Christopher Hitchens Speaking Uncomfortable Truths


By Joe Campbell
December 30th, 2009

Christopher Hitcehns is a true polemicist – in a way that Glenn Greenwald is unable to be. He takes daring positions and supports them. He pushes his points obstinately, until he falls back. And in some ways, he is the best thing a writer can be: engaging with the real world, grappling with the consequences of what he says and believes – rather than blithely hiding behind some ideology. (See this article on his support for the Iraq War and how it directly lead to the death of a young soldier, and this video and article in which he tests out his belief that waterboarding is not torture.) He can also be a royal prat.

In response to the attempted Christmas bombing, he is in his best form. Hitchens:

What nobody in authority thinks us grown-up enough to be told is this: We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains. They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims…We can expect to take casualties. The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don’t get the point prefer to whine about “endless war,” accidentally speaking the truth about something of which the attempted Christmas bombing over Michigan was only a foretaste. While we fumble with bureaucracy and euphemism, they are flying high.

[Adapted from an image by ensceptico licensed under Creative Commons.]

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One Response to “Christopher Hitchens Speaking Uncomfortable Truths”

  1. John Rose Says:

    I love listening to Hitchens defend a position in the face of idiots who think they know what they’re talking about.

    Winning the war against Islamic extremism will require being true to humanity’s deepest and most commonly-held principles: respect for freedom and the universal dignity of a human life. As long as we value the lives of a few hundred passengers on an American airplane above the lives of tens of thousands of penniless peasants in Afghanistan or Pakistan, we will continue to lose this war. If saving the lives of a few hundred innocent civilians at a wedding in Afghanistan requires that we accept the increased possibility of an airplane crash in the U.S.A., that’s something we need to have the courage to embrace.

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