Simply Evil

September 5, 2011

A decade after 9/11, it remains the best description and most essential fact about al-Qaida.
By Christopher Hitchens

The proper task of the "public intellectual" might be conceived as the responsibility to introduce complexity into the argument: the reminder that things are very infrequently as simple as they can be made to seem. But what I learned in a highly indelible manner from the events and arguments of September 2001 was this: Never, ever ignore the obvious either.


Anonymous said...

Rock on, Christopher. THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

He was right about all the important questions including the Iraq War, and stuck to his principles while the so called anti-Imperialist left did everything they could to bring him down.
Well, he's still standing, and they look like the bunch of clowns that they are.

Chris said...

God Bless this man(pun not necessarily intended) for standing up for what he believes in for all these years.May he continue to do so for many more years to come.

C. P. Coleta said...

Good stuff! Anonymous (2), you say "anti-imperialist" as though Hitchens himself ain't one. He's not a soft-ass, Western-hating, pseudo-complex liberal like, say, Mike Moore, but he's certainly Anti-Imperialist

theseawilltell said...

I hope you're both right. It seems that so many people don't understand the importance of what we're doing and as yoda might say, what those lefty cronies offer is "quicker, easier" and I guess for some people in a dark and complicated place, "more seductive". Iraq was a small trickle compared to the tidal wave that could very well be on its way. How will we be able to cope with a global jihad of world war magnitude when we have to fight a civil war against some ever growing band of sectarians who think that it's a much higher priority to insure obese americans, so that they may continue to live the sad and disgusting life they've carved out for themselves. A nation of apathy and appeasement, with very little hope or future, our rights and desires repressed by left/right morality, ruled by a tyrannical moralistic ignorant population (the mass) which will look like some kind of fusion between far left and far right, like 20th century nationalism. What a horrible time to be born to and to live in. "I am filled with unutterable loathing"- Frederick Douglass

Michael Dawson said...

Hilariously Orwellian! Never ignore the obvious! Hitchens got liquored up and decided to do exactly that, jettisoning everything he had previously paid careful attention to about "Western" power structures and policy motives and plainly obvious and highly relevant history.

This column will wind up proving that Hitchens stood his ultimate ground as a proud hypocrite and shill for the world's biggest death cult, a.k.a. international capitalism.

BTW, Hitchens isn't even a seriousl military analyst. As Chomsky rightly points out, the USA has delivered Bin Laden exactly what Bin Laden hoped to receive. Since when is granting an attacker's core war aims a smart move?

FGFM said...

"How will we be able to cope with a global jihad of world war magnitude when we have to fight a civil war against some ever growing band of sectarians who think that it's a much higher priority to insure obese americans, [sic] so that they may continue to live the sad and disgusting life they've carved out for themselves. [sic]"

Be prepared to lose a pound a week!

Tiglath said...

"He was right about all the important questions including the Iraq War,"

He was certainly not. If Libya and Egypt tell us something is that it is far better to wait for the people to hunger for freedom and then provide aid to their liberation effort, than to ram democracy down their throats as we did in Iraq, at enormous cost, and with dubious results; and in the process boost Iran's influence in the region beyond their wildest dreams, something Hitchens will insist is a very bad thing, in contradiction with himself. And... when Assad falls, all doubt will be removed that Saddam would have fallen too, eventually, if we had waited for the Iraqis to want it bad enough. Hitchens was wrong,

Anonymous said...

@theseawilltell: Damn

Anonymous said...


Maybe. I’m not a proponent of the Iraq War, but I do like to play “alternative history,” so let me suggest a different turn of events. Iraq is never invaded by the US, and the Shi’a and Kurdish factions revolt (as should be near doubtless). Hussein would certainly attempt a mass slaughter of revolutionaries, and possibly succeed at it. I think we can all concur that he was not averse to doing so, considering the previous attacks on the Kurds. Iraq would then be in a state of massive internal disintegration. In the west, Turkey might take advantage of this national implosion to expand into Kurdistan. In the east, Iran (still quite sore about the Iraq-Iran war and that UN induced truce) could not only invade, but claim to do so for humanitarian reasons. They might claim that the atrocities carried out by the Sunni Ba’athists are unacceptable and that Iran is duty bound to intervene. Though it has to be granted that not many people would believe it, such a sentiment would look good in papers sympathetic to the Iranian regime.

Iraq is basically a well-populated cave surrounded by many hungry wolves, rife with resources, locations of strategic importance, and enough historical gravity to make neighbourly invasion very tempting. It has also proven to be a very difficult area to hold because of the combined might of surrounding civilizations (just ask what descendants of the citizens of Nineveh you can find). And if you think a coalition between the leaders of Iraq and Iran is bad, imagine if they were at war once again, with Hussein still in power. It would be much messier than the first I suspect, and with no possibility of accepted truce. And what side should the U.S. pick anyway? Shall they form an alliance with Iran, or fight yet another war with different countries on several fronts?

Now I am by no means claiming that this is what would happen. It is only one of a million scenarios. I am only warning against the assumption that conjuring an alternative history of “If the US hadn’t invaded...” and taking for granted that the conclusion would be done and dusted is not based in any kind of convincing logic.

P.S. I’m guessing that some argument shall be made that the turmoil caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq provided ample opportunity for Turkey and Iran to descend if they had intentions of doing so. However, the U.S. military, even when diluted, is an unimaginably formidable foe; the military and the American financial and political sway is deterrent enough for all those with aims towards self-preservation. Pakistan, for example, has attempted a very translucent and ineffective secret hindrance, all the while pretending to be tentative allies. They do so because overt attacks on U.S. stations strongly imply the threat of a very powerful backlash.

Anonymous said...

If we had left Saddam in place, Libya and Egypt would never have happened.

At this point, anybody who quotes Chomsky is a total idiot. Especially when they simultaniously start using Kissingeresque realpolitiks to say that we should have left Saddam in place because it just strengthened Iran. Iran would have been exactly where they are now with Saddam in power, only they could justify their nuclear program internationally because of Saddam's supposed WMDS. We'd also have the added bonus of 25 million Iraqis living under his shit regime with starvation, sanctions and that sadistic pervert Uday next in line.

