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  #1  
Old 10-14-2008, 10:10 AM
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Default On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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  #2  
Old 10-14-2008, 10:38 AM
DoctorMoney DoctorMoney is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

It never ceases to amaze me that I do, in fact, agree (by and large) with Alterman but find myself rooting for Hitchens.

Am I shallow? Is it the accent? Drawn to a fellow atheist and libertine?

Great vlog. Thanks to both.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:28 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by DoctorMoney View Post
It never ceases to amaze me that I do, in fact, agree (by and large) with Alterman but find myself rooting for Hitchens.

Am I shallow? Is it the accent? Drawn to a fellow atheist and libertine?

Great vlog. Thanks to both.
Same problem here. There aren't many people capable of dominating Alterman in a conversation, but obviously the analogous list for Hitchens would be even shorter. Even when I strongly disagree with Hitchens, I love to listen to him make his arguments. (Sorry Eric, in any other context I would make the complementary claim.)
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:02 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Even when I strongly disagree with Hitchens, I love to listen to him make his arguments.
Although he may be well spoken enough to make up for some long-windedness, the problem I have occurs when I listen to what he says. A few examples:

When Mr. Alterman said that he began supporting a Clinton administration he had previously been critical of at the time of impeachment because he saw it as preferrable to political enemies who would be worse, Mr. Hitchens exclaimed that was (almost) always the wrong thing to do. Just earlier, when questioned about his support for Bush's 2004 re-election in the face of knowledge of this administration's manifold shortcomings, Mr. Hitchens simply said he didn't like Kerry/Edwards. Apparantly the exception to chosing who to support based on their political opposition comes when Hitchens does it.

In the re-hash of the Iraq war argument, Mr. Hitchens posits a long list of hypothetical horrors that would have occurred had we not invaded. Without belaboring each in turn, he certainly presented a very speculative worst case set of scenarios. When Mr. Alterman then listed a number of observable direct results of the war, saying they would not have occurred absent the invasion and must be considered in a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis of the war decision, Mr. Hitchens scoffs that this is beyond hypothetical, its a "wish list".

I will touch on one of Mr. Hitchen's reasons why the war was better than leaving Saddam Hussein in power. Among his list of bad results from that, is that Hussein would have been able to stir up Suni/Shia tensions. Perhaps I am lacking in imagination, but it is hard to see just how Hussein would have stirred up more Suni/Shia tension than the years of killing and sectarian cleansing subsequent to the invasion.

Careful watching of the diavlog offers more instances. Mr. Hitchens may have dominated the discussion in terms of number of words spoken, accent, and eloquence, but he uses those well-spoken words to make arguments that are inconsistent, dishonest, and wrong.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:09 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by cragger View Post
Although he may be well spoken enough to make up for some long-windedness, the problem I have occurs when I listen to what he says. A few examples:

When Mr. Alterman said that he began supporting a Clinton administration he had previously been critical of at the time of impeachment because he saw it as preferrable to political enemies who would be worse, Mr. Hitchens exclaimed that was (almost) always the wrong thing to do. Just earlier, when questioned about his support for Bush's 2004 re-election in the face of knowledge of this administration's manifold shortcomings, Mr. Hitchens simply said he didn't like Kerry/Edwards. Apparantly the exception to chosing who to support based on their political opposition comes when Hitchens does it.

In the re-hash of the Iraq war argument, Mr. Hitchens posits a long list of hypothetical horrors that would have occurred had we not invaded. Without belaboring each in turn, he certainly presented a very speculative worst case set of scenarios. When Mr. Alterman then listed a number of observable direct results of the war, saying they would not have occurred absent the invasion and must be considered in a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis of the war decision, Mr. Hitchens scoffs that this is beyond hypothetical, its a "wish list".

I will touch on one of Mr. Hitchen's reasons why the war was better than leaving Saddam Hussein in power. Among his list of bad results from that, is that Hussein would have been able to stir up Suni/Shia tensions. Perhaps I am lacking in imagination, but it is hard to see just how Hussein would have stirred up more Suni/Shia tension than the years of killing and sectarian cleansing subsequent to the invasion.

