Christopher Hitchens – The World Is A Better Place Without Him

I thought the Guardian’s coverage yesterday of Christopher Hitchens’ death was a bit unbalanced. There was a long fawning article by his friend Ian McEwan and a much shorter piece by Frances Stonor Saunders that was a bit more critical (at least I think it was critical – much of it went way above my little head).

I have Hitchens’ 2010 memoir Hitch-22 on my Kindle and there is no question really that he was a very gifted writer (again, at least the bits that I understood!). What a pity then that he used the last decade of his life to propagandise on behalf of liars and warmongers. For all the acclamation of him as being one of our leading intellectuals the fact is that on the most serious and devastating issue of modern times – the illegal invasion of Iraq – Hitchens got it utterly wrong and never recanted from his support for the war despite mounting daily evidence of the lies that had led us to war and the chaos that had been unleashed as a result of it.

Craig Murray puts it far better than I and more concisely:

“…my position is simple. The Iraq War killed hundreds of thousands and maimed millions. Dead or wounded included over a million children. Those who planned the Iraq war, including those who used media positions to propagandise for it, have lost entitlement to the signs of society’s respect.

“The world will undoubtedly be a duller place without Christopher Hitchens. Oh, and a better one too.

“British journalism is full of people of the same generation who have lurched from the Trotskyist far left to a crazed neo-con agenda with no intervening period of sanity. I suspect the available riches for zionist propagandists are a major factor. Hitchens, Aaronovitch, Phillips, Cohen. You can probably think of others. A strange and extremely unpleasant manifestation of intellectual prostitution.”

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31 Responses to Christopher Hitchens – The World Is A Better Place Without Him

  1. LibertyPhile says:

    “on the most serious and devastating issue of modern times – the illegal invasion of Iraq”

    Which planet are you living on? Planet humbug?

    Perhaps your dislike of Hitchens is more to do with his demolition of religion as followed by the likes of your good self.

    Oh, and BTW, what about the million+ dead in the Iran/Iraq war? And the other countless dead in Muslim on Muslim strife!

    • Jay from Philly says:

      4500 good American boys died in that disaster. $800 billion went down the drain. And Hitch cheered it on right on up until the day he died. And while to an overprivileged pampered snot like you, Liberty, their lives don’t matter and the crushing debt future generations will be paying off to the Chinese doesn’t bother you, the Iraq War was a disaster for the United States of America. They didn’t give their lives so Hitch could mean things about little old church ladies.

  2. “Perhaps your dislike of Hitchens is more to do with his demolition of religion as followed by the likes of your good self.”

    I assure you that my revulsion of what Hitchens became in his last decade is quite genuine and really nothing to do with his views on religion. Hitchens’ reprehensible defence on behalf of Bush/Blair represented the “first ever metamorphosis of a butterfly back into a slug” as Galloway put it so succinctly and accurately.

    As for the Iran/Iraq war – what did I have to do with that? The invasion of Iraq was carried out by my country/government in my name. Can you see the difference?

    • LibertyPhile says:

      No. I can’t see the difference between the dead of the Iran/Iraq war and the dead of the Iraq conflict following the “Bush/Blair invasion”. In one case it was all Muslims killing Muslims and in the other it was mostly Muslims killing Muslims, often in the name of religion.

      Don’t you feel any connection with what Muslims in other countries do? Is it really none of your business. Can’t you even bring yourself to say what they did was bad?

      I think the fact that you apparently can’t is more to do with them being Muslim like you, than whether you personally were able to vote for/support/take part or not, in what happened.

      • aminriadh says:

        Iran and Iraq war was fueled by West. Else that war would never have prolonged. This is what happens when you feed mad dogs like Saddam. For years …. this was the policy of USA “He is a Bastard but he is our Bastard”. Well try admitting it – it blew up in Wests face with Osama. Muslims were pawns that is all. Too simple to recognize the long game.

        Saddam Hussein was no Muslim. He was secular and non-religious. He only wore the garb reluctantly. When you cannot beat them join them.

        Try reading views of Bush and Blair – two great Christian leaders inspired by God.

        • Eosapien says:

          Aminriadh you are a bald faced liar, saddam was a devout muslim, and he supported al qaeda. there was nothing reluctant about his endorsement of islam. you are real life devil lying through your teeth.

  3. I would respond, LibertyPhile, if I thought you were worth it. But you’re not.

  4. Mill says:

    Inayat, there have been many occasions on which you’ve demanded an apology from people who have criticised Islam. You’re hardly in a position to describe anyone else as being “unbalanced”.

