Monday, February 05, 2007

Battle of the Titans, to the Same End: Hitchens v. Krauthammer

World's Smartest Person Christopher Hitchens today takes on the estimable Charles Krauthammer on the very point affirmed by SWNID on Friday last. Arguing that the British indeed bungled India and Palestine, he nevertheless affirms Krauthammer's central point: that Iraq, thanks to Iraqis themselves, was a mess whether we fought the war or not, and not a mess that could be forever ignored.

Here's a salient paragraph, among many:

The habit of viewing Iraq as a crisis that only began in 2003--a lazy habit that is conditioned by the needs of the impending 2008 election--is an obstacle to understanding. Everybody has their own favorite alternative scenario of how things might have evolved differently or better. In some weak moments, I can picture taking the alternative advice from the European Union and the United Nations in 2003--let's just see how Iraq develops if left alone as a private fiefdom of the Saddam Hussein dynasty--and only then deciding that things have deteriorated to the point where an international intervention is necessitated. That would have been much less upsetting and demanding than the direct assumption of responsibility, and could have been triggered by the more familiar images of unbearable suffering and carnage, and could have summoned the Darfur-like emotions of guilt and shame, but it would perforce have been begun very much later--and perhaps too late altogether.

Or to remind all of the logical problem: asserting that the United States created the current mess with its invasion assumes the unlikely postulate that an equal or worse mess wouldn't have occurred had the US done nothing.

Mind your logic, all ye who blame Bush and the neocons and head for home.

1 comment:

Bryan D said...

A rumination on said logical folly: It is quite humorous these days to read headlines such as "British Troops Fear Gung-ho Americans Will Escalate Violence" in journals like the London Times.

I continually wait for a responding article from one of our own prodigous newspapers to the effect of, "US Fears It Was Faulty British Intellignece That Convinced Us to Go to War in the First Place," but none have yet materialized. Perhaps I wait in vain.

It is amusing to me, however, to watch the Brits wallow in their own self-loathing, Labor having already been forced to disown their most triumphant PM in recent history in order to distance themselves from their most shameful ally. "Oh, if only for the courage of the French!" their beleagured cries rise up from Parliament.

But, as territory after territory seek to break away from the kingdom—Scotland, Australia, and N. Ireland all seeking to go the way of our Maple Leaf friends—caustic London is forced to swallow another pint of bitter ale into its already ulcered stomach and continue to hold hands with their most famous ex-colony.

Ah yes, a homosexual civil union with Europe or an incestuous relationship of just one more in the harem of their estranged cousins. Another pint indeed!

Britain, Europe and even certain constituencies in America would love to think that she is to blame for the Iraq imbroglio, but Grand Master Logic will simply not allow it. What will be even more humorous, in my own understanding—twisted as it is by reading too much Shakespearian tragedy—is when the world finally convinces the US that it should quit its intervention in the world's affairs. After all, it worked out brilliantly at the turn of the century and even more so towards the end of the great depression.

Fortunately for the world, however, it appears that Pearl Harbor has occured at the beginning of this conflict, and it is unlikely that the majority of Americans will be willing to forget it and go home. Yet, as always, I could be mistaken just as Brutus was a noble man.