Careful watching of the diavlog offers more instances. Mr. Hitchens may have dominated the discussion in terms of number of words spoken, accent, and eloquence, but he uses those well-spoken words to make arguments that are inconsistent, dishonest, and wrong.
I think that many of who have commented on our ambiguous attitude toward Hitchens probably agree with you on the substance. It's the distinction between Hitchens the consummate rhetorical artist, and Hitchens the logician that provides the tension here.

It would be a pleasure listening to Hitchens eviscerate a subject, even in the hypothetical circumstance, I dare say, that the subject was me.
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  #6  
Old 10-21-2008, 02:19 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by cragger View Post
[...]
That was extremely well-said, cragger.
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  #7  
Old 10-23-2008, 01:54 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Welcome back Brendan.
Thanks, Michael. Nice to be back.
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2008, 01:21 PM
Doubtful Avenger Doubtful Avenger is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Craggar: Hitchens has always been inconsistent, dishonest and wrong. Even when I agree with him, I find him hard to take because he is a condescending bully-type when he debates. But he does sound good!
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2008, 06:37 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Christopher Hitchens: Being Wrong Never Sounded So Good!

It's fun to listen to Hitch spin his wheels trying to re-write history (not only the one that can be observed by what actually happened, but also the bizarro world histories as they surely would have happened!!)

Anyone who quotes Michael Moore as representative of Democrats, can not be taken seriously, no matter how eloquent his speech might be.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2008, 07:51 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Anyone who quotes Michael Moore as representative of Democrats, can not be taken seriously, no matter how eloquent his speech might be.
Not just Michael Moore. At the end, Hitchens throws in 9/11 conspiracy theorists and wingnuts who think Israel engineered the Iraq War.
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2008, 09:41 PM
Namazu Namazu is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Not just Michael Moore. At the end, Hitchens throws in 9/11 conspiracy theorists and wingnuts who think Israel engineered the Iraq War.
There was a Rasmussen poll showing 1/3 of Democrats believed 9/11 was an inside job and another 1/4 said they thought it was possible (or maybe the other way 'round). Of course opinion polling is mostly crap, but what's good for the elephant is good for the donkey, and in that spirit I'd like a nickel for every citation of some "statistic" showing how most Americans believe Saddam attacked us on 9/11 as evidence of The Great Bush Lie. I found Eric (uncharacteristically) tedious and couldn't listen all the way through, but if he trotted this one out, he can donate my nickel to the bhtv coffee fund.

Last edited by Namazu; 10-14-2008 at 09:45 PM.. Reason: grammar fix
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2008, 10:22 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

I haven't seen that poll, but http://mediamatters.org/items/200705160001 indicates that that the number was 22% who "thought Bush knew" although even Jonah Goldberg admits "the poll question was ambiguous. As Goldberg said, 'Many Democrats are probably merely saying that Bush is incompetent or that he failed to connect the dots' .." On the other hand, what percentage of Republicans still think Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of WMD, or was responsible for the 9/11 attacks?

For that matter, what percentage of Americans think UFOs are kidnapping drunken fishermen in Arkansas? This infamous clip indicates that some survey shows that "1/5 (20%) of Americans can't locate the US on a map": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

Pitching the issue as being stupid or gullible Democrats seriously misstates the real problem of human ignorance, irrationality and partisan tribalism. Wonder just what party that lass in the Youtube clip supports? Does it matter?
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:46 AM
threep threep is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

It was just a matter of time until Hitchens got on here. I have been waiting. Awesome.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:47 AM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

BHTV is hooking up the big guns before their inevitable demise. (I'm being a jerk but what exactly is the business model?--I hope it thrives since it is my favorite website, but I don't see any Google ads.)

Edit: OH SNAP!! I saw Google Ads
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:53 AM
David Edenden David Edenden is offline
 
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Default Hitchens Supports Greek Racism Against Its Ethnic Macedonian Minority

Read it and Weep.