If that's the best "what if" history you asswipes can give us--well you can keep it. I'm sticking with the Hitch.

And Chomsky and all his little acne faced fanboys can blow me.

Michael Dawson said...

Anon 9:27, how old are you? 17? You write and think like it.

You, of course, have zero understanding of Chomsky or the reality he discusses. No Chomsky admirer argues that Saddam's status in Iraq has anything to do with Iran. That's just you getting your right-wing wires crossed.

Meanwhile, among many other serious things you war-mongers neglect, it remains a patent and inarguable fact that invading Iraq in 2003 was a violation of the Constitution, which says foreign treaties are the highest law of the land. The UN Charter is a treaty, and it clearly forbids what the U.S. did in 2003.

Stick with the Hitch, and keep this bold statement for your grandchildren. You won't be proud of yourself. They will be disgusted.

Chris said...

Invading Iraq only strengthened Iran in the same way liberating Western Europe from fascism only strengthened the CCCP(You have to love how paleoconservative imperialist anti-war screeds never actually change).
I also suppose that per Tigalth's argument it would also have never made any sense to overthrow German Nazism because Portugal's people overthrew their far right wing dictator once too.

Chris said...

Also it's an utter act of buffoonery to say that something like democracy can actually be "rammed" down a persons throat.It's like jamming down the concept of 1+1=2 down someone's throat.Jesus,I know the post-modern "anti-war" movement is simpleminded but you have to be kidding me now.Was Louis the 16nth also "ramming democracy down our throats" when he intervened on the US's side during the American revolution,when only about 40 % of all Americans supported the revolution?Also can I take it to mean that you Tiglath have actually fought for your own freedom without it having had been "jammed" down your throat by a member of the US Armed Forces?Or were you simply born here,like most of the American people?Fight for your own freedom you coward!Why am I subsidizing you with my taxpayer dollars?
(rolls eyes).

Tiglath said...

Anonymous wrote: 'If that's the best "what if" history you asswipes can give us...'

It must be awful to have no manners...

No wonder you go by "Anonymous" to cowardly insult your betters, and protect the butt you'd get so thoroughly kicked if face-to-face. All bullies are cowards.

An how is that for accusing others of what 'Anonymous' is most guilty of:

"If we had left Saddam in place, Libya and Egypt would never have happened."

Hitch would tell you that such an inane gratuitous assertion can be denied just as gratuitously.

Learn some manners, at long last.

Anonymous said...

9/11: Was There An Alternative?

Anonymous said...

I'm getting my right wing wires crossed Dawson? You and Chomsky sound like fucking Ron Paul.

After ten years I am so fucking sick of your circular arguments that all essentially distill down to "AmeriKKKa is evil, and Iraq would have been better off under Saddam and his freedom fighters!"

Are you fucking kidding me?

Yes, the insurgency was horrible, mainly because leftist shits like you called the Al Qaeda murders "freedom fighters", and gave them all the good press that they could ever have dreamed for! The more brutal they became, the louder you screamed that Bush was Hitler, and it was all his fault! Certainly the brown skinned Iraqi "Che-like" fighters against empire could never be blamed for the wholesale slaughter of Iraqi civilians making their way to the voting booths and trying to restore their country.

Kidnappings, beheadings, IEDs, Torture houses, blown up Mosques-- BUSHHITLER'S FAULT!

It should have given you pause when Osama started quoting Chomsky virtually line and verse. I think ole Noam was his second favorite writer after the prophet.

Fact of the matter is, you didn't give a shit about the people of Iraq. All you wanted was to hurt Bush and his evil empire by any means possible. It was all about power baby.

The proof? Now that Obama is in office, the anti-war movement has all but evaporated into the ether--even though we are still having troops killed every day, BO is popping the Taliban with illegal assassinations (aka drone strikes) AND gitmo is still open.

So to repeat--you can all fucking blow me you dishonest shit wads.

Just over 4,000 American soldiers have died in ten years to free 25 million people in Iraq.

That's a little over half the number the US lost in three days in the battle of Gettysburg. So by your math we REALLY shouldn't have wasted so many lives freeing a paltry 3 million slaves. We should have waited until they had an innate desire for freedom and rebelled against their southern masters themselves!

The families of our fallen soldiers can and should be proud. The Iraqi democracy isn't perfect, but they vote and now have a rule of law, and a chance for a better future. Not many Muslim countries can make that claim. Do you think they want to go back to Ba'athist rule? If you had your way, they would still be under the Ba'athists.

Hitchens has already established himself in the great tradition of enlightenment, humanist thinkers and writers. He will be fondly remembered and widely read in generations to come.

Chomsky is a looooon who thinks Bush and Israel blew up the World Trade Center on 911. In twenty years historians are going to watch Michael Moore movies and read Chomsky and laugh their asses off. Not only are they bat shit crazy, neither one of them, (along with a very disturbingly large portion of what now passes for "the left"), have ever met a totalitarian butcher they didn't love more than Uncle Sam.

So, in closing, in honor of the 10th anniversary of 911, I never ever plan on engaging any of you dumb shits again. It's like trying to engage a psychotic for a decade,and I've had enough.

So take you iraqbodycount.orgs, your creampuff posters of Julian Assage, your democracynow! fundraisers, your Nation subscriptions, your fraudulent Lancet study, your fond memories of George Galloway on Big Brother, your overpriced, unreadable Noam Chomsky tomes that you quote like Mao's little red book, and your massive peacenik million man marches and shove it all up your sanctimonious asses. You did your best to cheer on the forces of oppression, but YOU LOST.

Hitchens was right about Iraq, and has NO REASON to apologize.

History is kind to those who stand up for the rights of others against tyranny, brutality, and dare I say EVIL. Christopher did. May he continue to do so for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Tiglath, do you know "Hitch"? Has he given you permission to write in his name? If not, why don't you shut the fuck up.

It just kills me how you all just love CH when he writes about Atheism, but when he starts talking about the liberation of Iraq, he somehow turns into the crazy ole uncle you'd like to lock up in the attic.