  5. The Albanian says:

    Inayat, the fact that you can say something like this about a great and honurable man like Christopher Hitchens reveals you for the little monster you are. The world, however, would indeed be a better place without that shitty death cult to which you subscribe. You hate Hitchens because he spoke the truth when he said the Koran was laughable; it is laughable, and so are you.

    • aminriadh says:

      Sorry – what was it he said about the Quran? A book he could not even read….
      He was hardly honorable – years of dispute with his brother… there are more than a few skeletons there.

      Why was it that he was NEVER satisfied with life and he had to preach atheism?

  6. The fact that you describe Islam as a ‘shitty death cult’ says much more about you than it does about Islam.

    • The Albanian says:

      Yes, it does say something about me: That I’m willing to speak the truth and not prepared to give a belief system any respect that it manifestly does not deserve. A wicked, violent, murderous, intolerant, anti-human religion based on the incoherent ramblings of a 7th-Century caravan robber, murderer and pedophile suffering from bipolar disorder.
      The pen is, ultimately, mightier than the sword. Islam was spread by the sword, and will finally, metaphorically speaking, die by the pen. Islam deserves nothing less than to be remorselessly mocked and ridiculed; just like you do for celebrating the death of a brave and brilliant man. Shame on you!

      • Laila says:

        Forget caravan robbing… you should take a good hard look at how secular ideologies got going including the ideologies of “democracy” and “capitalism”… genocide in the Americas, slave trade to produce cheap goods, mass slaughter to create markets incountries from which resources were robbed cheap goods flogged! The practices are still alive and well today!

  7. Sean says:

    “I suspect the available riches for zionist propagandists are a major factor.”

    Can anyone explain how a man who thought the creation of Israel was a massive mistake can be meaningfully described as a ‘zionist propagandist’?

  8. Kenneth says:

    [m]ost serious and devastating issue of modern times…

    Surely the execution of Saddam deserves this title far more then?

    It was after all Paradise for in Iraq before the trapdoor opened.

  9. Caren Windsor says:

    Hitchens really thought the Iraq invasion would be a cakewalk and then he could luxuriate as the court jester to Perle, Wolfowitz, and Feith. It didn’t quite work out that way for the poor sod, and for that sad fact – we can all dance the hora on his grave,

  10. Some enterprising people set up a Hitchens-Watch website a few years ago to keep track of utterences of the ardent neo-con who seemed so eager to prosecute war on the ‘Islamo-fascists’:

    http://christopherhitchenswatch.blogspot.com/

    Plenty of good material there.

  11. Marios says:

    Ok, here goes:
    I am an atheist who is a HUGE fan of pretty much almost everything Hitchens has written and said.
    However, I do agree that I believe he got it wrong on the Iraq War, however for completely different reasons.
    Also, so he was wrong about this one thing (in my opinion). So what? He had no authority in it, so I hardly think the “world would’ve been better off without him”. What an awful thing to say.

    Now, for those jumping on you for your opinion, I would say, look, I’m a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens and his work (ESPECIALLY his work in handing creationists their as**s to them), HOWEVER I don’t believe that just because I’m a big fan of someone that I should always and unconditionally agree with him no matter what and completely stop having an opinion if it DARES to disagree with the icon. That makes one just as bad as those who blindly follow and believe in all the B.S of organized religions.

    Also, to the author of this article, we’ve established that even though I agree with you that Hitchens was wrong/misguided regarding the Iraq War, it is for COMPLETELY different reasons than yours. I personally couldn’t care less about what kind of offense he laid on Islam. I think ALL organized religions are nothing but out-dated archaic attempts at explaining the universe and controlling the masses..oh don’t get me started. Plus, creationism can be immediately defeated using their own “logic”. If you would like to know how, just ask me. Anyways, I DON’T think the world would’ve been better off without C. Hitchens. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am so grateful to him (and the likes of Richard Dawkins) for FINALLY actually standing up and openly challenging the “untouchable and taboo” subject of why the tenets of religions and creationism and the STARTLINGLY huge holes in their “logic” are immune from criticism and freedom of expression.

    As I already mentioned, I think what you said was quite an awful thing to say about someone who has JUST died. I thought you were supposed to be “compassionate” and “non-judgmental as your god is the only one who can judge..yada yada yada” ?

