A War to Be Proud Of

(referred from a Metafilter discussion)

Ugh. This is a terrible essay from Christopher Hitchens boiling down to: Well Saddam was bad and he’s gone and surely you don’t want him back do you? Do you?!

Quoth Hitch:

[W]e had not by any means escaped the reach of atavistic, aggressive, expansionist, and totalitarian ideology.

Is he talking about Saddam or George W. Bush? Let’s see:

Atavistic – Just like dear old dad – a throwback to nostalgia and a time that never was. A culture of life that devaules life at every possible turn: pre-natal care, civilian casualties (oh we don’t count the civilian dead anymore – that is like so Vietnam), captial punishment and a good game of "hide the coffins." But save those fetuses – women can’t be trusted with their own uteri.

Aggressive – "Bring it on!" "Axis of Evil." "Smoke ’em out of their holes." Pre-emptive war re-labeled as preventive war. No patience for diplomacy. "Mission Accomplished – no wait! Last throes – no wait!" Saber-rattling at Iran and North Korea. Coup in Haiti.

Expansionist – How many military bases are we leaving behind in Iraq? Oh yeah: 14. Aren’t we still in Afghanistan? Oh and at least 700 other international installations. American exceptionalism is bullshit – Europe learned these lessons a long time ago.

Totalitarian – Bye bye Roe v Wade. Hello prayer in schools. Bye bye contraception. Hello PATRIOT ACT (and part II). Complicity of mainstream press. Indefinite detentions. Secret military tribunals. Secret searches. Fraudulent elections. Second-class citizenry. Signed pledges to attend rallies. No vetoes – ever.

MeFiers say it much better than I:

The Bush apologists take this fact as an excuse for warcrimes committed by this administration, because, you know, if some good came of it, it must be all justified, no? It’s mostly the people accusing liberals of moral relativism that in the same breath state that every human rights violation is a-ok as long as it’s not as bad as it was before.

 

The bizarro relativism makes my head spin: if we’re attacking Saddam because of human rights abuses, then we have an onus to not just be a little bit better and torture a little less, but to actually stamp out that evil.

 …

at the same time that they were "liberating iraq," they were setting up a dictatorship in haiti, and negotiating trade deals which entrench labour camps in latin america. anyone who thinks this administration – or any administration in recent memory – really does or really has truly given a damn about freedom (beyond the freedom to "buy, buy, BUY!") hasn’t been following very much news

I wonder if when George was face down in a pool of his own alcohol-soaked vomit he thought he’d ever amount to anything. That as he wiped the cocaine from his nose with a Bible that he’d actually help transform the United States. Perhaps while he was hiding from military service and the bodies of poor kids his age rotted in the jungles of Vietnam he took a moment from his skirt-chasing and AWOL to think that perhaps he’d change things for the better. That while his mother berated him for being the family fuck-up he thought: I’ll show ’em all. While the beta blockers try and hold back the blinking that he thinks: I’m the big man on campus. And the campus is the whole wide world.