Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Christopher Hitchens is a man you want on your side ...

Unfortunately, for the LLL/anti-war/root-causes crowd, he's not in their camp. The man is playing on our team, and he's batting .1000:

Christopher Hitchens/Slate: What Went Wrong - The flaw in Seymour Hersh's theory, and lo and behold Michael Moore makes a cameo appearance:

I ask this because, in the news cycle that preceded the Iraq atrocities, the administration was being arraigned from dawn until dusk for the offense of failing to take timely measures against the Taliban and al-Qaida. I hardly need to recapitulate the indictment here. We had our chance to see it coming, and to see where it was coming from, and the administration comprehensively blew all these chances, from the first warnings of suicide-hijacking to the cosseting of Saudi visa applicants. I might add that I completely agree with all these condemnations and wrote about many of them (including the spiriting of the Bin Laden relatives out of the country during a "no-fly" period imposed upon the rest of us) at the time.

But there is no serious way of having this cake and scarfing it. I remember a debate I had with Michael Moore—the newly crowned king of the Cannes Film Festival—at the more modest location of the Telluride Film Festival in 2002. Ridiculing the Bush administration's policy, he shouted that it had gone into Afghanistan to get Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. "Mission NOT accomplished!" he added, to roars of easy applause. I asked myself then, and I repeat the question now: Would the antiwar camp have approved the measures necessary to ensure those goals? If they will the end, will they will the means? Would they taunt that lawyer in Tampa, as they taunt the supporters of regime change, with living a quiet life at home while others die in the field? Isn't the refusal to take out the leaders of al-Qaida a bit of a distraction from the struggle against al-Qaida?

Read it all: it's worth it.

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