In the Kitchen with Hitchens...and a simple question...

I mentioned in a previous blog an interview author/pundit/journalist Christopher Hitchens did with one of the best political discussion sites: Frontpage Magazine. I found some pieces of the interview that I just had to bring up, because he makes such good points on various topics. A printable view of the complete interview, a must read for anyone with half a brain, can be found here.

On Osama Bin Laden:

Osama bin Laden is a kind of pseudo-intellectual, with a rough theory of history and a highly reactionary desire to restore a lost empire. But he negates even this doomed, pseudo-Utopian project by his hysterical Puritanism, which bans even music and which of course would deny society the talents of women as well as driving out anyone with any culture or education. Thus, any society run by him or people like him would keep on going bankrupt and starving itself to death, with no ready explanation of why this kept happening. The repeated failure would inevitably be blamed on Zionist-Crusader conspiracies, and the violence and repression would then be projected outward, which is why we have a right to concern ourselves with the "internal affairs" of the Islamic world.

On Bin Laden's Followers

Below even the bin Laden level, however, there are those who insist that they prefer death to life, and who really mean it. Suicide is not so much their tactic as their rationale: they represent a cult of death and they are wedded to destruction. It's amazing how many people refuse to see this. They persist in saying that it's a protest against something, or a reaction to some injustice. They are right to an extent: as long as there is a non-Salafist Muslim anywhere, or a Jew or Christian or rationalist, or an unveiled woman or a profane work of art, the grievance can never be appeased. Of course this does have something in common with fascism - "Death to the intellect! Long live Death!" was a favorite slogan of some Francoists: I think it was coined by General Quiepo de Llano - but even fascism could build an autobahn or design a rocket, while these primitives only want to steal enough technology to wreak devastation. So far, they have mainly brought down their own house (as in Afghanistan and now in Iraq) but we can't allow ourselves take too much comfort from that. However, there is some encouragement to be derived. The 1990s Islamist insurgency in Algeria, for example, was crushed partly because the GIA (which now seems to have gone out of existence) had no political demands and had more or less excommunicated all other Algerians as heretics. This same dead-end for jihad is perhaps being reached in Palestine and will be reached, if we stay intransigent, in Iraq also.

On What Must Be Done With Islamofascism:

What I keep saying is: they wish to be martyrs and we must help them to achieve martyrdom by every method at our disposal.

One Michael Moore:

Actually, the review of Moore's mendacious film involved me in very little mental effort: it was more like an exercise in logical and moral hygiene. The movie was so idiotic and so sinister that it more or less condemned itself: a tiny shove is all it took.

As to the psyche that it represents: There is a widespread view that the war against jihadism and totalitarianism involves only differences of emphasis. In other words, one might object to the intervention in Iraq on the grounds that it drew resources away from Afghanistan - you know the argument. It's important to understand that this apparent agreement does not cover or include everybody. A very large element of the Left and of the isolationist Right is openly sympathetic to the other side in this war, and wants it to win. This was made very plain by the leadership of the "anti-war" movement, and also by Michael Moore when he shamefully compared the Iraqi fascist "insurgency" to the American Founding Fathers. To many of these people, any "anti-globalization" movement is better than none.

On Noam Chomsky:

In some awful way, his regard for the underdog has mutated into support for mad dogs. This is not at all like watching the implosion of an obvious huckster and jerk like Michael Moore, who would have made a perfectly good Brownshirt populist. The collapse of Chomsky feels to me more like tragedy.


Old Christopher has quite a tongue on him. Sharp as a knife and cold as ice. He's probably the most intelligent, coherent, and downright rational thinker left in the political left, if you can forgive my doublespeak.

Sure, we disagree on a lot of stuff, he's a militant atheist, I'm a shoddy excuse for a Catholic, but I don't agree with anyone on everything. I don't agree with myself on everything, and I'm always right. I just think that he, unlike others in the field, can see beyond the agenda of short term personal political gain, and see the bigger picture and the bigger threat that looms there.

Now before I further bastardize anymore metaphors, let's move on.



If poverty and despair are the causes of terrorism... how come we never see Bangladeshi suicide bombers?

It's a thought.

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