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Christpoher Hitchens on Camelot


Glenn Viklund
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Perhaps a bit off topic here, but I do think it's worth mentioning.

It is a sad day. Christopher Hitchens passed on Wednesday. One of the most exciting, thought-provoking and endlessly masterful debaters of our - and I'd say, of all - times. This UK born American never ceased to provoke or stand rock steady no matter what. A master of the English language as well as a staunch atheist - or with his own words, anti-theist.

Here he is with his brother, in the US 1995:

Hitchens on Camelot

This is from Fora.TV, "Hitchens in memoriam":

Fora.TV.

A sad day, the world need lots more personalities of "The Hitch" caliber.

Edited by Glenn Viklund
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Guest Tom Scully

Are we posting about the same person?

http://gawker.com/5868761/christopher-hitchens-unforgivable-mistake

Christopher Hitchens’ Unforgivable Mistake

.....In its obituary, the New York Times quoted Hitchens' friend Ian Buruma, who told the New Yorker in 2006 that Hitchens was "always looking for the defining moment — as it were, our Spanish Civil War, where you put yourself on the right side, and stand up to the enemy." He shared that impulse with George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz, and they found their moment in the stupid decision to invade Iraq. For Hitchens, it was the opening maneuver in a grand, imagined clash of western civilization against the Islamofascist hordes.

It was something else for 113,000 civilians who died in the chaos unleashed. The great tragedy of Hitchens' life was that, toward its end, he aligned himself so stridently with the very fools, cowards, and charlatans who most desperately invited exposure by his prodigious skills as butcher. How can someone who devoted so much of his life to as noble a cause as destroying the reputation of Henry Kissinger blithely stand shoulder to shoulder with Rumsfeld?

People make mistakes. What's horrible about Hitchens' ardor for the invasion of Iraq is that he clung to it long after it became clear that a grotesque error had been made. In September 2005, he defended the debacle in Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard in terms that are simply breathtaking in their lack of concern for the victims of his Mesopotamian adventure. It was headlined "A War to Be Proud Of."

Torture and murder by feckless American troops at Abu Ghraib? "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad," he wrote. How clever! Anyone objecting to the occupation of Iraq on the grounds that torturing and murdering people is wrong and illegal is now obligated to defend the "abattoir" that existed prior to our arrival.

Anyone complaining that the chief rationale for the invasion—the indisputable presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq—turned out to have been a fantasy is being "childish," he wrote. "'You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire.' I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra." How tiresome you are with your boring insistence that wars be justified! Hitchens' answer to that whine is a trivial list of ominous fragments, conspiratorially arrayed: "Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad." If you don't recognize the immediate global danger that the presence in Iraq of a man who built a bomb that killed six people ten years ago presents, you are a child.

If you dispute the Bush Administration line that "terror" must be fought in Iraq lest it be fought on our soil, Hitchens alleged, you are guilty of dispensing "sob-sister tripe pumped out by the Cindy Sheehan circus and its surrogates." Sheehan's son had been dead scarcely a year at the time Hitchens wrote this.

But surely Christopher, you recognize that the war has been badly bungled even if all your hearts were in the right place, right? "We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves." For Christopher Hitchens to identify a subject about which no argument is required is a rare thing indeed. Abu Ghraib—why argue? The $9 billion in cash that simply disappeared—what's to argue? Two months after the Hitchens wrote those words, U.S. Marines massacred 24 men, women, and children in Haditha. No need to argue.

"If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated," he closed, "I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat." The rest of Hitchens' life turned out to be unjustly circumscribed. But his demilitarized federal and secular democracy is a mirage. More likely a future Iranian client state and Shi'ite stronghold awaits. Those words would not wear well on his headstone.

Hitchens' style—ironically, given his hatred for tyranny and love of free expression—brooked no dissent. There was little room for good-faith disagreement or loyal opposition. His enemies were not just wrong, they were stupid or mean or small-minded or liars or cheats or children or cowards. It was thrilling and gratifying to see that articulate viciousness deployed against the Clinton cartel, or Mother Teresa, or Henry Kissinger—against power and pretense. To see it deployed in favor of war, on behalf of a dullard and scion, against the hysterical mother of a dead son was nauseating.

