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.”