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  #1  
Old 10-14-2008, 10:10 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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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

Quote:
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, 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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  #5  
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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  #6  
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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  #7  
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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  #8  
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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  #9  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:02 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
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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  #10  
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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  #11  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:09 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
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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  #12  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:16 PM
Lyle
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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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  #13  
Old 10-14-2008, 01:17 PM
Francoamerican
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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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  #14  
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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  #15  
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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  #16  
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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  #17  
Old 10-14-2008, 02:06 PM
jimM47 jimM47 is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

"Neo-Conservatives [are not] ... what Edmund Burke, or anyone else, would have called conservative." - Christopher Hitchens

Eric Alterman's main thesis that liberalism has been tempered by its prior excesses (and thus has become a more conservative and pragmatic) seems more credible when he is contrasted with the plain and naked anti-conservatism of a man who takes "revolutionary" as a complement and wouldn't have the intellectual humility to question his beliefs if only two people in the world held them; but when Alterman discusses his own views, rather than simply refuting someone else's, they seem rather more progressive than would be implied by the way he likes to sell his political philosophy.

Last edited by jimM47; 10-14-2008 at 02:10 PM..
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  #18  
Old 10-14-2008, 02:10 PM
BeachFrontView BeachFrontView is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Hitchens tells Liberals to Cheer up, international consensus has arrived!


http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/151...2:48&out=32:56
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  #19  
Old 10-14-2008, 02:14 PM
Lovelynina Lovelynina is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

I'd like to buy Chris a drink! He makes a pointed, well-executed argument for the invasion and stabilization of Iraq, in an era where we see with our own eyes the enormous political, economic and human costs such a decision has wrought. The war was and is poorly fought, and most thoughtful folk agree that we should get the heck out of Iraq. Despite this, Eric (whom I adore) stumbles in response, as Chris hits hard with the humanitarian argument that a bumbling invasion beats standing on the sidelines wishing you did the right thing. Bravo for a delightful debate. "It is a debate, isn't it?"

Love, Nina
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  #20  
Old 10-14-2008, 02:37 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
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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  #21  
Old 10-14-2008, 03:07 PM
schumacher schumacher is offline
 
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Default Re: Christopher Hitchens

Chris Hitchens is a brilliant man and i sincerely hope we see him again on BHtv.

Thanks Bob

How about getting Sam Harris on ? now that truly would be wonderful.
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  #22  
Old 10-14-2008, 03:28 PM
PaulL PaulL is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Two things stood out in Alterman's machine gun regurgitation of progressive talking point/memes.
"Bush does not support stem cell research."
Why do progressives always forget the word embryonic?
"Bush lack of respect for the Constitution."
Funny coming from a guy who believes the Second Amendment is a group right and people exercising the First Amendment should be subject to a ""blogging council".
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  #23  
Old 10-14-2008, 04:08 PM
basman basman is offline
 
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Default preemption as prevention

An improved Iraq, perhaps even a democratic Iraq, goes to the grounds for war.

There is a consenus view (not necessarily therefore right) that in fact the decision to go to war will be measured by the how the war turns out. That view does not tend to think radically about what it rests on. Those roots are the notion of preemption as prevention as well as a response to imminence. Those two notions are not binary opposites because danger has to inform prevention to make it cognizable in any instance. But prevention is part of what was revolutionary about the Bush Doctrine--not letting dangers gather. 9/11 and asymettricism--say a dirty bomb taking out a city-- yielded prevention, a problematic, troubling but necessary notion.

Prevention itself can rest on at least two grounds: the pure assertion of power as nations act in what they consider their own interests; the assertion of a morally justified power as nations have a morally defensible way of life that objectively is worth preserving. If you know that your neighbor is intent on harming your children, but you cannot get the police to do anything because you cannot make his intent sufficiently clear to them—police essentially act after the fact or during the fact—you will take preventative steps even before the threat is imminent. Israel did this when it took out the Iraqi reactor in Osirak, a classic example of prevention writ small. That Israel was justified in that action seems to be indubitable—one will remember the Scuds, all Iraq had at the time. At first the disapprobation was palpable; now the approbation is.

The question is: was prevention justifiable in the case of Iraq. That is a debatable proposition. Reasonable people of good faith can disagree. But that it is debatable measures the inadequacy of mindless criticism of the decision to go to war by so many on the left. Christopher Hitchins, as is here evident, is a powerful counter example to that mindlessness.

