Monday, August 22, 2005

Christopher Hitchens on Cindy Sheehan & A.M.A.

From last week comes Christopher Hitchens' assessment of "Gold Star Mom" Cindy Sheehan, courtesy of Slate. A.M.A., if you are unfamiliar, isn't the American Medical Association. Our newest acronym comes via lush extradinaire, Maureen Dowd, who unilaterally conferred upon Mother Sheehan "Absolute Moral Authority" by dint of having lost a child in Iraq. Somehow, I don't think MoDo would have been quite as generous had the Mom been a continued supporter of the war in which her son had given his life.

In his essay, Hitchens conveys why summary judgments such as Dowd's are off the mark, and the danger of painting people with too broad a brush. The killer paragraph, as only Hitch can write 'em:

I am at a complete loss to see how these two positions (ed.: that of Dowd & Sheehan's supporters) can be made compatible. Sheehan has obviously taken a short course in the Michael Moore/Ramsey Clark school of Iraq analysis and has not succeeded in making it one atom more elegant or persuasive. I dare say that her "moral authority" to do this is indeed absolute, if we agree for a moment on the weird idea that moral authority is required to adopt overtly political positions, but then so is my "moral" right to say that she is spouting sinister piffle. Suppose I had lost a child in this war. Would any of my critics say that this gave me any extra authority? I certainly would not ask or expect them to do so. Why, then, should anyone grant them such a privilege?

In my mind, Christopher Hitchens is the only person who can write the expression "I dare say" and not sound like a pufftah.

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