As for manners, frankly, you don't deserve them.

Michael Dawson said...

Anon, you are a mental child. You display zero capacity to understand the arguments of those with whom you disagree, as well as zero concern for the rule of law and other principles you must think you're defending. Chomsky does not say the United States is all evil or uniquely evil. He merely says it has big flaws and problems, and that we, its citizens, are responsible for fixing them.

Why am I wasting electrons trying to explain this to you? I suppose that, since you profess to agree with Hitchens, you might be open to taking a look at what has says on topics other than 911. Probably not, since you are pretty clearly a vet who's committed to polishing your own brass for the rest of your life. But, maybe one day, you might reflect on facts you don't like, and the importance of being able to do that.

Of course, that isn't exactly something we Americans are known for, is it?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've read just about everything Hitchens has ever written, and much of Chomsky's stuff.

Dawson, I absolutely understand the arguments.I just think Chomsky is completely full of shit.

You are too by the way.

And I'm kind of old school. I don't feel any obligation to "tolerate" much less "respect" the opinions of people who are full of shit.

So why don't you go back to your fucking hemp cloud and reflect on that.

You wouldn't know the truth , or a good argument if it bit you in the ass.

By the way, that comment on the veteran stuff really showed your true colors, you dick-less hypocrite. You are not worthy to lick the boot of a combat veteran.

Tiglath said...

I note with glee that "Anonymous" is being demoted by other Fair Readers to the category of entertainment.

Throw spitballs and see him charge and bite the asylum iron bars. Hilarious!

It's so funny seeing him trying to make up for a empty silo of ideas with a foul mouth and prebleian invective.

Intellectual activity completely puzzles and confounds this sorry victim of a bad upbringing. Lord, on my knee I thank thee I am not like he.

I don't know what makes you such an entertaining jerk Anonymous but it really works.

Please write more.

Tiglath said...

Hitchens is wrong on two counts.

If you listen to Hitch's argumenta on why we had to remove Saddam, it is all about human suffering, is it not?

The most perfunctory estimate of casualties that may have resulted from leaving Saddam in power, compared to the casualties of the Iraq War, shows even if imperfectly, that Saddam was the lesser evil.

Wingnuts continue to harp about the need to topple Saddam because he was evil. There is no quarrel about his evil character, but if the goal is to avoid human suffering it is plain nuts to topple Saddam in a way that causes much more dead, wounded and suffering than Saddam would have himself. At no time he caused to his own people the number of casualties and suffering that Bush's War has. That is a fact no matter how many gassed Kurds or other Saddam victims you bring into the argument.

Secondly, Saddam, good or bad, was a counterweight to Iran. You cannot argue without contradiction yourself for the need to suppress evil Iran's power and influence as Hitch does, and at the same time be happy that we removed Saddam, which has empowered the Iraqi Shiites and removed Irans's counterweight in the region. Hitch is as stubborn as he is smart, and he has not yet faced this fact, much as it is facing him.

If eventually the Iraqis had grown a spine and a thirst for democracy, surely Saddam would deal with the rebels brutally, similarly to Assad, but we were in a much better position to curtail any massacre that we are in Syria. We had no-fly zones in place, and same as we do in Libya, or even more, we could have seen the revolution to fruition, and at a much cheaper cost to us (USA) in blood and treasure.

If the Arab Spring is showing us anything is showing how wrong we were to "liberate" Iraq before its people were ready and asking for it. A most salient and conclusive fact: We were not received as liberators by the majority of Iraqis.

Tiglath said...

Chris wrote: "I also suppose that per Tigalth's argument it would also have never made any sense to overthrow German Nazism"

Comparative history is not your forte, is it, Chris?

Comparing Saddam with Hitler is such a tired canard, but I see that for some it is still the best they can do.

It's an easy comparison because requires very little thinking and the name "Hitler" and "Nazi" it's likely to command an instant emotional reaction, to people of Chris's IQ, that is.

A man who compares Saddam to Hitler in public does himself no favors; it parades nothing but invincible ignorance of both Hitler and Saddam.

Hitler was such a foe that it took the combined effort of the strongest nations in the world to defeat him and it took years and millions of casualties.

Saddam,Chris doesn't seem to know, we pushed out of Kuwait with the little finger of the left hand. He never won a battle, had no air force, and at no time posed any threat to anyone other than those in his jurisdiction.

Quite a difference with Hitler, don't you think? Enough to warrant different considerations as to what to do with him and how.

But don't let me interrupt your urge to make more facile and inane comparison, go ahead make my day and parade some more your shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

"But don't let me interrupt your urge to make more facile and inane comparison, go ahead make my day and parade some more your shortcomings."

Thus spake Nimrod!!!!

You say comparative history is not Chris' forte? Well thinking isn't yours you arrogant little twat.

Why don't you look at what Assad's daddy did the last time the folks got uppity. It's certainly been a while! Funny how we've only had movement in the democracy direction since---the liberation of Iraq!

It's a meaningless question now, not unlike the rest of your juvenile pseudo-intellectual spew, but since you're SOOO into what "If", how long were we suppose to wait for that spontanious combustion of democracy? Another century? Where's your proof it would have, or could have ever happened?

You don't have any.

If Assad goes at this point, we can thank GWB and the neocons for making the dream of arab countries without authoritarian thugs for dear leaders a reality. It must really chap a few butts in the ME that in Iraq, ordinary people have the internet, satelites, news papers with actual news, and a real government complete with a constitution. Kind of like in Israel.

Look at what Saddam did after the first gulf war with American GIs ON THE GROUND in Iraq--to Bush Sr.'s everlasting shame.

With the most professional, best equipt army in the history of the world on the ground--look at the sadism and the sheer evil Saddam's henchmen and Al Qaeda were able to inflict on the civilian population.

Imagine if they had not been there.

No way in Hell they could ever have eliminated Saddam alone without it looking like Pol Pot's Killing Field (and ask Chomsky about that!), or Rwanda times 10--with the Turks confiscating Kurdistan, and Iran taking over whatever was left after oh--say 8 or 9 million people died in hideously cruel ways.