In the months and years since Hitchens publicly proclaimed his pride in the invasion of Iraq for Murdoch's ideological crib-sheet, 78,708 Iraqi civilians and 2,548 U.S. troops have been killed. He did immense good in his life, and unforgivable harm.....

http://web.archive.org/web/20050921063522/http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20020923&s=shatz

The Left and 9/11

by ADAM SHATZ

....Hitchens's enthusiasm for the war on terror has led him to adopt some strange positions. You would think that, as a longstanding champion of Palestinian rights, he would be disturbed by Rumsfeld's cavalier talk of the "so-called occupied territories" and Bush's crude ultimatum to the Palestinians to either vote out Arafat or continue living under occupation. But Hitchens told me that while he objects to "that whole tone of voice," he prefers Bush's "tough love" to the "patronization" of Clinton's peace negotiators. Nor is he troubled by the mounting civilian toll exacted by America's crusade in Afghanistan. "I don't think the war in Afghanistan was ruthlessly enough waged," he says. What about the use of cluster bombs?

If you're actually certain that you're hitting only a concentration of enemy troops...then it's pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they're bearing a Koran over their heart, it'll go straight through that, too. So they won't be able to say, 'Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.' No way, 'cause it'll go straight through that as well. They'll be dead, in other words.

"It pains me to hear that," says Edward Said, a friend of many years. "He's gone back to nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy--go hit the wogs." ....

http://web.archive.org/web/20051128010637/http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/seymour261105.html#_edn11

26/11/05

Monthly Review Press

The Genocidal Imagination of Christopher Hitchens

by Richard Seymour

The Lighter Side of Mass Murder

...Hitchens specializes in retailing myths about Zarqawi these days, too. I think his first mention of Zarqawi was in February 2003, when Colin Powell brought him up. He averred that the "presence of al-Qaeda under the Iraqi umbrella is suggested chiefly by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a senior bin-Laden aide and an enthusiast for chemical and biological tactics," while "most US intelligence officials now agree that it is unlikely to be a coincidence that the pro-al-Qaeda gang, Ansar al-Islam, is fighting to destroy the independent Kurdish leadership in the northern part of Iraq that has been freed from Saddam Hussein's control."49 The interesting thing about this is that Hitchens didn't even get it right in hindsight. He continues to insist on the Baghdad-Bin Laden connection (via Baghdad and northern Iraq)50 despite ample refutation, of which we might mention the fact that Zarqawi's supposed presence in Baghdad was speculation, an "inferential leap" in the first place;51 that both British and German intelligence cast doubt on the story at the time;52 that even George Tenet, when testifying to a Senate Committee that Zarqawi had been in Baghdad, nevertheless said that he was neither under the control of Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein; that Zarqawi was an opponent of Al Qaeda at this time;53 that Ansar al-Islam leader Mullah Krekar denied having ever met Zarqawi and that his group was opposed to Hussein and did not associate with Al Qaeda;54 that, according to the International Crisis Group, the potency of Ansar al-Islam was drastically inflated by the PUK for its own reasons.55 There is considerable doubt about whether Zarqawi is alive, has two functioning legs, and is really in Iraq. Whether Zarqawi is a myth or a monster, the only story that obtains here is that there is no story. Saddam and Zarqawi never did have their Baghdad nuptials, however convenient the tale is for pro-war storytelling.56...

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Guest Tom Scully

Are we posting about the same person?

http://gawker.com/5868761/christopher-hitchens-unforgivable-mistake

Christopher Hitchens’ Unforgivable Mistake

.....In its obituary, the New York Times quoted Hitchens' friend Ian Buruma, who told the New Yorker in 2006 that Hitchens was "always looking for the defining moment — as it were, our Spanish Civil War, where you put yourself on the right side, and stand up to the enemy." He shared that impulse with George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz, and they found their moment in the stupid decision to invade Iraq. For Hitchens, it was the opening maneuver in a grand, imagined clash of western civilization against the Islamofascist hordes.