Hitchens Supports Greek Racism Against Its Ethnic Macedonian Minority

And so does Obama!

Today - "Clashes between Greek Army and Macedonians in Greece"

Chris, can you email your article in the European in "Not Just Paranoid about Macedonia" April 1-7,1993. It is a monument to stupidity and I want a copy for my files!

Last edited by David Edenden; 10-14-2008 at 12:17 PM..
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2008, 12:36 PM
ogieogie ogieogie is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

What a great match-up! Thanks to both.

Pugnacity rules!

I'd love to see them do this often, especially if they'd get past the old arguments and on to current events. Debating is great, but conversing would be even better. You betcha.
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  #17  
Old 10-21-2008, 02:18 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by ogieogie View Post
I'd love to see them do this often, especially if they'd get past the old arguments and on to current events. Debating is great, but conversing would be even better. You betcha.
Second that, for sure.
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  #18  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:00 PM
Tim_G Tim_G is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Superb debate. I'm actually a big fan of both of these men. Hitchens makes the best argument for the war in Iraq that can be made. I still agree with Alterman that on balance it was not worth it. Hitchen's hypothetical scenario is, well, hypothetical.

Although I started out sympathetic to the idea of liberating Iraq from the tyrant Saddam, by 2005 and 2006 it was looking like Vietnam. I mostly lost my appetite for interventionism, and concluded that the Swiss had the right idea about foreign policy.

I think it's pretty clear that Vietnam, at least, was a terrible war. And when we left, surprise, life eventually went back to normal, and the Vietnamese actually intervened in Cambodia to stop Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Also, the communists started fighting each other (China vs. Vietnam). There was no "domino effect." The point being that sometimes these things take care of themselves eventually without our intervention. 50,000 men, mostly conscripts, died in a pointless war for a terrible regime.
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  #19  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

... and except the fact that Vietnam still has an authoritarian regime in place. Yep, all is well in Vietnam.
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  #20  
Old 10-14-2008, 10:23 PM
Tim_G Tim_G is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
... and except the fact that Vietnam still has an authoritarian regime in place. Yep, all is well in Vietnam.
So was the government of South Vietnam. Did you think it was a democracy?

The point is that our involvement in Vietnam, whatever the motives, did more harm than good.
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  #21  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:42 PM
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Of course I don't think the South Vietnamese government was a democracy... cause it wasn't. Doesn't change the fact that Vietnam is an authoritarian, Communist Party state.

More than likely, much like Taiwan and South Korea, who also were authoritarian states, South Vietnam would have evolved into a democratic and economically successful state. Thanks to the Communist leadership of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is largely poor... although it has adopted the modern Chinese political/economic model and is beginning to open up.

They're still committing human rights abuses out the wazoo though. Tough place to live if you're a dissenter.

Last edited by Lyle; 10-14-2008 at 11:44 PM..
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  #22  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:07 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

I've made my Christmas vacation plans!

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/151...6:00&out=36:23
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  #23  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Impressive debate. I think the difference between Hitchens and Alterman boils down to the difference between the "ethics of conviction" (Hitchens) and the "ethics of responsibility" (Alterman), i.e. the eternal debate between moralists and realists in foreign policy. Hitchens believes, with the fervor of a recent convert to American messianism, that the Iraq war was justified by a higher moral purpose--the removal of an evil dictator--and sanctified by the (so far) incalculable benefits that will eventually be seen to have resulted from the war. In this view the untold suffering of Iraqis, the enormous expense to the United States etc. do not matter because in the end history will judge the war to have been a success: Die Weltgeschichte ist die Weltgericht.... Alterman, more in the traditions of American pragmatism, thinks that the possible but always unpredictable benefits of war need to weighed in the scales of the possible and always probable harm that it may do to both sides.

Gentlemen, the jury is still out.
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  #24  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:19 PM
Lyle
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Default Christopher Hitchens Is Right

Christopher Hitchens is still right about the Iraq War, while everybody else is still wrong about it. The world is a better, much more progressive place without Saddam Hussein and his two sons in it.

