Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Letters to an Old Contrarion Douche Bag

I still kind of tolerated Christopher Hitchens when he cynically turned on the Nation to support George W. Bush's war in Iraq. I thought he was rightly critical of many within the anti-war movement who seemed to contribute nothing to any kind of national discourse (civil as it now is) and merely parroted things said by Kos and whichever reactionary contributor to the Huffington Post managed to write something that day. And he labeled many of those on the anti-war side as naive, etc, etc. Certainly, Hitchens is dubious of George W. Bush's administration, and is not unaware of his... interesting way of expressing himself.

But he never seems to acknowledge that any unilateral action by America within this current administration's time in office would be inherently incompetent, that they would never let reason stand in the way of their actions, that their cost-saving techniques were counter-intuitive at best, and so forth. Merely, he hammers it home that Saddam was evil, he committed atrocities, etc.

Today in Slate, he tongue in cheek suggests those in the anti-war movement offer themselves as human shields for those Kurds and Iraqis they so feel for. It's a cute suggestion, the type that Jonah Goldberg might recite at some intolerably boring and drably attired cocktail party. So here's the stand-by response - Chris, if so many of your friends were murdered by Saddam's cronies, and you've made no secret that you have no problem with the vengeance aspect of this war, then why don't you have your son volunteer? Isn't he a young contrarion, eager to placate his Joyce-spouting, cognac-swilling, chain-smoking, hard-to-please father? I'm sure he'll get by fine, he probably knows the country like the liver spots on your hands, as I'm sure you've imparted all of your knowledge with him.

As Hitch would, and did, say: "Oh, Jesus, another barrage of emotional tripe about sons. From every quarter, one hears that the willingness to donate a male child is the only test of integrity. It's as if some primitive Spartan or Roman ritual had been reconstituted, though this time without the patriotism or the physical bravery. Worse, it has a gruesome echo of the human sacrifice that underpins Christian fundamentalism."

When one moralistically supports the war, no matter the cost, in fact does not acknowledge the cost, indeed this is a relevant question. But it is rather funny that he wrote this, a year ago, when today he suggests a very similar action for those on the other side of the coin. Are trite platitudes reserved for only one side of the aisle? I don't suggest strong-arming your offspring into war, I'm suggesting that they have inherited the moral forthrightness of their father, and that they realize they speak empty words if they parrot what you say if they can not act in some way.

But, if a parent who has lost a child to the war, and is against it, they are not entitled to an opinion, because it wasn't THEIR choice. The child was free to do as he pleased. Well, maybe if the fruit of Hitch's loins is blown up by an IED, Hitch will have some kind of snide remark about how clumsy it must have been for his son to make such a mistake as to have been blown up.


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