You know things are bad… Very bad, when George “The Shill” Will writes the following, as he did a few days ago, regarding the recent terror plot that was foiled by British intelligence:
“Cooperation between Pakistani and British law enforcement (the British draw upon useful experience combating IRA terrorism) has validated John Kerry’s belief, articulated in 2004, that “many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror.” In a candidates’ debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be “occasionally military,” it is “primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world.”” (So what did Christopher Hitchens say? “Yes, America sucks at police work – after all, I sued the government because the means of its so-called police work do not justify the undisputably – to me – proper ends of combating terrorism – because the means involved my personal livelihood; only other means are acceptable, and by the way, thank god these other means included our use of brute force – the only option “available” to us because of our intelligence failure.” Dear God – no wonder the man takes such offense in being called a chickenhawk!)
“Immediately after the London plot was disrupted, a “senior administration official,” insisting on anonymity for his or her splenetic words, denied the obvious, that Kerry had a point. The official told The Weekly Standard:
“The idea that the jihadists would all be peaceful, warm, lovable, G-d-fearing people if it weren’t for U.S. policies strikes me as not a valid idea. Democrats do not have the understanding or the commitment to take on these forces. It’s like John Kerry. The law enforcement approach doesn’t work.”
“This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike “the law enforcement approach,” does “work.”
The official is correct that it is wrong “to think that somehow we are responsible � that the actions of the jihadists are justified by U.S. policies.” But few outside the fog of paranoia that is the blogosphere think like that. It is more dismaying that someone at the center of government considers it clever to talk like that. It is the language of foreign policy � and domestic politics � unrealism.”
Hitchens and his ilk are always coming up with after-the-fact rationales (so-called) for why Bush invaded Iraq. “You see,” he lectures us, “Had Saddam’s sons not been killed, they might have resumed contact with bombmaker X, whom we knew to have been working on assemblage of material required to make a nuclear bomb. Therefore, the invasion of Iraq was correct, because we, in that invasion, killed these sons, thus preventing them from making contact with the bombmaker, thus giving him a disincentive to make the bomb, etc.”
Or, another example: “Abu Musab al Zarqawi was al Qaeda and was permitted by Saddam to operate out of Northern Iraq. He never intended to acquire weapons of mass detruction, but was behind religiously motivated killings, although not in alliance with Saddam Hussein in said killings’ execution. No matter, though. By our killing of Zarqawi, who was ratted out by fellow citizens, the war was justified because one al-Qaeda personage had been eliminated within Iraq, thus proving Bush’s point – in a way that saved lives – that the war in Iraq and the war in al Qaeda are both the same thing – the war on terrorism.”
Such mental gymnastics! Such desperation! It just shows how certain advocates of this war will indeed stop at nothing solely so that they can be right in their own minds (and make the rest of us suffer by making us know of this certitude).
Firstly, that Bush (well, not actually Bush, who has never read anything Hitchens has said) would have to rely on another’s argumentation, continuously, to keep dispensing after-the-fact rationales for why the invasion of Iraq was necessary, shows that there was no initial convincing argumentation made by the Bush team in the first place. Put it another way: many times, conservatives on the Supreme Court hold some repressive state law that is patently unconstitutional, constitutional, on some theory never advanced by the state, but rather on some manufactured-for-the-occasion and good-for-one-day-only rationale that a single Justice came up with. Does anyone believe, after reading an opinion embodying such a rationale, that the state has justified its own argument on behalf of why the law should be upheld? Of course not.
Secondly, Hitchens’ arguments suffer from what can be called Governor Tarkin syndrome. Princess Leia, in Episode IV, prissily intoned to the Governor, “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems shall slip through your fingers.”
The more Hitchens bends over backwards to say that event Z provided retrocontinuous justification for event Y, the more he abandons elementary logic, and the more he is able to relieve himself of having to answer the obviously unpleasant questions of intent and cause and effect.