Thank you United States Armed Forces and thank you George W. Bush.
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  #25  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:23 PM
BeachFrontView BeachFrontView is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

HITCHENS WOOHOO

It's about time bob got him on here. I have enjoyed his books and columns ever since I discovered him about 2 years ago.
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  #26  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:27 PM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

I love Hitchens-- superior intellect, superior morality, and superior logic-- thank you, thank you, thank you, Bloggingshead for having him come on here. Hitchens crushed him --Alterman arguments are vacuous.

Liberals like Alterman are why I changed my registration from Democrat to Independent-- the armchair quarterback wing, the just close your eyes and evil will disappear wing-- the world is rational wing that never believes evil totalitarian movements exist because they don't fit into a "rational" view of the world.
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  #27  
Old 10-14-2008, 02:37 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by bookofdisquiet View Post
Liberals like Alterman are why I changed my registration from Democrat to Independent-- the armchair quarterback wing, the just close your eyes and evil will disappear wing-- the world is rational wing that never believes evil totalitarian movements exist because they don't fit into a "rational" view of the world.
what is this but demogaugery? where does alterman suggest such a thing in this diavlog - or in his corpus of work? you are describing a fringe element of the extreme left and the extreme right; a fringe that alterman takes pains to distance himself from.

now, i am a self-described liberal myself, but i am an Iraq war supporter. (on human rights issues alone; I'm in the Samantha Power/Paul Berman humanitarian interventionist school.) so, i generally agreed with hitchens' case throughout the diavlog. your characteriziation of alterman's argument, however, is about as specious as sarah palin's claim that barack obama "pals around with terrorists."
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  #28  
Old 10-14-2008, 06:05 PM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Paul Berman is a genius. Alterman's argument for non-intervention in Iraq are specious-- any real understanding of the conflict (i.e. Berman's "Terror and Liberalism" and Hitchens' own arguments in this diavlog) would make it quite clear that we were fighting Islamic Totalitarianism in Iraq. And, guess what?- we won! Arab and Muslim Iraqi's rejected Al-Queda and the like.

Alterman is nothing but an armchair quarterback at best, besides- he was wrong- we've suceeded in Iraq. I won't get into the myriad of the irrational logic that goes with the "we created more terrorists in Iraq argument he throws out"-- if you truly follow Berman you'd acknowledge how grossly inadequate and foolish this train of thinking is.

I'm sorry, Alterman can pretend all he likes, he still comes from a strain of liberalism that is unwilling to defend itself and do the hard thing.
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  #29  
Old 10-14-2008, 07:28 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Originally Posted by bookofdisquiet View Post

Alterman is nothing but an armchair quarterback at best, besides- he was wrong- we've suceeded in Iraq. I won't get into the myriad of the irrational logic that goes with the "we created more terrorists in Iraq argument he throws out"-- if you truly follow Berman you'd acknowledge how grossly inadequate and foolish this train of thinking is.

I'm sorry, Alterman can pretend all he likes, he still comes from a strain of liberalism that is unwilling to defend itself and do the hard thing.
I agree with you about Paul Berman; and, I agree that it's silly to condemn the Iraq war because it has angered some very bad people. (I once wrote a column about how I opposed executing Saddam - until I saw that Al Qaida had come out and opposed it, too! Granted, the piece was slightly tongue-in-cheek.) However, your accusing Alterman of "pretending" to be something he isn't is grossly unfair. It's, well, Coulteresque. (Ann often claims that Democrats are "pretending" to be against terrorism.) In sum: tautological BS.
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  #30  
Old 10-14-2008, 07:52 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

But isn't the overall consensus of the intell community that Al Qaeda was NOT in Iraq before we invaded? The victory dance of us chasing AQ out of Iraq seems a little silly given the fact that we invited them in. Given the fact that even St. Petraeus doesn't think we have achieved "victory" in Iraq, I don't understand why people like Hitchens insist on thinking it to be the case.