And you're talking about a lesser evil?

What a laughable little puffed-up neo-marxist clown. Does reading Tariq Ali give you a hard-on?


Anonymous said...

"At no time he caused to his own people the number of casualties and suffering that Bush's War has. That is a fact no matter how many gassed Kurds or other Saddam victims you bring into the argument."

If by 'fact' you mean something completely contrary to any accepted figures. Conservative estimates of the civilian body count caused by Hussein's regime are somewhere around 300,000 and non-conservative estimates go as high as 1 million. The Iraq Invasion casualties are currently in or around the 150,000-200,000 range (many of them by anti-coalition forces).

"Saddam,Chris doesn't seem to know, we pushed out of Kuwait with the little finger of the left hand. He never won a battle, had no air force, and at no time posed any threat to anyone other than those in his jurisdiction."

Sure, except for all those Iranians between 1980 and 1988. By the way, the Iraqi air force was one of Iraq's strengths during the Iraq-Kuwait war, a war in which many Kuwaitis probably felt threatened, at best.

I'd refer you to this quote from Hussein's NY Times obituary:

"(He)murdered as many as a million of his people, many with poison gas. He tortured, maimed and imprisoned countless more. His unprovoked invasion of Iran is estimated to have left another million people dead. His seizure of Kuwait threw the Middle East into crisis. More insidious, arguably, was the psychological damage he inflicted on his own land. Hussein created a nation of informants — friends on friends, circles within circles — making an entire population complicit in his rule."

Seems like a pretty reasonable assessment. Whatever your position on the Iraq Invasion (and I don't necessarily disagree with you), don't bother to claim that you know Hussein was evil, then go on to marginalize the fact with shoddy evidence. Also, your conviction that the U.S. should have waited for Arab Spring (that thing it didn't know would happen) is yet another example of the pitfalls of what-ifism.

Anonymous said...

Let me add Tig-lad, one of the main reasons Assad will likely not fall, is that all he has to do is get on a balcony and shout JOOO Jooo Joo, to make all the Hezbollah loving small pricked Nimrods so orgasmic they forget they're living in an authoritarian shit hole.

Kind of like that 2 minutes of hate in 1984.

It's worked for 60 years.

And you sound like someone who would have an intimate knowledge of that...

Anonymous said...

Dawson is at it again! Hey Mike-- I'd take you a little more seriously if you didn't get Htichens so wrong all the time. Have you ever even ONCE admitted that you misread something he said? I mean you've gotten at least 3 articles flat out BACKWARDS lately-- so I'd show a little more humility in this regard.

And I am sympathetic to your arguments-- although I do think that Htichens' point that the LEFT inside Iraq wanted the invasion is pretty salient; but I doubt it will even give a guy like you pause. Which is the difference between 'thinking' people and merely reflexive people.

Anonymous said...

"Saddam,Chris doesn't seem to know, we pushed out of Kuwait with the little finger of the left hand. He never won a battle, had no air force, and at no time posed any threat to anyone other than those in his jurisdiction."

Yeah, well, the US bombed the holy crap out of him, and had at it's disposal technology only dreamed of in WWII, So you're the one who is an idiot when it comes to comparative History if you ask me.

Agressive attacks on neighboring countries, attempted genocide, totalitarian police state...You are aware that over one million muslims died thanks to Saddam in the Iran Iraq war, aren't you? And then there are perhaps 100,000 kurds that he murdered--we'll never know an exact number.

So how much more like Hitler would you want him to be?

Michael Dawson said...

"You are not worthy to lick the boot of a combat veteran."

If there is fascism in America, it emanates from the military, as usual.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same "Tiglath"


C. P. Coleta said...


I get it now. You cannot be living in America. You cannot be living next to college students, or an elderly couple, or even an "assimilated" Muslim family. You're definitely not living next to a strip mall, or trailer park community, or golf course.

You are definitely some tool, official or otherwise, who is to be the constant contrarian to what America should be standing for, and what it actually represents. You're living in some Mideast or South Asian apartment, with your 11 children (I hope all girls), trying to hold on to the sins of the C.I.A. because you probably started a book on 9/10 that seemed so fucking juicy until Your Boys decided to board Flights 11, 93, et al.

You, Dawson, are a loser. A fucking herb who reminds us all that tomorrow will get better, because if you lived next to any of those people/places I referenced, you'd know they exist - persist - despite the C.I.A.'s misdeeds and Atta's attempts at silly glory.

Assalamu Alaikum, you Useful Idiot

P.s. Who's Michael Dawson, really? The guy who taught you how to speak English. Apologize!

Anonymous said...

Here's a REAL question for Dawson. First of all-- you normally get Hitchens' point exactly backwards, but it seems here you aren't making any glaring errors of reading. Plaudits for that.

Now, ahem, my question. I happen to be a huge Chomsky fan (read many of his books-- Manufacturing Consent is his best IMHO)-- but your recent reformulation of his question vis-a-vis US "responsibility" for it's own actions (and those of it's proxies) made me want to ask this:

If we built Saddam (which we did-- like we built Batista, Pinochet, then wouldn't it be our responsibility to dismantle his ass? I mean, who else but us should take these fascistic dictators out; who but those who propped them up?!

I wish we'd remove every right-wing dictator and psychopath the CIA invented. Why don't you? Sure, I agree the Bush Crime Family didn't do it for noble reasons-- but so fucking what. I don't care if I get a blow-job for nobel reasons or not--I just want the blow-job. This question is sincerely posed despite the blow-job reference.

Tiglath said...

Anonymous insults his interlocutors so that readers will think he is tough and brave, and doesn't even suspect that his invective tells more about him than those he is trying to disparage. Throw dirt, lose ground. His arguments not only make no good sense, they don't even make good nonsense. Regardless, he continues to pleasure himself on center stage for the amusement of all. It's a joy to watch.

He finds it hard to focus on the issue at hand. On the issue of whether it was wise to leave Saddam in power in 2003, he discusses the Iran-Iraq war of two decades prior for apparently no other reason than his tendency to ramble on. Pay attention, Neocon. We are discussing 2003, not 1980.