It was something else for 113,000 civilians who died in the chaos unleashed. The great tragedy of Hitchens' life was that, toward its end, he aligned himself so stridently with the very fools, cowards, and charlatans who most desperately invited exposure by his prodigious skills as butcher. How can someone who devoted so much of his life to as noble a cause as destroying the reputation of Henry Kissinger blithely stand shoulder to shoulder with Rumsfeld?

People make mistakes. What's horrible about Hitchens' ardor for the invasion of Iraq is that he clung to it long after it became clear that a grotesque error had been made. In September 2005, he defended the debacle in Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard in terms that are simply breathtaking in their lack of concern for the victims of his Mesopotamian adventure. It was headlined "A War to Be Proud Of."

Torture and murder by feckless American troops at Abu Ghraib? "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad," he wrote. How clever! Anyone objecting to the occupation of Iraq on the grounds that torturing and murdering people is wrong and illegal is now obligated to defend the "abattoir" that existed prior to our arrival.

Anyone complaining that the chief rationale for the invasion—the indisputable presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq—turned out to have been a fantasy is being "childish," he wrote. "'You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire.' I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra." How tiresome you are with your boring insistence that wars be justified! Hitchens' answer to that whine is a trivial list of ominous fragments, conspiratorially arrayed: "Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad." If you don't recognize the immediate global danger that the presence in Iraq of a man who built a bomb that killed six people ten years ago presents, you are a child.

If you dispute the Bush Administration line that "terror" must be fought in Iraq lest it be fought on our soil, Hitchens alleged, you are guilty of dispensing "sob-sister tripe pumped out by the Cindy Sheehan circus and its surrogates." Sheehan's son had been dead scarcely a year at the time Hitchens wrote this.

But surely Christopher, you recognize that the war has been badly bungled even if all your hearts were in the right place, right? "We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves." For Christopher Hitchens to identify a subject about which no argument is required is a rare thing indeed. Abu Ghraib—why argue? The $9 billion in cash that simply disappeared—what's to argue? Two months after the Hitchens wrote those words, U.S. Marines massacred 24 men, women, and children in Haditha. No need to argue.

"If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated," he closed, "I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat." The rest of Hitchens' life turned out to be unjustly circumscribed. But his demilitarized federal and secular democracy is a mirage. More likely a future Iranian client state and Shi'ite stronghold awaits. Those words would not wear well on his headstone.

Hitchens' style—ironically, given his hatred for tyranny and love of free expression—brooked no dissent. There was little room for good-faith disagreement or loyal opposition. His enemies were not just wrong, they were stupid or mean or small-minded or liars or cheats or children or cowards. It was thrilling and gratifying to see that articulate viciousness deployed against the Clinton cartel, or Mother Teresa, or Henry Kissinger—against power and pretense. To see it deployed in favor of war, on behalf of a dullard and scion, against the hysterical mother of a dead son was nauseating.

In the months and years since Hitchens publicly proclaimed his pride in the invasion of Iraq for Murdoch's ideological crib-sheet, 78,708 Iraqi civilians and 2,548 U.S. troops have been killed. He did immense good in his life, and unforgivable harm.....

http://web.archive.org/web/20050921063522/http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20020923&s=shatz

The Left and 9/11

by ADAM SHATZ

....Hitchens's enthusiasm for the war on terror has led him to adopt some strange positions. You would think that, as a longstanding champion of Palestinian rights, he would be disturbed by Rumsfeld's cavalier talk of the "so-called occupied territories" and Bush's crude ultimatum to the Palestinians to either vote out Arafat or continue living under occupation. But Hitchens told me that while he objects to "that whole tone of voice," he prefers Bush's "tough love" to the "patronization" of Clinton's peace negotiators. Nor is he troubled by the mounting civilian toll exacted by America's crusade in Afghanistan. "I don't think the war in Afghanistan was ruthlessly enough waged," he says. What about the use of cluster bombs?

If you're actually certain that you're hitting only a concentration of enemy troops...then it's pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they're bearing a Koran over their heart, it'll go straight through that, too. So they won't be able to say, 'Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.' No way, 'cause it'll go straight through that as well. They'll be dead, in other words.