Alterman's argument about cost/benefit stands on its own at the end of the day. Our stated goals have not been met. Our anticipated results have never transpired. Alot of people were very wrong about what would happen. No amount of spinning history will change that. Hitchens could easily say that things have not turned out anything like he thought, but that he still thinks it was a net positive. He could admit that all the evidence that we have seen over the years directly opposes many of the justifications for the war, but that it was still worth it. I wouldn't agree, but at least it would be a more honest position for him to argue from. Unfortunately, most people will never admit that they were wrong.
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  #31  
Old 10-14-2008, 08:49 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer View Post
But isn't the overall consensus of the intell community that Al Qaeda was NOT in Iraq before we invaded? The victory dance of us chasing AQ out of Iraq seems a little silly given the fact that we invited them in. Given the fact that even St. Petraeus doesn't think we have achieved "victory" in Iraq, I don't understand why people like Hitchens insist on thinking it to be the case.

Alterman's argument about cost/benefit stands on its own at the end of the day. Our stated goals have not been met. Our anticipated results have never transpired. Alot of people were very wrong about what would happen. No amount of spinning history will change that. Hitchens could easily say that things have not turned out anything like he thought, but that he still thinks it was a net positive. He could admit that all the evidence that we have seen over the years directly opposes many of the justifications for the war, but that it was still worth it. I wouldn't agree, but at least it would be a more honest position for him to argue from. Unfortunately, most people will never admit that they were wrong.
Yes, but he will have to admit error now, as I happen to have access to a parallel time line portal that was created when an alternate universe Supreme Court called the 2000 race for Gore. While Hitchens was precisely correct about the various factions battling for control of Iraq, with the the various outlying countries backing their ideological brethren, the net effect was each country and the Iraqi factions needing to capitalize their war efforts with increased oil production, not only driving down crude prices, but creating a need to maintain the flow at all costs. The US economy booms as all other commodities are traded to the region for cheap oil.
The resultant instability in the region, however, renders the Europeans fearful of a spillover effect, and a peacekeeping coalition of 26 countries is formed via the United Nations, and deployed to restore order, which only serves to keep a precarious lid on the secular tensions for many years to come.

And oh yea, side note: Gore read the memo and the WTC is still there. Giulianii's presidential campaign follows the same exact scenario.
George W. Bush and Sarah Palin are leading Gore / Obama (Leiberman was dumped) in 2008 by 12%, Running on a fundamentalist Christian platform.

This is fun. Maybe we could sell the board game "Hitchens' hypothetical world wide historical hindsight, the home game". I'm not sure what the object of the game is, as it would be difficult to determine whose scenario is better. Oh wait.... Hitchens', of course!

Last edited by handle; 10-15-2008 at 03:09 PM.. Reason: redundancy
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  #32  
Old 10-14-2008, 09:42 PM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Whatever reasons Alterman gives for being against the invasion of Iraq, it still places him in the position of supporting that insane dictatorship. And his sickly claims that the loss of American support abroad as a reasoning for not doing it seems, well unseemly.

It's simple -- and I think you'd agree that Berman is better example of what liberalism means. Is Alterman a military strategist? Saddam was going to have to be taken out. Should we have let him rearm because our so called "allies" didn't approve as to when we should attack? How many more Americans would have died had Saddam used "oil for food" money to rearm his cronies with better weapons. It's not like our so-called allies would ever put their troops in harms way to end an evil, so why should their support matter to us?

I mean were the theocratic governments of the middle east ever going to support our intervention? China voted against it in the security council but were the first to sign an oil deal with the new Iraq government.

Sorry for the rambling, but any defense of that disgusting regime is an affront to true liberal values. Hitchens makes these arguments much better than I and aptly disposed of Alterman rather handily.
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2008, 11:48 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
Whatever reasons Alterman gives for being against the invasion of Iraq, it still places him in the position of supporting that insane dictatorship.
I don't think this is an accurate statement. Not wanting to invade a country is not the equivalent of "supporting" that country. This is a false connection that the GOP loves to use against their opponents to try and reinforce the for-us-or-against-us fantasy that they love to frame the debate in, but it's bullshit.