    I could give you my reasons and tell you WHY I believe Hitchens was unfortunately wrong about Iraq, however, I cannot be bothered,as simply it would take ALOT of writing and I’m already tired of typing THIS comment. Let’s just say that my reasons are COMPLETELY different than yours, and before you accuse me of being a “bigot” or “racist” against Islam, let me tell you that I am an atheist French-Canadian male who, due to my parents’ jobs at the time, was forced to move to an Islamic country in the Arab world (one of the supposedly most “liberal” and “liberated” and “western-like” regions of the middle-east : Dubai) for almost SEVEN years as I was growing up., so I know FIRSTHAND the kind of oppression Islamists impose on EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY women and the gay/lesbian community, to name JUST a few). The most frightening thought is that my experience was actually of the most LIBERAL of the Islamic regions in the entire world and Middle East, so I HATE to even IMAGINE what it’s like for those who live in the so-called ‘not-so-liberated/conservative-Muslim’ regions.

    Finally, and last but DEFINITELY not least, Christopher Hitchens is NOT a “neo-con” (as you called him) or a conservative of any kind, or anywhere NEAR the right-end of the political-spectrum as you seem to incorrectly believe. There are MANY spoken AND written quotes as evidence to that.
    Once, after finishing a speech, an old woman looked at him with disdain and condescendingly said “You goddamn Liberals are all alike”. Hitchens replied :”Ma’am. I’m a socialist, not a liberal. When you call me a liberal, it is an insult to my social-democratic beliefs and principles.”

    Basically, he started out as a VERY left-wing socialist, then gradually as he grew older, decided he felt more comfortable as a Social-Democrat (still left-wing, but not as idealistic, and most often described as “Centre-left to Left” rather than “Left-wing”. Basically meaning he believes in social-democracy economically, which is basically a more modern socialism. It advocates for a mixed-economy with a stable welfare-state (much like Canada back BEFORE 2006 when the far-right Conservatives were able to form a government despite receiving less than 40% of the vote, based on a flaw in the electoral system. Or like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France…etc.)

    Now, they also believe that the government should be there to make sure that everyone universally can at least live above a minimum-set standard of living, and that the purpose and “job” of government is more economic and has more to do with the economy than anything.

    However, SOCIALLY, social-democrats are almost always secular and “civil-libertarians” (NOT to be confused with “libertarianism” in general). Basically, “civil-libertarianism” is : In social matters, anyone can do whatever they want (including drugs, sex..etc) as long as they don’t harm someone else. As in, the government should EDUCATE people about the dangers of certain things like certain drugs, however the ultimate decision on whether to put the drug in one’s OWN body (emphasis on “own”) belongs solely to the ADULT whom the body belongs to. In other words, the crime would NOT be “having, doing, or buying, or possessing drugs”..No, the crime would be “getting into a car and putting others at danger”. Pretty much, you are literally free socially, to do ANYTHING you want, as long as you don’t harm anyone else. Your freedom ends when it infringes on someone else’s, and vice-versa.
    In other words, the government is NOT there to legislate so-called “morality” or personal behaviours”.

    Now, what I just described is NOT the ideology of a “neo-con” or a conservative or right-winger of ANY kind. Christopher Hitchens is not a conservative. And even though I agree with you in my belief that he was wrong about the Iraq Invasion (though for completely different reasons), I have not fallen into the same incorrect trap that his support of the IraqWar meant that he was a neo-con. He wasn’t. His support of that issue was an anomaly (and I actually even understand his reasoning and DO see where he is coming from, however I disagree with the conclusions he reached based on that reasoning).

    Other than that, and despite our one disagreement, I absolutely adore Christopher Hitchens and his work, and I feel that the world has lost an important and brilliant mind. I feel greatly saddened by our loss as it means that journalism and political and general discourse and dialogue will go down a notch in terms of the intelligence and brilliance and quality of the substance of the intellect in the dialogue.
    I am only glad that at least he is not in pain anymore. Sad as it may be, it relieves me to know that his suffering and pain is over.

    • Marios: “Also, to the author of this article, we’ve established that even though I agree with you that Hitchens was wrong/misguided regarding the Iraq War, it is for COMPLETELY different reasons than yours. ”

      ???

      I am not sure what views you are referring to here but I believe that Hitchens was wrong to support the war against Iraq because the case for it was clearly built on lie after lie. The war has been a huge disaster not just in terms of the colossal amount of innocent blood spilt which continues to this day but the way it undermined the United Nations and gave a boost to extremist groups.