"It pains me to hear that," says Edward Said, a friend of many years. "He's gone back to nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy--go hit the wogs." ....

http://web.archive.org/web/20051128010637/http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/seymour261105.html#_edn11

26/11/05

Monthly Review Press

The Genocidal Imagination of Christopher Hitchens

by Richard Seymour

The Lighter Side of Mass Murder

...Hitchens specializes in retailing myths about Zarqawi these days, too. I think his first mention of Zarqawi was in February 2003, when Colin Powell brought him up. He averred that the "presence of al-Qaeda under the Iraqi umbrella is suggested chiefly by Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, a senior bin-Laden aide and an enthusiast for chemical and biological tactics," while "most US intelligence officials now agree that it is unlikely to be a coincidence that the pro-al-Qaeda gang, Ansar al-Islam, is fighting to destroy the independent Kurdish leadership in the northern part of Iraq that has been freed from Saddam Hussein's control."49 The interesting thing about this is that Hitchens didn't even get it right in hindsight. He continues to insist on the Baghdad-Bin Laden connection (via Baghdad and northern Iraq)50 despite ample refutation, of which we might mention the fact that Zarqawi's supposed presence in Baghdad was speculation, an "inferential leap" in the first place;51 that both British and German intelligence cast doubt on the story at the time;52 that even George Tenet, when testifying to a Senate Committee that Zarqawi had been in Baghdad, nevertheless said that he was neither under the control of Al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein; that Zarqawi was an opponent of Al Qaeda at this time;53 that Ansar al-Islam leader Mullah Krekar denied having ever met Zarqawi and that his group was opposed to Hussein and did not associate with Al Qaeda;54 that, according to the International Crisis Group, the potency of Ansar al-Islam was drastically inflated by the PUK for its own reasons.55 There is considerable doubt about whether Zarqawi is alive, has two functioning legs, and is really in Iraq. Whether Zarqawi is a myth or a monster, the only story that obtains here is that there is no story. Saddam and Zarqawi never did have their Baghdad nuptials, however convenient the tale is for pro-war storytelling.56...

http://web.archive.org/web/20061004054036/http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060821.html

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

August 21, 2006

Press Conference by the President

White House Conference Center Briefing Room

...Q Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

http://web.archive.org/web/20061004032134/http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060912-2.html

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

September 12, 2006

Press Briefing by Tony Snow

White House Conference Center Briefing Room

....Q Well, one more, Tony, just one more. Do you believe -- does the President still believe that Saddam Hussein was connected to Zarqawi or al Qaeda before the invasion?

MR. SNOW: The President has never said that there was a direct, operational relationship between the two, and this is important. Zarqawi was in Iraq.

Q There was a link --

MR. SNOW: Well, and there was a relationship -- there was a relationship in this sense: Zarqawi was in Iraq; al Qaeda members were in Iraq; they were operating, and in some cases, operating freely from Iraq. Zarqawi, for instance, directed the assassination of an American diplomat in Amman, Jordan. But they did they have a corner office at the Mukhabarat? No. Were they getting a line item in Saddam's budget? No. There was no direct operational relationship, but there was a relationship. They were in the country, and I think you understand that the Iraqis knew they were there. That's the relationship.

Q Saddam Hussein knew they were there; that's it for the relationship?

MR. SNOW: That's pretty much it.

Q The Senate report said they didn't turn a blind eye.

MR. SNOW: The Senate report -- rather than get -- you know what, I don't want to get into the vagaries of the Senate report, but it is pretty clear, among other things, again, that there were al Qaeda operators inside Iraq, and they included Zarqawi, they included a cleric who had been described as the best friend of bin Laden who was delivering sermons on TV. But we are simply not going to go to the point that the President is -- the President has never made the statement that there was an operational relationship, and that's the important thing, because I think there's a tendency to say, aha, he said that they were in cahoots and they were planning and doing stuff; there's no evidence of that. ....

http://web.archive.org/web/20061003234511/http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060915-2.html

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

September 15, 2006

Press Conference of the President

The Rose Garden

....THE PRESIDENT: No, I'm not going to meet with him. I have made it clear to the Iranian regime that we will sit down with the Iranians once they verifiably suspend their enrichment program. I meant what I said.

Martha.