As I understand it, the Dulfer Report--which I have not read--says unequivocally that Husssein was pursuing the ability to make wmds. The sanctions were unraveling; and it is frightening to contemplate what he might have achieved with his petro dollars. His history, which includes starting a war in which millions died, committing genocide against ethnic groups within his own country, sending Scuds into Israel with whom he was not at war, being one of the world’s most brutal repressive totalitarian dictators and invading Kuwait are amongst the building blocks for a reasonable argument for prevention as morally justified. He forfeited the rights of sovereignty, as Hitchins argues forcefully.

The same argument attends dealing with Iran. Would I hear Alterman, or anyone really, say that the pin point bombing—no more than necessary—of Iranian nuclear facilities in an effort to prevent its nuclear success cannot be on the table, is beyond discussion?

If the answer is “yes that is what you hear", then I think it nigh impossible to unravel our disagreement. But If one were to say, “yes, pin point bombing as a preventative action is morally thinkable", then that one needs to probe the premises that inform the view of that possibility. Those being probed assiduously enough, I believe, leads to accommodating some notion of preemption as prevention.

And if one ends up entertaining the possibility of such preventative action, then one will have widened, by necessary implication, the discussion of the decision to got to war in Iraq and will be forced to consider whether prevention offers itself as a plausible justification. After all, finally, Alterman rooted his disagreement with the Iraq war in a “cost benefit” analysis, which utilitarian calculus presupposes a view of preemption as prevention.

And if that is so, such a one will be—even if ultimately condemning that decision after that kind of analysis—miles ahead of the unthinking left.

Itzik Basman
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  #24  
Old 10-14-2008, 04:20 PM
JimN JimN is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

I think Alterman's point, that Hitchens has argued against a parody of liberalism, is well proven by this diavlog. Hitchens entire argument against liberals over the Iraq invasion rests on the fallacy that liberals preferred the status quo, and did so out of a naive hope that Saddam would not turn out to be a grave threat. This was not the case.

The arguments over whether we should attack Iraq were much more complex than being a simple question of morality. Confusing these issues was the fact that the much of this debate happened only a year after 9/11, when the country was still reeling from those attacks. George Bush conflated Iraq and 9/11, thus making inseparable the decision to invade from the context of the Al Quaeda attacks.

The debate at the time had less to do with the morality of the war than over the nature of the struggle we are in and the correct strategy to pursue. On the one side were many liberals and also conservatives of the more realist school, who took the 9/11 attacks seriously, who saw an existential threat to our security from international terrorism, who believed that the successful cold war fundamentals of alliance and cooperation were the way to fight, and that the enemy was a loose network of Muslim ideologists which was dispersed throughout the globe. This kind of fight suggests coalitions, law enforcement cooperation, covert operations, control over international nuclear stockpiles, and a struggle for the allegiance of Muslim moderates. The fight should share risks and costs, because it would likely be long and drawn out, and would be an opportunity to strengthen global institutions that provide for collective peace-making and security.

On the other side of the debate were people, who some call neocons, who had a fundamentally different world view. They emphasized the evil of the enemy (which liberals would not necessarily disagree with) and the necessity of a massive armed response. They distrusted global institutions and implicitly trusted American intentions and the ability of military action to make positive transformations.

The ongoing Revolution in Military Affairs, which held out the hope for very cheap and very effective warfighting capabilities through advanced networked technologies, dovetailed nicely with the neocon world view. It looked like America was on the verge of being able to launch any number of military interventions, if it wasn't already there, in order to spread our universal values of freedom.

Many commentators have noted the essentially Marxist nature of the assumptions behind this world view--the inevitability of a revolution in human society, and the responsibility of the enlightened few to carry forth the revolution. This is what Alterman was getting at when he said that conservatives had become the revolutionaries, and liberals the sensible pragmatists.