During 23 years in power Saddam surely killed hundreds of thousands of people, but that is also irrelevant to this discussion. What is relevant is how many people Saddam is likely to have killed had we left him in power in 2003. Anonymous the Neocon, believes it would have been like Rwanda x 10. That is about ten million people, folks. Almost half the country. It goes to show you where Anonymous is writing from... the Asylum of Ignorance, and how clearly the man lacks the gene that gives people a sense of ridicule, and so loves to parade his lack of education on a par with his upbringing and manners -- and manifestly making no effort no correct them. The man gets his history from obituaries in the NY Times - 'nuff said. An he is also a prophet, folks. Assad will not fall, he tells us. Hilarious! Get thee to a library,man Run, don't walk.

Prior to the Iraq War we had Saddam boxed in. History revisionists forget conveniently how he was prepared to allow anything to forestall an invasion, inspection of his palaces or anything we would have asked. Ha had none of the free hand he enjoyed when he committed the worst massacres against his people in years past, and we would have been able to prevent a repeat of such atrocities. Yes, in the street his goons could still go into houses and make people disappear, but the body count would be low compared to what it would be, had he full military strength and freedom of action.

It's no hard to see how a so boxed-in Saddam would kill many fewer than Bush's War did. The numbers for Bush's War are hard to get but there is no doubt that it's in the hundreds of thousands also, and counting... Hardly a "lesser evil" than Saddam.

Anonymous criticizes "what-if" scenarios others mention, and in the next sentence he indulges in the most ludicrous what-ifs of all himself: Rwanda x 10. Gee! It's so funny, he does not even seem aware of it. Read what you write before you post, Anonymous, you might come across a wee bit less defective than you have done so far.

The fact is that Sunni Saddam kept in check Shiite Iran, but Bush did away with that, and now we have a Shiite Iraq that looks up to Iran, and a soon to be Syria, Iraq, Iran Shiite axis looms large to control the region in the coming decades, and as a Great Wall to the Arab Spring. All thanks to Bush and Neocons like Anonymous who call themselves patriots, but on closer inspection reveal nothing but staggering incompetence.

Tiglath said...

Anonymous said: "So how much more like Hitler would you want Saddam to be?"

I am not the one who compared Saddam to Hitler; "Chris" and "Anonymous" are.

It is you two who need Saddam to be more like Hitler so that comparing the two as like threats to humanity does not cause people to laugh hysterically, and immediately categorize you two as two mooks deserving all kinds of mockery and never to be taken seriously.

Your praise of Saddam's technology induces so much laughter that stomach cramps might be an issue, don't do it, man.

What technology are you talking about? Chemical warfare... gas? Did you know that it predates Hitler by decades? Like the First World War? Scud Missiles? Well, considering their accuracy they do remind one of Hitler's V1s and V2s, with which Hitler wreaked far more destruction that Saddam ever did with his missiles. For one, Hitler's missiles were able to continually hit London, the enemy's capital, whereas Saddam was never able to even reach Tehran with his Scuds. Did you not read any of that in the NY Times's obituaries?

So much for Saddam's technology for which Hitler would have died for, according to Anonymous....

This is great entertainment, Anonymous... please write more.

C. P. Coleta said...


You are quite the humanitarian! So we shouldn't judge Saddam by what he did (which you stipulate), but by what he was capable of doing from 2003 forward. Is it me, or does that not make you (at least sound like) a Saddamophile. I think you loved Saddam. Who would run a system (criminal justice, finance, diplomacy) based on an optimistic prospectus when the past is so clearly detailed, documented and serves as a possible road-map to what we should ACTUALLY expect.

But it's okay, 'cause you loved and admire Saddam. I'm sure the Klan, Neo-Nazis, Nation of Islam, and all other reactionary groups, can make good on the human experience if we let them in the saddle just a liiiiiiitle bit longer.

Enjoy your 9/11, you capitulating masochist.

Anonymous said...


I am “Anonymous” of Sept. 9, 8:10 AM, and that was my only post so far. I assume you are unaware that the designation “Anonymous” can be invoked by more than one person; I assume so because you seem convinced that all anonymous posts are courtesy a kind of hybrid-person who somehow is both for and against the Iraq War. Anyway, I’ll leave that for now and address only the criticisms you had in response to my post (mostly that I was deviating from point). And perhaps you type faster than you think and read faster than you comprehend, but you might retrospectively notice that my post was directly addressing the points you made in yours. Please allow me to compare more simply:

“At no time he caused to his own people (sic) the NUMBER OF CASUALTIES and suffering that Bush's War has. THAT IS A FACT no matter how many gassed Kurds or other Saddam victims you bring into the argument.” – Tiglath (Emphasis mine)

I argued that this was not a fact, and actually provided an argument more demonstrative than your ridiculous, apparently a priori, opinion-presented-as-fact. One may sum up my argument as “Saddam, by the most conservative estimates has caused, to his own people, a higher number of casualties than has Bush’s war. To say otherwise is not a fact.” You responded with,

“During 23 years in power Saddam surely killed hundreds of thousands of people, but that is also irrelevant to this discussion.” - Tiglath

to which it presumably slipped your mind to add “unless I’m discussing it.” And that sickening hundred of thousands dead is even discounting the wars Hussein started (a luxury you can’t extend to Bush without nearly negating your argument). Speaking of...

"Saddam,Chris doesn't seem to know, we pushed out of Kuwait with the little finger of the left hand. He never won a battle, had no air force, and AT NO TIME POSED ANY THREAT TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THOSE IN HIS JURISDICTION." – Tiglath (Emphasis mine again)

I argued that at one time he posed a massive threat to Iran, and at another, to Kuwait. To which you responded:

“On the issue of whether it was wise to leave Saddam in power in 2003, he discusses the Iran-Iraq war of two decades prior for apparently no other reason than his tendency to ramble on. Pay attention, Neocon. We are discussing 2003, not 1980.” - Tiglath

I’m sorry; I suppose I must have wrongly taken your use of “at no time,” to mean “never,” when you so transparently meant it to refer to “2003, the specific year.” If you did mean that, then you should be careful about how haphazardly you throw around negators (see first three words of the first Tiglath quote above). I suppose I should also learn that I am discussing whatever issue you wish me to be (in this case, the 2003 invasion of Iraq), as opposed to the issue I specifically introduced by quoting you, which was not the Iraq Invasion.