Q Mr. President, you have said throughout the war in Iraq and building up to the war in Iraq that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi and al Qaeda. A Senate Intelligence Committee report a few weeks ago said there was no link, no relationship, and that the CIA knew this and issued a report last fall. And, yet, a month ago you were still saying there was a relationship. Why did you keep saying that? Why do you continue to say that? And do you still believe that?

THE PRESIDENT: The point I was making to Ken Herman's question was that Saddam Hussein was a state sponsor of terror, and that Mr. Zarqawi was in Iraq. He had been wounded in Afghanistan, had come to Iraq for treatment. He had ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen in Jordan. I never said there was an operational relationship. I was making the point that Saddam Hussein had been declared a state sponsor of terror for a reason, and, therefore, he was dangerous. ...

http://www.cpa-iraq.org/bios/zarqawi_bio.html

(Near the top of the page..)

....Long before the Iraq war, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was aware of a poisons and explosives training center in northeastern Iraq that the al-Zarqawi network was running....

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=130169

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=130169&page=1

Bush Calls Off Attack on Poison Gas Lab

Calls Off Operation to Take Out Al Qaeda-Sponsored Poison Gas Lab

By John McWethy

W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 20 (2002)

President Bush called off a planned covert raid into northern Iraq late last week that was aimed at a small group of al Qaeda operatives who U.S. intelligence officials believed were experimenting with poison gas and deadly toxins, according to administration officials.

The experiments were being run under orders from a senior al Qaeda official who was providing money and guidance from elsewhere in the region.

U.S. officials familiar with the joint CIA and Pentagon operation said they were concerned they might be dealing with what could have been a budding chemical weapons laboratory.

Intelligence sources said the al Qaeda operatives were under the protection of a small radical Kurdish group called Ansar al Islam. It is a radical Islamic faction closely allied with al Qaeda that operates in a part of northern Iraq controlled by Kurds.

Since the Persian Gulf War, the United States has operated a so-called no-fly zone over much of northern Iraq to protect the Kurds from Saddam Hussein's periodic crackdowns. <h3>U.S. officials say they have no evidence Saddam's government had any knowledge of the al Qaeda operation.

Most of the experiments, sources say, involved a poison called ricin, a byproduct of the widely available castor bean plant.

"It is quite toxic, probably seven times more toxic than phosgene, which was a chemical weapon used in World War I," said Jonathan Tucker, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies.

Once a person is exposed to sufficient quantities, by inhalation or ingestion, ricin is deadly. "There is currently no treatment and no vaccine for ricin exposure," Tucker explained.

It is especially appealing to a terrorist group because it is relatively easy to make, easy to handle and is not expensive.

As a potential weapon of terror, ricin is considered most deadly in a closed room or building, where nearly everyone could die.

In World War I, the British experimented by putting ricin in artillery shells and bombs, but they never used it on the battlefield.

Tested on a Man

Intelligence sources told ABCNEWS there is evidence the terrorists tested ricin in water, as a powder and as an aerosol. They used it to kill donkeys, chickens and at one point allegedly exposed a man in an Iraqi market.

They then followed him home and watched him die several days later, sources said.

As U.S. surveillance intensified, officials concluded the operation was not a major threat to the United States and definitely not a sophisticated laboratory.

Instead, it appeared to be a few terrorists with relatively small amounts of poisons who were being encouraged to experiment by al Qaeda managers elsewhere in the region.

In the final analysis, the White House, Pentagon and CIA concluded it was not worth risking American lives to go after these people and not worth the adverse publicity that would surely follow any U.S. operation inside Iraq.

But as part of this operation, intelligence analysts did discover that al Qaeda money was again flowing, that new people had stepped in to manage and encourage far-flung projects like this one offering glimpses of a terrorist network trying to put itself back together again.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=HJFXAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oPIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6898,6011103&dq=diplomatic-diplomatic-efforts-efforts-to-build-internation-al-*&hl=en

From The Front Page .Lawmakers Question US Inaction On Alleged Al Qaeda Terror Camp...