Hitchens even tries to use a variation of this when he mentions that Clinton & Gore felt that Iraq was a situation that needed to be dealt with AT SOME POINT. As if that is proof that they believed we had to do it in 2003. I don't think anybody denies that the Iraq situation and Saddam were issues that would need to be addressed, but the big question was why Republicans insisted that it had to be RIGHT NOW (in 2003) despite concerns about the intell and the issue of resources (troops already in Afghanistan.) etc. Thinking that we shouldn't have rushed into war in 2003, was an entirely reasonable and sober position to take and was put forth by many foreign policy experts at the time. It's called being prudent, and is especially important when considering big decisions that involve possible American casualties.

Last edited by uncle ebeneezer; 10-15-2008 at 12:05 AM.. Reason: typo
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  #34  
Old 10-15-2008, 04:28 AM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

why do it in 2003? here's an analogy.

A hunter is in the woods with a man-eating bear. Does the hunter run from the bear or confront it? The bear is not going away. If the hunter has a rifle, he confronts the bear and easily kills it. If the hunter has a knife, then he has to consider what chance to take.

The U.S. had a rifle with the bear in Iraq and we used it. We were successful. Sorry, the war sure as sh*t looks prudent and well advised considering the cost benefits to me. You and Alterman can be Monday morning quarterbacks all you like-- and I won't bother making anymore arguments why Iraq was the right war at the right time b/c Hitchens did that very well in this diavlog.

With you and Alterman's logic we should have waited for Saddam to get serious weapons so he could have killed more of our troops before choosing to confront him. You choose to fight your enemies when they are weak, not when they are strong. Warfare 101. We have killed so many more jihadists because we took the war to Iraq then we ever could have managed in only Afghanistan. The terrain and ability to garner local support was advantageous to take them on in Iraq whether your naive mind can understand that or not. Afghanistan was routed in a month-- we couldn't take the fight to the Jihadist in Pakistan without risking a conflagration with destabilizing effects on a country with nukes. Iraq allowed us to kill jihadis without risking the nuke threat.

You're stuck in some backward view that we fight countries -- this is 4th generation warfare -- we fight stateless enemies -- do you want to fight them in nuke armed countries and risk destabilizing those governments and their nukes or a weak Iraq? It's pretty clear that we've killed as many Jihadis as we're going to kill in Afghanistan b/c they've sought and received protection from a nuke armed Pakistan unwilling to help us. We drew them to Iraq and they took the bate. We got a two-for. We toppled Saddam and whipped the Jihadis ass by motivating the local population. So why don't you and Alterman just be happy about it and shut the f*ck up.

i'm so sick of you so-called liberals giving true liberals a bad name.
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  #35  
Old 10-15-2008, 10:09 AM
JimN JimN is offline
 
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With you and Alterman's logic we should have waited for Saddam to get serious weapons so he could have killed more of our troops before choosing to confront him. You choose to fight your enemies when they are weak, not when they are strong.
This assumes that we were faced with a choice of invading Iraq now (2003) or later, when the truth is that there were more options on the table than that. Most of Bush's justifications for the war were unbelievable, given that there are any number of bad-guy regimes with the near-to-medium term potential to develop wmd. The difference here was oil, which is arguably sufficient reason to choose Iraq, but Bush should have come clean about the fact that Iraq was chosen for more cynical reasons than he stated.

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Originally Posted by bookofdisquiet View Post
You're stuck in some backward view that we fight countries -- this is 4th generation warfare -- we fight stateless enemies -- do you want to fight them in nuke armed countries and risk destabilizing those governments and their nukes or a weak Iraq?
The greater danger is that these stateless enemies will get nukes and use them against us, which is exactly why the Bush admin should have given more thought to the consequences of weakening our alliances on a war which we could have chosen not to do. This isn't idealism, it's self-interest. The threat from wmd is real and requires close international cooperation and strong institutions to counter. Bush chose to believe that American military power alone was sufficient to take care of this problem, and blew a lot of other opportunities in the process.