Anonymous said...

@ Tiglath (con't)

By the way, I used the obituary from the New York Times not as a citation source (which would have been patently obvious to anyone with their faculties about them), but as a succinct and eloquent conclusory description of what is already known from hundreds of thousands of accounts and records. All of the things claimed in that obituary are accurate, and can be substantiated via first-hand accounts, physical evidence and the most basic research (the latter of which you have clearly neglected). I noticed your lack, by the way, of validation for your previous false and idiotic claim that the Iraqis had “no air force,” in the first Gulf War. God forbid you be wrong about something, best to leave it in limbo instead. (Don’t bother, by the way, arguing the point retroactively by saying that you meant it as a superlative in comparison to the U.S. air force. You didn’t say so, and besides you put it in such a context as to imply that the Iraqi Air Force was especially deficient in general, when in ACTUAL fact, it was one of the strongest subordinates of the Iraqi military and one of the most populous air forces in the region.)

I presented NO what if scenario of my own. Not about Assad, nor Uganda, nor indeed, Iraq, so feel free to direct your criticism elsewhere. Neither did I use the senseless “lesser evil” designation as you have done twice now. Further, I did not attack your “what if” scenario as necessarily incorrect. I didn’t even point out that it is only one of countless possibilities and as such, you should know better than to present it or believe it as certain, though I will point that out now. It’s irritating that you continue to make the case that your particular version of alternative history should be, without doubt, perfectly acceptable as fact. That seems fairly unproven. Are you omniscient? If so, I apologise.

As for “invective,” I have not yet used any such thing in my posts, and anyway your constant beating away at that straw man is, quite frankly, pathetic. 2+2=4 no matter how many times one uses the word “fuck.” Either the idea that an argument is made less relevant by profaneness or that an arguer is more erudite if they don’t use bad language is completely illogical. If I WERE a person more prone to employ invective, I would say that the person who believes in such a logical fallacy must be a fucking twit.

And incidentally, I was quite polite in my previous posting, but since you (that person with such enviable manners) have chosen to collectively and blatantly insult this seven-headed “Anonymous” hydra (clearly comprised of SEVERAL different people), I respond to you in kind. I also do so, I confess, because your smugness has long passed the point of excruciating.

Your knowledge of Iraq’s modern history as well as your ability to research and confirm it seems not much better than your reading comprehension. You use patronizing stereotypes of “plebeians” (you must be a patrician, then? And how smart they always are!) and “neocons” to assert your superiority, in lieu of any evidence that is not steeped in your own personal opinion and your thin-air conjuration of increasingly spurious ‘facts.’ All in all, you have the qualities of a bumptious, miserable pedant whose responses are neither as witty nor as clever as you seem to think they are.

On a side note, now that I’m being contentious towards the overly smug, this appears to be a fairly accurate description of Dawson also. One need only imagine it more stupid and with, as others have mentioned, an astounding persistence in the unrivalled (even by Tiglath) inability to understand short articles.

Whether Saddam is more brutal or less brutal than hitler was is beside the point. Whether Saddam's military capability was at level x or 3 times level x is also an irrelevant question. If Saddam killed more people than the US invasion it does not matter. Whether the US has killed a higher number of people than the number of casualties under Saddam is again immaterial. Below you will find reasons why the above statements are true.

1. There is much which contends that Saddam's threat was nebulous but even if he indeed was a true threat, a coherent resolution to Iraq could not have been achieved under Bush because everyone on his staff were either childish stubborn neocons (go in without thinking) or whackado paleocon nutjobs with their heads in the sand. Consequently, most of the key decisions made in Iraq directly sabotaged stability, law and order.

2. As Hitchens often points out in a rather begrudging fashion, it was in fact the Clinton administration who wanted to do something about Iraq with the incoming Bush jr. administration initially in opposition. There's no doubt that under the Clinton administration less mistakes would have been made (and you can bitch about the Sudan bombing as long as you fucking want!). But whether it be under Clinton or Bush, going back into Iraq always looked a lot like Kosovo. In other words, it's too late if you wait until all the people are killed.

3. Colossal strategic errors (disbanding trained Iraqi soldiers, lack of decentralized coordination in policing strategy ie how each patrol unit and area should be structured so that it corresponds with the natural and human boundaries/urban sprawl/resource needs of its own area as well as each corresponding area where corresponding equals how to distribute resources among patrol areas so that who has what can get that particular "what" to whomever needs it as fast as possible, no thought given to scarcity of resources, failure to heed warnings of ethno-sectarian conflict, failure to train for the inevitable urban warfare nature that the conflict would take on in later years, deliberately delaying the surge and then taking credit for it

4. Violation of civilian controlled military and volunteer army principle through indefinite tours of duty, violation of civil liberties, illegal searching, wiretapping, waterboarding, etc.

5. A failure to grasp the ironic (sometimes the best solution isn't the simplest one) and a complete inability to acknowledge past mistakes. Note: remember Einstein's definition of insanity.

to be continued...

Michael Dawson said...

Anon, you must not have read Chomsky quite as closely as you think. If you had, you'd know his points about removing Saddam:

1. Criminals don't get to police their own disdeeds. (A point you'd surely see if you also understood Chomsky point about double-standards: Would you let the USSR decide what to do with Afghanistan or Romania circa 1988?)

2. The United Nations is the proper forum for international policing/military action. The USA did not obtain authorization to remove Saddam, even though it tried hard to do so. It then invaded anyway.

3. The proper US move, if our elite cared a whit about what you think it cares about, would be a regional ME peace conference at which Israel would be brought into control and WMD would be banned from the region. The USA is utterly opposed to that idea.