Spokesman-Review - Feb 7, 2003

...Some Suggested that bombing the facility could complicate diplomatic efforts to build international support for a possible war with Iraq.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E3DD113BF933A25751C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=3

THREATS AND RESPONSES: TERROR NETWORK; A Terror Lieutenant With a Deadly Past

By DON VAN NATTA JR. WITH DAVID JOHNSTON

Published: February 10, 2003

...The American officials acknowledged there were differences among analysts about whether the camp had any connection to Al Qaeda or to Iraq. Ansar al-Islam's founder, Mullah Krekar, denied in an interview last week that his agency had ties to Mr. Zarqawi, Al Qaeda or the Iraqi government.

............

It's been confirmed by both Bush and his press secretary that these were intentionally deceptive statements.:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20021107-2.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

for Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

November 7, 2002

President Outlines Priorities

Presidential Hall

THE PRESIDENT:....And, you know, it's like people say, oh, we must leave Saddam alone; otherwise, if we did something against him, he might attack us. Well, if we don't do something, he might attack us, and he might attack us with a more serious weapon. The man is a threat, Hutch, I'm telling you. He's a threat not only with what he has, he's a threat with what he's done. He's a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda.....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...0030206-17.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

February 6, 2003

President Bush: "World Can Rise to This Moment"

Statement by the President

...We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network, headed by a senior al Qaeda terrorist planner. The network runs a poison and explosive training center in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad. The head of this network traveled to Baghdad for medical treatment and stayed for months. Nearly two dozen associates joined him there and have been operating in Baghdad for more than eight months. ....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20030317-7.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

March 17, 2003

President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours

Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation

The Cross Hall

....THE PRESIDENT:

........The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20030917-7.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

September 17, 2003

THE PRESIDENT: We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th. What the Vice President said was, is that he has been involved with al Qaeda. And al Zarqawi, al Qaeda operative, was in Baghdad. He's the guy that ordered the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He's a man who is still running loose, involved with the poisons network, involved with Ansar al- Islam. <h3>There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties. </h3>...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20040615-4.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

June 15, 2004

President Bush Meets with President Karzai of Afghanistan

Remarks by President Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan in a Press Availability

The Rose Garden

...PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm getting distracted over here, there seems to - be some noise.

Q The Vice President, who I see standing over there, said yesterday that Saddam Hussein has long-established ties to al Qaeda. As you know, this is disputed within the U.S. intelligence community. Mr. President, would you add any qualifiers to that flat statement? And what do you think is the best evidence of it?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Zarqawi. Zarqawi is the best evidence of connection to al Qaeda affiliates and al Qaeda. He's the person who's still killing. He's the person -- and remember the email exchange between al Qaeda leadership and he, himself, about how to disrupt the progress toward freedom?

Saddam Hussein also had ties to terrorist organizations, as well.....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20040617-3.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

June 17, 2004

President Discusses Economy, Iraq in Cabinet Meeting

Remarks by the President After Meeting with His Cabinet

The Cabinet Room

.... I'll be glad to answer a couple of questions. Deb, why don't you lead it off?

Q Mr. President, why does the administration continue to insist that Saddam had a relationship with al Qaeda, when even you have denied any connection between Saddam and September 11th. And now the September 11th Commission says that there was no

collaborative relationship at all.

<h3>THE PRESIDENT: The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.</h3> This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. For example, Iraqi intelligence officers met with bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in the Sudan. There's numerous contacts between the two. ...

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20040618-1.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

June 18, 2004

President Bush Salutes Soldiers in Fort Lewis, Washington

Remarks by the President to the Military Personnel

Fort Lewis, Washington

.....And we're beginning to see results of people stepping up to defend themselves. Iraqi police and Civil Defense Corps have

captured several wanted terrorists, including Umar Boziani. He was a key lieutenant of this killer named Zarqawi who's ordering the suiciders inside of Iraq. By the way,

''he was the fellow who was in Baghdad at times prior to our arrival. He was operating out of Iraq. He was an Al Qaeda associate. See, he was there before we came. He's there after we came. And we'll find him.''.....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20060320-7.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

March 20, 2006

President Discusses War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom

Renaissance Cleveland Hotel

Cleveland, Ohio

...THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. (Applause.) First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein. We did say that he was a state sponsor of terror -- by the way, not declared a state sponsor of terror by me, but declared by other

administrations. We also did say that Zarqawi, the man who is now wreaking havoc and killing innocent life, was in Iraq.