The liberal response to these ideas was indeed sensible. First, the temptations of power inherent in the neocon view would have been abundantly apparent to the founding fathers, or say Edmund Burke. Second, the almost unilateral undertaking of this project, whose outcome was far from certain, could represent a cost in blood and treasure that was unbearable. If the fight against Al-Quaeda was to be a long, twilight struggle, it was extremely imprudent to blow a huge amount of resources up front in a questionable venture. Third, in a struggle in which international coordination was essential, pissing off traditional and potential allies was a really bad idea. Indeed, the Bush administration itself admits that much of the success in fending off another attack has come from cooperation with the intelligence and law enforcement services of other countries. Presumably, access for our covert operators has been essential as well. Thank goodness our allies have overlooked the disregard we showed for them back in 2002-2003. Fourth, in the struggle for the Muslim soul, initiating an unprovoked attack on a Muslim country is extremely foolish. Fifth, in accordance with the belief known as the Powell Doctrine, as well as the theories of Clausewitz, wars can't be fought without the support of the people. Colin Powell would say that it would be better not to fight a war than to fight an unpopular one which was doomed to failure. The cost of defeat to the nation and armed forces in terms of prestige and morale are immense. George Bush, with his shifting rationales for the war, his poor logic in equivocating between 9/11 and Saddam, and his politically vetted intelligence, failed miserably to build a substantial and lasting support for the invasion. It was his job to do and he didn't do it. And for his administration or his supporters (like Hitchens) to claim that somehow Iraq was all about enforcing UN resolutions, which organization the neocons distrusted and many paleoconservatives despised, is disingenuous and revisionist.

But the hugely stupid mistake about attacking Iraq was that IT WAS THE WRONG TARGET. Step one in any war ought to be defining who the enemy is.

So no, liberals weren't just sitting around thinking things would be peachy if we did nothing about Iraq. The choice was not a false one between invasion and passivity, as Hitchens describes it. To a liberal, the debate was about the appropriate response to the Al Quaeda attacks, and the issue of Iraq was a different problem, a real problem, with a solution quite different than the one mistakenly chosen by Bush.
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  #25  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:01 PM
DoctorMoney DoctorMoney is offline
 
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Default Re: preemption as prevention

Quote:
Originally Posted by basman View Post
A

The question is: was prevention justifiable in the case of Iraq. That is a debatable proposition. Reasonable people of good faith can disagree. But that it is debatable measures the inadequacy of mindless criticism of the decision to go to war by so many on the left. Christopher Hitchins, as is here evident, is a powerful counter example to that mindlessness.
The problem, of course, is that the case for going to war was even more mindlessly made in 2003 by the right. Christopher Hitchens isn't a counter example to the left, he's an individual writer who had nothing much to do with the Bush administration and had influence over a small number of people.

He's a counterargument to the US right in that way -- a vision of what they might sound like if they had been willing to make the case for war honestly.
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  #26  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:04 PM
Ray Ray is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Hitchens never answered the only question that mattered: why did he think the Bush administration capable of liberating Iraq?

It was obvious in December of 2000 that a) the U.S. would invade Iraq; b) the Bush administration would fuck it up royally.

What's missed by not addressing this issue is that the whole point of invading Iraq was to fuck up royally--because the damage is all on the Iraqi side.

American losses in Iraq are insignificant. I'm talking about blood and money here. 5,000 guys? $700 billion? Not significant.

Nor do any of the troubles of Iraq have significance. Genocide? Democracy? Weapons of mass destruction? Only mugs debate these points. The U.S. invaded Iraq to secure a position of military dominance in the Middle East. That's it.

Let me put it another way. How does the rest of the world perceive the Iraq war? What lesson has been learned from it? This lesson: do not fuck with the United States.

Look at the cost to the U.S. compared with the cost to Iraq of this war.

And this lesson is precisely what the Bush administration wanted the world to learn. Americans are crazy. They take what they want by force. Do not get in their way.

9/11 only afforded Bush the opportunity to deliver this message with far greater intensity. That's why pursuing bin Laden means nothing to the Bush administration. The plan called for Iraq all along. It is in fact Afghanistan that diverts resources from the real war in Iraq, not the other way around.

I don't say all of this because I agree with the strategy in any way, but rather because I think this is the proper frame for the argument. Hitchens and Alterman dicker over coincidental details. Fucking Kurds? Are you kidding me?
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  #27  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:21 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Hitchens "Wrong"? Surely You Jest!

I thought the DV title was quite the chuckle, given the implausibility of any such admission.

Unless I missed something somewhere in his ongoing parade of pronouncements, I believe Hitchens is temperamentally incapable of ever admitting he was wrong and in this, coincidentally, he's just like George Bush.

Anyway, as usual, Hitchens, ice twirling in the glass, was at least entertaining, jousting goofily at a mere caricature of liberals bearing no resemblance to any but the most fringie dope-addled Lefties.