4. What happens in Iraq, as in any country, is first and foremost the business of Iraqis.

5. How in the world to you sustain the fantasy that Saddam was an imminent threat to anybody outside Iraq? That was a lie.

Michael Dawson said...

Nice racism, Coleta. Hitch's new supporters are flashing their true colors here.

continuing after point 5 (see original post above by civil libertarian)

6. When one considers the fact that Saddam did not even get what he wanted from Kim Jong Ill in '01 or '03, the argument to take down Saddam exhibits a more ethical "shape" if you will; as opposed to purely pragmatic argument.

7. The notion that Kerry, with all his military experience, would not be able to broker a workable solution in Iraq because he made a few attempts to cater to the far left, shows an ignorance of political history, Kerry's personal history, and seems the kind of intellectual error that ones such as Christopher Hitchens or Oliver Kamm would not usually make. What Hitchens and Kamm did was very disingenuous because they knew that Kerry was not a tool of the far left (he opposed gay marriage!) yet they pretended that we would have no way of knowing whether he was or was not such a person. This kind of fraud isn't all that high above the swift boat veterans.

8. Somehow when Iraq was invaded the taliban returned to Afghanistan. Go figure.

9. When one considers the fact that Kanan Makiya said the war death toll was "very close to Saddam" in 2008, consider if we haven't surpassed Hussein in sheer numbers from then until now. (note: Kanan Makiya is an Iraqi dissident and as much a victim of Saddam's cruelty as anyone. How deliciously ironic that bitchens touted him as a "brother in arms" for the great cause of chickenhawking.

I don't happen to be a student of Edward Said so I'm not tainted by this "left disease" which has become epidemic according to Harris and Hitchens. I don't think palestine or Hamas is/are a legitimate party. I don't think what's going on can be chalked up to racist white men who don't "appreciate" Islam. I'm not one who thinks its time for islamosocialist revolution, the dismantling of the white power structure, and riots/assaults/unwelcome political reform visited upon those who don't have what the far left considers to be the right desires and interests.

And I don't have any qualms about the fact that people who espouse such things have an undue influence over the labor movement, our universities and possibly even the young in general. At the same time, I have no qualms about saying that Israel does not have the right to establish its own country in a place against the will of citizens there. I do not believe the American imperial project (or at the very least this latest version of it) has been a success. Though I tend to be of a left leaning war-skeptic mindset in general I would have and would still like to see a positive result in the middle east. Though I am a war skeptic I also distrust the left/right isolationists. Though the intervention in Libya was far from perfect, people should bear the above facts in mind when passionately considering to oust Obama in favor of Rick Perry or Michele Bachman.

Regardless of what higher ethical position one might take concerning war in general, the fact remains that if Saddam had been taken out under Clinton's watch, whatever debates we would be having about Iraq would be largely academic. Think, it's still legal!!!

Tiglath said...

C. P. Coleta said: "So we shouldn't judge Saddam by what he did (which you stipulate), but by what he was capable of doing from 2003 forward. Is it me [...]"

Yes, it is you. You can't read English to save your life, where are you from Kazakhstan?

I said that to judge not Saddam, twit, but the wisdom of removing Saddam from power in 2003 the Bush way, we have to look at what would have been worse (a) leaving him in power, of (b) going into Iraq like bulls in a china shop, as Bush did. What part of that simple proposition do you find so hard to understand?

Your posts are a fest of incomprehension and now I see why; you comprehend little of what you read and blame the writer for what you think you read.


I expected to find better rhetorical opponents in a Hitchens page; this is appalling; between this guy, Chris, and Anonymous we have the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight. It's good comedy but a disservice to Daily Hitchens.

Tiglath said...

| I assume you are unaware that the designation
| “Anonymous”'

I don't care if you are a comitte of just a guy, I respond to arguments, and when I see insults return fire as warranted. If you want to be identified better use a name.

| '“At no time he caused to his own people (sic) the NUMBER
| OF CASUALTIES and suffering that Bush's War has.

The War the Bush Started is still causing casualties, for one. It is still not clear to you that my argument refers to the proposition of whether it was wise to remove Saddam from power the way Bush did it. That is the CONTEXT. It means that the TIME is 2003 and the short years prior. I started my phrase with "at no time" meaning that period. It is disingenuous to interpret that to mean all casualties in his 23 years in power. If he was to be punished for that why did a Republican president leave him in power after the Gulf War?

Feel free to ignore the context so that we can distance our views even more.

| He never won a battle,
| had no air force, and AT NO TIME POSED ANY THREAT TO ANYONE
| OTHER THAN THOSE IN HIS JURISDICTION." – Tiglath (Emphasis mine again)

All well in the context, you keep ignoring. He had no air force in
2003. He lost it in the Gulf War. And he posed no longer a threat to
anyone but his own people at that time. It's funny how you want to count
as Saddam's victims the soldiers killed by Iran, in a war WE supported Saddam. Pretzel logic.

| I’m sorry; I suppose I must have wrongly taken your use of “at no time,” > | to mean “never,” when you so transparently meant it to refer to “2003, the | specific year.”

It's beginning to sink in, at long last. Yes. It's 2003 and discussing the Iran-Iraq war doesn't come into it.

| I used the obituary from the New York Times not
| as a citation source (which would have been patently
| obvious to anyone with their faculties about them), but
| as a succinct and eloquent conclusory description

A distinction without difference. A citation of that sort IS a "conclusory description", or at least intende to be one, and viceversa.

There is no shortage of historians to quote. If you look for objective reporting in obituaries then... no wonder...

| All of the things claimed
| in that obituary are accurate, and can be substantiated
| via first-hand accounts, physical evidence and the
| most basic research

Come on already. There is nothing more opaque that the crimes of a dictator with all the power to muddle the facts. To express such certainty reveals a very poor understanding of history.

| I noticed your lack, by the way, of validation for your
| previous false and idiotic claim that the Iraqis had
| “no air force,” in the first Gulf War.

I never said that. Run, don't walk to Lenscrafters.