And so the state sponsor of terror was a declaration by a previous administration. But I don't want to be argumentative, but I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20060321-4.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

March 21, 2006

Press Conference of the President

James S. Brady Briefing Room

,,,THE PRESIDENT: I say that I'm talking realistically to people. We have a plan for victory and it's important we achieve that plan. Democracy -- first of all, this is a global war on terror and Iraq is a part of the war on terror. Mr. Zarqawi and al Qaeda, the very same people that attacked the United States, have made it clear that they want to drive us out of Iraq so they can plan, plot, and attack America again.....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...8/20060821.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

<h3>August 21, 2006</h3>

Press Conference by the President

White House Conference Center Briefing Room

......Q Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would --who had relations with Zarqawi.....

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/20...20070405-3.html Use http://www.archive.org/index.php to view

For Immediate Release

Office of the Vice President

April 5, 2007

Interview of the Vice President by Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show

Via Telephone

1:07 P.M. EDT

Q It's always a great privilege to have the Vice President, Dick Cheney, with us. Mr. Vice President, welcome once again to our program.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Rush. It's good to be back on......

.....Q It may not just be Iraq. Yesterday I read that Ike Skelton, who chairs -- I forget the name of the committee -- in the next defense appropriations bill for fiscal '08 is going to actually remove the phrase "global war on terror," because they don't think it's applicable. They want to refer to conflicts as individual skirmishes. But they're going to try to rid the defense appropriation bill -- and, thus, official government language -- of that term. Does that give you any indication of their motivation or what they think of the current plight in which the country finds itself?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sure -- well, it's just flawed thinking. I like Ike Skelton; I worked closely with Ike when I was Secretary of Defense. He's Chairman of the Armed Services Committee now. Ike is a good man. He's just dead wrong about this, though. Think about -- just to give you one example, Rush, remember Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist, al Qaeda affiliate; ran a training camp in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, then migrated -- after we went into Afghanistan and shut him down there, he went to Baghdad, took up residence there before we ever launched into Iraq; organized the al Qaeda operations inside Iraq before we even arrived on the scene,and then, of course, led the charge for Iraq until we killed him last June....

Edited by Tom Scully
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Perhaps a bit off topic here, but I do think it's worth mentioning.

It is a sad day. Christopher Hitchens passed on Wednesday. One of the most exciting, thought-provoking and endlessly masterful debaters of our - and I'd say, of all - times. This UK born American never ceased to provoke or stand rock steady no matter what. A master of the English language as well as a staunch atheist - or with his own words, anti-theist.

Here he is with his brother, in the US 1995:

Hitchens on Camelot

This is from Fora.TV, "Hitchens in memoriam":

Fora.TV.

A sad day, the world need lots more personalities of "The Hitch" caliber.

I couldn't agree more. This guy had a great mind and never compromised his principles or pulled his punches. The world could use a few more like him.

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Perhaps a bit off topic here, but I do think it's worth mentioning.

It is a sad day. Christopher Hitchens passed on Wednesday. One of the most exciting, thought-provoking and endlessly masterful debaters of our - and I'd say, of all - times. This UK born American never ceased to provoke or stand rock steady no matter what. A master of the English language as well as a staunch atheist - or with his own words, anti-theist.

Here he is with his brother, in the US 1995:

Hitchens on Camelot

This is from Fora.TV, "Hitchens in memoriam":

Fora.TV.

A sad day, the world need lots more personalities of "The Hitch" caliber.

I couldn't agree more. This guy had a great mind and never compromised his principles or pulled his punches. The world could use a few more like him.

I met Christopher Hitchens and spoke with him for about 10 minutes at the UCLA Festival of Books sometime around 2002 (plus or minus). He was one of the featured authors, and afterwards, time was set aside for those who attended to "meet the author." We talked about the Kennedy assassination, and I remember him stating that he had had (years before) a whole shelf full of books on the JFK case, but I also have the faint recollection of him wondering about CASE CLOSED, which made me realize the damage that Posner's book had done, in the sense that it had turned someone like Hitchens away from the issue. The sense I got was that he would always remain interested, but that his "Kennedy bookshelf" was a thing of the past, and he had finally gotten away from the subject.