Nice comedy. Thanks to both Alterman and Hitchens for contributing their valuable time to some much-needed BHTV change-of-pace amusement. I thought it pleasantly spunky of Eric to note what BHTV viewers should appreciate and not take for granted: these guys aren't doing it for the money. (Must be for our adoring comment-section posts?)

I'd love to see more of both of them here, either together or paired with others.

EW
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  #28  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:26 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Christopher Hitchens

Quote:
Originally Posted by schumacher View Post
Thanks Bob

How about getting Sam Harris on ? now that truly would be wonderful.
Great idea. I concur.

EW
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  #29  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:43 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default USA guilty on 3 counts of Hitchens' just war criteria

The Bush regime itself is guilty under three of the four criteria Hitchens mentioned. By Hitchens' theory, we should be invaded and be subject to regime change by a Coalition of willing countries under the banner of Operation American Freedom (OAF).

Hitchens Criteria and how Bush fulfills it:

1) Genocide - No
2) Violations of Nuclear Proliferation: (noncompliance with disarmament provisions, shift to first-strike Bush doctrine, pursuit of "usable" nukes, etc.)
3) Invading other countries illegally (Iraq)
4) Aiding and abetting terrorism around the world (funding of terror organizations, torture, black sites, regime change efforts, CIA destabilization efforts, arms sales to terror groups)

And then we have Israel, who is guilty on all four counts:

1) Genocide (See Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide)
2) Violations of Nuclear Proliferation: Rogue nuclear state; secret uninspected nuclear regime; non-signatory to Treaty
3) Invading and occupying neighbors illegally (Syria and the Palestinian Territories)
4) Aiding and abetting terrorism around the world (destabilization and "regime change" efforts, arms sales to terrorist groups, etc.)
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  #30  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:50 PM
Michael Michael is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Gosh, Eric was so snarky in the beginning about being forced to discuss a topic, particularly since it is free. At any rate, neither position was convincing. Somehow, I believe the civilized world could have had its´ cake and eaten it too with regard to Saddam. And probably Jacques Chirac, a good student of Cardinal Richelieu, would have shown G W Bush the way, had Bush been accustomed to be internationally well-connected. So now we have to place our faith in another leader, Senator Obama, who lacks as well the necessary deviousness and connections. Too bad Hillary didn´t get the nod.

Last edited by Michael; 10-15-2008 at 12:18 PM..
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  #31  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:51 PM
PaulL PaulL is offline
 
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Default Re: USA guilty on 3 counts of Hitchens' just war criteria

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
The Bush regime itself is guilty under three of the four criteria Hitchens mentioned.
...
Hitchens Criteria and how Bush fulfills it:

1) Genocide - No
Surprised you did say that Bush regime is guilty of all four and cite Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina for the Genocide criteria.
Eric Alterman would have.
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  #32  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:52 PM
larryjackson larryjackson is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Ray makes a good point.

Haven't any of you people ever been lied to?

Naomi Klien, Greg Palast and others make a mockery of the publicly stated 'reasons' for the war in Iraq.

Just remember this, handsome (mostly white) guys in suits lie.
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:54 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default How hypotheticals are not hypotheticals

If my aunt had wheels, she'd be a bicycle.
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  #34  
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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  #35  
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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  #36  
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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  #37  
Old 10-14-2008, 07:51 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

Quote:
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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  #38  
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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  #39  
Old 10-14-2008, 08:03 PM
Bobby G Bobby G is offline
 
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Default Re: Christopher Hitchens

I third it, just so long as he's debating someone like Michael Rea or Alvin Plantinga and not someone like Richard Land.
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  #40  
Old 10-14-2008, 08:07 PM
fedorovingtonboop fedorovingtonboop is offline
 
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Default Re: On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong

i've always enjoyed watching christopher ruffle people's feathers but I never really care what he actually says. he always has really long winded, overly detailed explanations of stuff we already intuitively know is wrong so we don't need to hear about it. was the Iraq war worth it?!? what a joke. um.....gee let me think, uh......NO. it was a freeking total disaster, etc. it's like that for every argument - he just "details" his way through arguments. most importantly, what moron would ever think that it's okay to go from being, essentially, communist, to being right wing and think that he's still in any way credible? wow, went from one ridiculous dogma to another, what a waste of time. "Oh yeah, all that Trotsky stuff I mentioned earlier? Yeah, just ignore that, nothing to see there." absurd. nice job eric for calling him out many times. hitchens has already demonstrated he has bad judgment because he used to be communist. how is he considered a person to listen to let alone an "authority" on anything?
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