“If the Iraqis were to elect either a Sunni or Shia Taliban, we would not let them take power.”
Christopher Hitchens’ Americanism is like Evelyn Waugh’s Catholicism; aggressively self-satisfied, doctrinaire, inclined to lecture the Pope on his duties. Whatever. Back in 2001, some superstitious wogs had the bloody nerve to spill his pint – to attack New York, the very centre of the very centre of the world - and he wants them punished. They killed people he had personally met and bantered with. Nothing will do but to kill thousands in return and reshape entire societies in ways he finds politically congenial. This is secularism as revenge.
Not that there isn’t potential here for a talented propagandist. Critics of the Iraq occupation are accused of acting out of the belief that nothing America ever does can be right. But the pro-war left put forward quite a different proposition – essentially that the US Marines were the militia of the Iraqi Communist Party. You can see how this might have been appealing to people marginalized by the political process over the past twenty years but it defies common sense.
Anyway, since Iraqi society is apparently unwilling to go with the programme, then what next? Here’s our boy on Algeria.
They [the Algerian military] showed themselves willing to kill on an unprecedented scale, employing measures that the U.S. Marines would never be permitted. Repulsive though many of the tactics were, I think the FLN was broadly right. Certainly, Algeria today is a far better society for the outcome, and so is the whole of North Africa and therefore Southern Europe.
And so the pro-war left become the permanent war left. The purple finger writes, and having writ moves on…