discount him entirely? I have a hard time fitting him into the dismissive box of "good riddance" and "traitorous, cynical, conscienceless sellout" that some here expressed. As Copeland said, "it is my instinct to feel sad for him, for the fall any human being may suffer, to remember his acts of personal courage, and his talent which once counted for something." That is all.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 21, 2011 1:42:03 AM | 35

If Hitchens is to be remembered let it be as an eminently forgettable persona non grata. He was a carelessly myopic ratbag motivated entirely by self-interest. It's beyond the pale to even suggest that an individual who led such a selfish existence be remembered as some kind of selfless contributor to the betterment of humanity.

Xymphora put it well...

Some deaths are worth celebrating

It is funny that the monster Hitchens died at the same time that the monstrous war he called for came to an end. With all the things he wrote, the only thing he will be remembered for is that he was a neocon hanger-on. Pathetic.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 21, 2011 10:08:22 AM | 36

"it's not exactly like the U.S. military lay down cluster bombs to purposely target children and other innocents"

what horseshit.

fact is they just don't give a damn how many innocent people they murder or they wouldn't be using cluster bomb or you know, starting wars with countries that were never any threat to us for no goddamn good reason.

Posted by: ran | Dec 21, 2011 10:53:22 AM | 37

@ran,
Funny how you say "horseshit" to me asserting that the U.S. military does not *purposely* target children and other innocents... and you essentially agree with me... i.e. you say they don't give a damn - which acknowledges that there is no purposeful targeting going on. War assumes "collateral damage"... how much a general or similar decision maker considers such "collateral damage" in individual field decisions is open to debate and is probably variable depending on the individual and the situation. I'm not sure how you get from there to claiming that across the board military people "don't give a damn how many innocent people they murder". Do you *know* any military people - you seem to have a cartoonishly simple and dehumanized view of them as a class.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 21, 2011 2:38:48 PM | 38

so they drop bombs that indiscriminately rip to shreds every living thing in a wide blast radius and you agree they don't give a shit who it murders but you give them a pass because it's not "purposeful". nice. bet if your family was on the business end of this war criminal bullshit you wouldn't be so understanding.

my father worked on B-52s during the Vietnam war. I myself was in the AF a few years in my youth, but I decided it wasn't for me during my first hitch and got out.

Posted by: ran | Dec 21, 2011 5:02:37 PM | 39

@ran, You're twisting what I said. I simply pointed out that your complaint about not giving a shit is consistent with (though far more specific and limited and inferential then) my claim that there is not purposeful targeted murder of innocents taking place as a matter of policy. Simple logic applied here. I did not claim that there was rampant "not giving a shit" occurring (that was your claim alone) nor rampant murder (which you added later).

Bombs do tend to indiscriminately rip things to shreds within a wide blast radius. It's just kind of how they work. You can propose that all use of bombs in wartime should be treated as a war crime... somehow I don't think that is a practical position that would get much traction in the international community. It is worth noting that bombing has improved considerably since the days of carpet bombing with B-52's... there is significant improvement in targeting and actual efforts to avoid civilian deaths. Cluster bombs obviously have some problems associated with them being undependable in not all detonating when they are initially dropped (and essentially becoming land mines)... but, the original concept (minus the malfunctioning) is really not much different than any other type of aerially deployed bomb.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 21, 2011 10:25:27 PM | 40

Yea, I'm sure all the hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed and widowed and orphaned civilians resulting from our illegal wars of aggression just since 9/11 would be delighted to know how much our bombing techniques have improved over the years. Tool.

Posted by: ran | Dec 22, 2011 2:19:33 AM | 41

Discussing how civilian death has been reduced due to improvements in technology as well as changes in policy - such as where we used to actively carpet bomb civilian populations as we did in WWII and Vietnam is somehow being a tool? I don't follow your "logic". This conversation between you and I was started by you on the very topic of technology - the use of cluster bombs. The fact that you resort to name calling and changing the subject to "illegal wars of agression" I will take as an admission (likely subconscious) that you can't win on the cluster bomb argument. Beyond that, I've lost interest in debating you. You prove my original point about the hatred in this thread (and probably site). There are more positive and effective progressive/lefty sites to spend my time and money on.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 22, 2011 2:30:51 PM | 42

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