      Marios: “Anyways, I DON’T think the world would’ve been better off without C. Hitchens. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am so grateful to him (and the likes of Richard Dawkins) for FINALLY actually standing up and openly challenging the “untouchable and taboo” subject of why the tenets of religions and creationism and the STARTLINGLY huge holes in their “logic” are immune from criticism and freedom of expression.”

      Dawkins clearly and vocally opposed the war against Iraq. Hitchens vocally supported it. I am frankly very glad he is not here any longer to promote more neo-con wars.

      As for evolution/creationism etc – you are barking up the wrong tree mate. I have written about evolution many times. See here for example:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/mar/09/islam-science-evolution

      • Eosapien says:

        The iraq war was not clearly based on a lie. You and other american hating leftist scum say it was because in your mind america is the root of all the world’s problems, while people who fight against it are heroes. I’ll be glad when scum like you are no longer here to promote antiamericanism and bash its heroic opponents. Ps craig Murray is a liar hitchens said constantly that there should be no jewish state.

  12. Brendan says:

    It has become a standard political orthodoxy to condemn the Iraq war and blame everything on Bush & Blair. The war was at best dubious and at worst illegal and launched in a highly manipulative way. Nevertheless in the long term the jury is still out and Hitchens was at least brave enough to challenge this orthodoxy. Perversely the Bush – Blair issue is nowadays used to absolve the most heinous murderers of any moral culpability. How can it be solely Bush’s’ fault when a man straps a bomb on his back and blows himself up and many others in a vegetable market?
    The loss of life in Iraq has been great, Iraqi tears would surely fill an ocean. Most telling I believe is the Iraqi’s peoples sophisticated ambivalence to this war; they know what it’s like to be between a rock and a hard place. What we can never be quite sure of is which would be the lesser of the two evils, the invasion and removal Saddam or the inevitable indigenous uprising? If Saddam or his sons were still in power nervously watching Arab revolutions happening all around them it’s very hard not to believe the loss of life and suffering would be on a massive scale.

    As for Christopher Hitchens atheism…the question remains is he still an atheist now…?

    • aminriadh says:

      And you don’t find it a kinda funny Bush Snr
      Several Hundred rose against Saddam, after The First Gulf War. What did they get …. abandonment… and death.

      So why wasn’t Saddam taken out then? Why the long embargo fiasco?

      Then son comes along to finish the job off…. And it is all Muslim fault? Give me break.

      You should look into Prescott Bush, The granddaddy…… It will be an eyeopener.

      There is still monster left in that cupboard…. only the other day I came across the slogan: “Jeb Bush Brought Sexy Back”

  13. Sarah AB says:

    Marios – I agree with many of your points, in particular your last two sentences. Just wanted to pick up your discussion of the word ‘neo-con’ – this is used in different ways but I think is quite often, in fact, used to describe someone who has left/liberal views on most issues but is hawkish on foreign policy.

  14. KMH says:

    @Marios – just got to say thank you for such an insightful post. Hopefully, you have just broadend Inayat’s mind.

    @Sarah AB – I can’t say I’ve come across this use of the term neo-con, just to help me better understand could you give examples of other left/liberal commentators that could be considered neo-cons?

  15. Joe says:

    “I have Hitchens’ 2010 memoir Hitch-22 on my Kindle and there is no question really that he was a very gifted writer (again, at least the bits that I understood!).”

    How can someone who cannot understand the man’s explained action hope to comment on the unassisted version? If you cannot comprehend the lines themselves, perhaps you ought to leave reading between them for those who can? Why (honestly my last rhetorical question) would you consider yourself worthy of publicly criticising the man?

    Given your inability to deal with Hitchens’ own defence of his position (he clearly walks the reader through this in his book – it’s on your kindle somewhere…), if the only WMD in your arsenal is an allusion to another author, you are bringing nothing to the table here.

  16. DrewGalloway says:

    I don’t necessarily concur with all of CH’s views/beliefs, but I do feel the need to defend him as a person from your cruel, cutting, and untrue comments on his death. You are basically saying that the world is a better place for the loss of balanced argument! Many of CH’s arguments have made me really think whether many of my own views/beliefs do actually hold water. Sometimes it has strengthened and even further clarified many of my views/beliefs, and also I have many a time realised that he’s got things weighed up with deadly accuracy!!(in my opinion, I hasten to add). So… come on… surely you must agree that the world is definitely a much POORER place in so many ways for Chris’s passing!?

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