Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hitchens versus Obama

Christopher Hitchens appears to be on a quest--make everyone in the world hate him before he takes leave.

First he supported the Iraq war, angering his lefty friends but gaining a strange new alliance of pro-war Bush-loving conservatives, most of whom probably weren't aware of his overall politics. Then he attacked God, leaving most of those new-found friends in a frenzied lerch, unsure how to take their new ally. Next he declared waterboarding to be "torture", which warmed him further to his former pals on the port side, who'd previously declared him a bigger Judas figure than Lieberman.

But his recent column should dispel any notion he's on anyone's side:
If there is one element of moral and political certainty that cements the liberal consensus more than any other, it is the complacent view that while Iraq is "a war of choice," it is really and only Afghanistan that is a war of necessity. The ritualistic solidity of this view is impressive. It survives all arguments and all evidence.
Indeed he's right, there are two exercises that can accompany any attempt to convince anti-war liberals of their failed logic in this arena, one is bashing one's head against a brick wall and the other is falling into a catatonic trance. All three seem to produce equal results. The anti-Bush crowd is so deeply invested in Iraq's failure that letting go might be a fate worse than 20 years of continual Reagan movies.

In reality, those folks should have collectively apologized to America when the WMDs weren't found. It was Bill Clinton who "fearmongered" about Saddam to justify his Mesopotamian bombing raids (and the one over Khartoum) in the name of stopping the maniac Butcher from one day raining terror across the world. Instead, most lefties decided the best defense was a good offensive and blamed everything on Heir Bush, and with selective help from some in the media they've largely succeeded.

Ah, but all roads now lead to the ultimate point of that offensive, regaining the White House. Hitchens' main focus was their presumptive candidate and his near scatological approach to the conflicts we face, made clear again today by the latest flop, which McCain jumped on like a cat on a crippled rat:
"Senator Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan," McCain said in prepared remarks.

"And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to General Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: First you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy."
This dovetails well with Hitchens' reminder of this now almost forgotten golden moment, quite appropriate as Obama begins his mystery tour of the war zone:

For awhile those comments created a mini firestorm in the primary season, which translated into this classic exchange on an MSNBC debate:

Hitch also noticed something else Obama's rivals didn't at the time:
Did he mean to say that, come to think of it, we had enough troops to occupy three countries instead of the stipulated and solitary one? Or would he just exchange Iraq for Pakistan? At least we do know for sure that Pakistan has nuclear weapons acquired mainly by piracy and is the host and patron of the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Case in point, Obama calls the fight in Iraq a "war" while calling the war in Afghanistan a "fight". That's clearly designed to differentiate one from the other to appeal to those incapable of following the above logic.

But he can't even get Iraq right. Tom Maguire pointed out yesterday that simply saying he'll "stop the war" in Iraq won't act as some kind of magic wand if indeed there is really a civil war there now; if anything it'll be a worse civil war upon our departure. So the "war" will only be stopped as far as the US is concerned, despite the regional chaos we might leave behind.

Behold, the problem with politicizing a war. The more Obama tries to contort his views to anything but Bush, the more convoluted and illogical and inconsistent he becomes.

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