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So why don't you and Alterman just be happy about it and shut the f*ck up.

i'm so sick of you so-called liberals giving true liberals a bad name.
Maybe you were up too late when you wrote this, but this is BS. It's the same nonsense we heard in the run-up to the war. It's character attack and just designed to pressure people to "shut the f*ck up." So much for using reasoned debate to decide a major issue like whether we should go to war or not.

Look, there are lots of sensible reasons for liberals to have been against the war, some of which I mentioned in my last post. Any number of foreign policy people, including Republicans, and even generals were against it, too. They have since been joined by people like George Will and Bill Buckley. People may disagree, but the idea is that we use reason and logic to talk to each other so we can avoid stupid mistakes. Unless, of course, we live in a fascist country.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:56 AM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

yada yada yada yada yada.

The U.S. military is killing as many totalitarian jihadists as possible so that our children won't have to do it in the future. This is a 50 to 100 year conflict that will incorporate multiple generations. There is no rational argument that will make someone stop who believes he is killing you by the will of Allah. Just like their was no rational argument to stop Germans killing to realize their insane eugenic master race vision.

The only solution is to destroy (not necessarily in the physical sense) those societies that propagate that xenophobic nonsense and rebuild them with true liberal instititions much like we rebuilt Japan and Germany.

I'm sick of people like you that run at the mouth about military strategy without even reading or understanding Sayyid Qutb and his connection to Osama bin Laden and Al-Queada.

My general disgust is a direct result of reading Paul Berman's "Terror and Liberalism"--he is the managing editor of Dissent magazine and I think appropriately diagnoses the anti-war wing of the liberal movement.

I'm sorry you don't like my tone, but this is "blogging" and i'm sick of continually hearing these tired "1968" supposedly high minded liberal excuses for Saddam -- it amounts to nothing other than cowardice in the face of evil. If you didn't support the Iraq war-- fine.-- just quit pretending your lack of support is based on some intellectual or moral high ground. It's cowardice in the face of evil, plain and simple.
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:50 PM
JimN JimN is offline
 
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In your anger you're making a ton of false assumptions. For starters, I am not anti-war. I'm an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran and seriously disagreed with this war, based on what I believe to be rational arguments, which you have failed to address. You have also failed to address the other rational arguments many other people have put forward. Now that we're there, I support winning. I agree with you that we're fighting an enemy which is essentially evil. That, and the fact that they have the potential to really hurt us if they acquire WMD, is why I'm so concerned that we get this right. I am not an apologist for Saddam, just think the Iraq war has been a diversion and has hurt us in the broader fight we're in, although I recognize its more recent successes. I believe that American values are universal and should be promoted, but that using military force is complicated, is limited in what it can accomplish, and can have unintended consequences. Robert Gates agrees with this, unlike his incompetent ideological predecessor.

I also agree with you that there is a problem on the left of failing to understand that sometimes we have to make moral choices and stand up to evil. I believe whole-heartedly that we should do this, and am glad to know about the Berman book. There's also a book called Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, by Bernard-Henri Levy, which I'm interested in and which addresses the same issues. Liberals need to understand that they have a tradition of standing up for what's right, and it's something they don't share with the Far Left.

But that's the point of this whole diavlog. Alterman accuses Hitchens of failing to distinguish between Liberals and Leftists. He's right, and you are making the same mistake. Can you see how that is insulting to liberals who are reasonable but who you disagree with? It would be like me calling you a warmonger, just because you not unreasonably think the Iraq war was a good idea.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:01 PM
handle handle is offline
 
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In your anger you're making a ton of false assumptions. For starters, I am not anti-war. I'm an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran and seriously disagreed with this war, based on what I believe to be rational arguments, which you have failed to address. You have also failed to address the other rational arguments many other people have put forward. Now that we're there, I support winning. I agree with you that we're fighting an enemy which is essentially evil. That, and the fact that they have the potential to really hurt us if they acquire WMD, is why I'm so concerned that we get this right. I am not an apologist for Saddam, just think the Iraq war has been a diversion and has hurt us in the broader fight we're in, although I recognize its more recent successes. I believe that American values are universal and should be promoted, but that using military force is complicated, is limited in what it can accomplish, and can have unintended consequences. Robert Gates agrees with this, unlike his incompetent ideological predecessor.

