Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bitchin' about Hitchens

A friend brought this article by Christopher Hitchens to my attention:
Persian Paranoia...Iranian leaders will always believe Anglo-Saxons are plotting against them.

It sounds like Hitchens is gearing up to buy another war drum. No wonder these guys in Iran want the bomb. Hitch is taking a bold stance against the Ayatollah.

So Obama's words will be twisted whatever he does, shouldn't he give them some direct pull quotes so the anti-Americanism can seem more authentic? There IS legitimate reason to suspect AmeriBrit meddling in recent Iranian history. Hitchens thinks he can sneer at these savages and oversimplify the problem, just as he did in Iraq, and he calls it an insight. The guy needs to learn his lessons from the last war and write with one part more humility, and one part less gin.

Hey, I'm no fan of the Mullahs, but I think Obama has been dead on in his statements, and all these patriots picking apart our President on a matter of foreign policy are hypocrites and blunderers.

I also read Hitchens with suspicion. Too many people have died for stupid reasons he's supported. I dislike his obvious contempt for a cagey and complicated enemy, and I smell war fever, not any actual strategic thinking. And treating Iranian paranoia as simply unjustified delusion simply ignores history. We've got a LOT to answer for in Iran.

I don't have sneering contempt for Mr. Hitchens, (the murderous drunk) though he does for the government of Iran.

It is a mistake to assume that the ayatollahs, cynical and corrupt as they may be, are acting rationally. They are frequently in the grip of archaic beliefs and fears that would make a stupefied medieval European peasant seem mentally sturdy and resourceful by comparison.

You might cling to that "frequently" as some sign of balanced nuance, but I don't. I pretty well hate the government of Iran too, but I don't write articles equating them with savages, because that would be...well...stupid. Any thoughtful analysis of Iran notes that the clerics are NOT a monolithic group, and that part of this crisis is shows the fractures within the leadership coming to light.

Obama is very much a crucial part of this article. The gist I got is that the mullahs are crazy, and Obama is a pussy to use the language he's used. Doesn’t like the use of “Supreme Leader” or "the Islamic republic." Hitchens says that Obama used the "wrong" Martin Luther King Jr. to deplore the repression in Iran. Isn’t that a little mind police-ish? Orwell matters.

The truth is that Obama cited the Supreme Leader when it was still a clever tactic to highlight Khamenei’s supposed concern over the tally. He stresses the Islamic republic because ALL sides see themselves as heirs to the legacy of 1979. The opposition shouts Allah-o Akbar from the rooftops. Hitchens doesn't really have any positive suggestions, just scorn for all things religious. If Obama took his advice he'd be a fool.

This article does drone on for a bit about the Iranian perceptions towards Britain, but once we get to the three points in the middle, he's really cooking. Any article with bullet points is about the bullets. Bullet number one:
There is nothing at all that any Western country can do to avoid the charge of intervening in Iran's internal affairs. The deep belief that everything—especially anything in English—is already and by definition an intervention is part of the very identity and ideology of the theocracy.
Gee, what does this pertain to? Is there someone who is using measured language about Iran so as not to appear meddlesome?

Point three is a straw man about how if people listened to writers and poets and not to only the clerics to gauge the mood in Iran, they wouldn't have been so surprised about the events unfolding. Speaking as someone who had a floating five dollar bet that there would be revolution in Iran, I don't recall Hitchens predicting this uprising based on some poem he'd read.

I don't equate CH with the right-wingers because he's bucking a liberal, though Obama's response would have probably been the same had he been a Republican. I suspicion his more overheated drumbeats because he's been a warmonger. I like some of his writing, when he's calm, but here, he's just saying he deplores the bad guys more than everyone else, and I don't think that passes for a real idea.
--Dan Kilian
-------------------- Tucker Carlson

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