A more recent example is Norman Mailer. Just consider the highly laudatory review Mailer wrote of Mark Lane's book, RUSH TO JUDGMENT,which was published in the summer of 1966; and then his reversal, circa 1983, when he endorsed Jean Davison (and "Oswald's Game"); and, finally, his 1995 "Oswald's Tale," where he actually is citing Priscilla McMillan and using excerpts from her book in a rather clumsy "cut and paste" fashion to argue that Oswald was the lone assassin.

I am sure Hitchens was very skeptical of the official version but, with the passage of time, and so many other issues to deal with, he had simply put it "behind him." But I will always remember him talking to me about his "Kennedy bookshelf."

DSL

Edited by David Lifton
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Tom,

Indeed the same man. One may not agree with every position Hitchens had taken, in fact I believe few did. But at the very least he had the ability to make people think their views through properly, no matter what the subject was. And surely no one could resist being impressed with the way Hitchens argued his case, irrespective of what was the subject.

Here's a good example, Hitchens and Stephen Fry are debating the role of the Catholic Church with a conservative MP and a catholic bishop. If you listen through all parts you will notice how the audience is voting before and after this debate. Amazing, and surely Hitchens had a large part in this remarkable switch - as did of course Stephen Fry.

(Personally, I disagree with Hitchens position on the Iraq war, for example, but he certainly made me think twice about it...)

Robert

Well put, no punches pulled, as many debaters painfully experienced over the years. Moreover, he often demolished others with a large portion of humor baked into the cake. Doing this without coming across as arrogant is an art that Hitchens was very, very skilled at.

David

Interesting. I didn't know he had been that much into the assassination of JFK. Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the man or listen to him live. But I am now finally going to buy his memoirs, released last year just before he was diagnosed with cancer; "Hitch 22, a memoir".

Edited by Glenn Viklund
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Perhaps a bit off topic here, but I do think it's worth mentioning.

It is a sad day. Christopher Hitchens passed on Wednesday. One of the most exciting, thought-provoking and endlessly masterful debaters of our - and I'd say, of all - times. This UK born American never ceased to provoke or stand rock steady no matter what. A master of the English language as well as a staunch atheist - or with his own words, anti-theist.

Here he is with his brother, in the US 1995:

Hitchens on Camelot

This is from Fora.TV, "Hitchens in memoriam":

Fora.TV.

A sad day, the world need lots more personalities of "The Hitch" caliber.

I couldn't agree more. This guy had a great mind and never compromised his principles or pulled his punches. The world could use a few more like him.

I disagree. What about sending his three children to private school? He sold out his socialist beliefs to become a media star in the US. His brother did the same in the UK. They were both socialists of the "I hate my Conservative father" type. University was full of them. They virtually all ended up on the right supporting the status quo.

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As Mr. DiEugenio pointed out, Hitchens loved the Iraq War.

Hitchens called the war in Iraq, "A War to Be Proud Of." That was the title of one of his war-loving articles. Link here: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/995phqjw.asp?page=3

Hitchens did not have a very bright mind. He once swore that if Hillary Clinton became Obama's Secretary of State, she would behave like an egomaniac who wanted to become President really bad. Now Mr. Hitchens' words are officially dumb, unless someone points out any indication that Hillary Clinton wants to challenge Obama in the upcoming Primaries. The Iowa Democratic Primary is less than 3 weeks from today, by the way. Here's Hitchens' quote:

"HITCHENS: I actually agree with what Tom Friedman said. It must be very nerve-wracking to have a Secretary of State who you know is thinking about four years ahead or maybe eight all the time. She never thinks about anything else, never has thought about anything else, except the possibility that she might one day be the president of the United States.....Someone who simply can't think about anything but her own ego, or sometimes her husband's. If Barack Obama does this to himself, he will never have a minute's peace in foreign policy and neither will we."

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh112008.html

Here's a good obituary telling the truth about Hitchens: http://gawker.com/5868761/christopher-hitchens-unforgivable-mistake

I won't be too harsh on Hitchens for being an alcoholic, as reported here, since he was a bad journalist regardless of his habits.

Edited by Andric Perez
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