I also agree with you that there is a problem on the left of failing to understand that sometimes we have to make moral choices and stand up to evil. I believe whole-heartedly that we should do this, and am glad to know about the Berman book. There's also a book called Left in Dark Times: A Stand Against the New Barbarism, by Bernard-Henri Levy, which I'm interested in and which addresses the same issues. Liberals need to understand that they have a tradition of standing up for what's right, and it's something they don't share with the Far Left.

But that's the point of this whole diavlog. Alterman accuses Hitchens of failing to distinguish between Liberals and Leftists. He's right, and you are making the same mistake. Can you see how that is insulting to liberals who are reasonable but who you disagree with? It would be like me calling you a warmonger, just because you not unreasonably think the Iraq war was a good idea.
Thank you for countering the disquieting nature of Book's blind nationalism. These issues obviously go much deeper than so many posters here are able to fathom. The incessant insistence that they know what was, and is, the only approach, and the often weak, and shallow arguments that are used to support their views, does everyone here a disservice. They seem to be constantly arguing with some imaginary leftist radical, while unaware of their own far right leanings, or vice versa. Most of us here, I think, represent a more reasonable and sensible stance, more toward the center, which so often is erroneously interpreted by those in denial of their own proximity to the fringe, as radical.
I am genuinely curious to learn what you feel a winning scenario might look like in Iraq.

Last edited by handle; 10-15-2008 at 04:45 PM..
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  #39  
Old 10-15-2008, 05:47 PM
JimN JimN is offline
 
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I am genuinely curious to learn what you feel a winning scenario might look like in Iraq.
Well, I'm no expert, I just have a firm belief in obvious things like knowing why you're fighting, who the enemy is, and how best to defeat them. I don't have a strong opinion on how to win at this point, but I think it's worth trying because of the potentially disastrous consequences of Iraq devolving into a failed state. Things seem to be settling down. Maybe we can hope for a stable country that doesn't abuse its people or consider us the enemy. Finding mutual interests to work with Iran on would also be helpful if we could make it happen. Right now it seems we should have an Iran strategy, not so much an Iraq strategy.

Also, and this is just my opinion, but it seems to me that there is no longer much difference between what Obama would do and what McCain would do, practically speaking. Obama has started to say that we'll withdraw from Iraq as soon as we responsibly can, with emphasis on the responsible part. That's a lot of wiggle room, and he won't put himself in the position of ordering a withdrawal in failure. McCain won't have the ability to stay any longer than the Iraqi's want us, and it looks like that time will come sooner rather than later. Either way, we'll probably have some kind of long-term presence there, maybe less with Obama. So most of the rhetoric strikes me as noise.
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:20 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

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Also, and this is just my opinion, but it seems to me that there is no longer much difference between what Obama would do and what McCain would do, practically speaking. Obama has started to say that we'll withdraw from Iraq as soon as we responsibly can, with emphasis on the responsible part. That's a lot of wiggle room, and he won't put himself in the position of ordering a withdrawal in failure. McCain won't have the ability to stay any longer than the Iraqi's want us, and it looks like that time will come sooner rather than later. Either way, we'll probably have some kind of long-term presence there, maybe less with Obama. So most of the rhetoric strikes me as noise.
Well, I'm no expert either, but I think you're making a good point. There is no clear solution or magical formula to get out of Iraq without some risk or loss. It will be a about what can be reasonably negotiated and accomplished that will provide a minimum necessary stability and safety. Who the President is, will may make a difference in terms of negotiating, compromising and concensus building in the area. Perhaps there will have to be a cool down of the neighboring countries before withdrawing military forces. In any event, I think Obama will be a much better negotiator and the other parties will be more willing to compromise with him. The Republican party has lost credibility domestically and internationally.
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