Try to debate what I actually write, no what you think I write.

| As for “invective,” I have not yet used any such
| thing in my posts, and anyway your constant beating
| away at that straw man is, quite frankly, pathetic.

I see "Anonymous" using plenty of invective. If you don't want to be confused with "Anonymous" use a fucking name and stop whining.

Tiglath said...

Anonymous said: "Also, your conviction that the U.S. should have waited for Arab Spring (that thing it didn't know would happen) is yet another example of the pitfalls of what-ifism."

Let me first remind myself that you are the guy who posts using a name used by several other people, knowingly, and then bristles at misattributions.

How can you possibly know that I am attributing anything to you or to a some other 'Anonymous,' unless I precede my comment with your words? which I do only in the beginning of the post?

Man, oh man!

I never said that the U.S. should have waited for the Arab Spring. Stop putting words into my mouth, You need not add dishonesty to your already too many manifest vices.

What I said quite clearly is that the Arab Spring confirms what clear-thinking people knew all along. And which I, and many others, have been claiming since Bush fired the first shot in Iraq. That pushing democracy on a people who aren't mature and hungry for it, is like casting pearls to the swine. It won't take. Maliki's government is rotten to the core, uses torture, and it's Saddam light under the cloak of democracy. And with him we've lost all the counterweight Saddam was to Iran.


That is the result of establishing democracy by compelling the objectors at bayonet point, and bribing the indifferent with pallets of cash.

The Arab Spring did not teach us that the best political changes come from within the people wanting a better system. The Arab Spring has illustrated it beautifully so that people like Hitchens can see that Bush's War was unnecessary. It has caused death and suffering to warrant saying that the cure has been as bad if not worse than the disease. And those who said that there had to be a better way now have a shining example in the Arab Spring. Yes, Iraq would not go easy like Egypt, but whatever the cost the point is that it would be a change desired by the Iraqi people, and as the Arab Spring shows us it makes all the difference.

Michael Dawson said...

"Somehow when Iraq was invaded the taliban returned to Afghanistan. Go figure."

ROFLMFAO x 100. The Taliban was in power when _Afghanistan_ was invaded, moron. Where do you think they all went? Saddam's bathroom?

Meanwhile, if you're "thinking" about the actual friends and sponsors of the Taliban, you might go back and take a look at Carter and Reagan.

Anonymous said...

Article about Chomsky-Hitchens controversy

And video:

Tiglath said...

Some data for those skeptics that Bush's War has not benefited Iran

Hitchens still has to address this contradiction of his.

He denounces Iran as a great peril and as the closest an apocalyptic regime is getting to get its hands on apocalyptic weapons, and yet at the same time he rejoices removing Saddam, which has boosted Irans power a great deal.

Is he coming or going?

Michael Dawson said...

Tiglath, Hitchens agrees with Bin Laden, and wants what Bin Laden wanted. He thinks it's a war between two cultures, and favors pursuing it in exactly those terms.

Hence, for Hitchens, there is no contradiction. Removing Hussein was merely the first step. Making war on Iran is next on the agenda. Hitchens interprets the entirely inevitable surge of Shia power in Iraq as merely another reason to attack Iran.

There was a Taliban upsurge when that conflict was neglected. Don't call people moron's unless you actually know what they're saying, MORON!!! ROTFLMFAO x 1000!!! It's especially ridiculous to criticize someone who actually agrees with you on some points; but its like a lot of people have already said. You're apologists for anyone who isn't a capitalist; just another mindless pacifist tool. What made me think I could have a discussion with an ounce of consensus when the great and all knowing dawson was on the other end; eviscerating anyone who doesn't tow his own deranged party line on every single point, mentally masturbating himself silly, needing a proctologist to find his head and a microscope to find his brain. A machine has yet to be invented which could accurately measure the size of his ego.

My point was that Hitchens, while certainly having a legitimate point with Saddam's crimes against humanity, still fails to address the ambiguity of Saddam's threat. Moreover, I don't think Hitchens was being intellectually honest when he acted as though Kerry couldn't/wouldn't handle the job of policing Iraq.

But instead of listening to and appreciating that point, inspector dawson decides to tear me a new one and make himself look like an idiot in the process. You must be so proud of yourself, D. I guess it's my fault. I should've known there would be trouble when I didn't write I LOVE MICHAEL MOORE 100 times.

PS I would absolutely love it if you could go back in a time machine, go to Iraq, learn things (that would be the most difficult part), and then tell me it wasn't a terrorist hang out. However, you are so utterly arrogant and delusional (see above statements concerning proctology) that you would probably attribute the loss of a limb during some crazy pro Saddam demonstration/riot to UN sanctions. Oh, no wait, you like the UN, right? After all, anyone whose willing to behave in a socially irresponsible way in order to discredit the US is a friend.

To paraphrase mission impossible, maybe Ban Ki-moon could get you a job "manning a radar tower in Alaska". Oh, no I forgot. You only like the UN when the members are bantering hateful rhetoric, hanging out with mullahs, and trying to bone the US. Sorry; but after all, who can keep track with you at this point, dawson? I think even some of your moveon friends might be at a loss here. Where's Cenk Booger from the young turks when you need him, huh? What a pity there isn't a hell for you to go to.

Michael Dawson said...

Well, CL, you're right about one thing: You've been eviscerated.

And it's quite rich to be taken to task for calling you a moron, when you call me:







socially irresponsible

Meanwhile, do you know the document known as the United States Constitution? Are you aware that it says treaties are the highest law of the land? The United Nations Charter, meanwhile, was not only largely written by Americans, but the United States is a signatory to it.

So who here hates America?

Saddam honored treaties? Forget about me, lets watch you eviscerate yourself







socially irresponsible

who started the insulting? Treaties mean nothing if they aren't enforced.


michael dawson said:

"So who here hates America?"

I think the real question is who started with the hurling of the insults. That was clearly you. I guess you're so convinced of your righteousness you just shrug your shoulders and say "Well, ha, guilty as charged. It is I, dawson, the moron hunter." The fact remains, that was you.

And I guess that wouldn't be such an important point that I make were it not for the fact that you didn't seriously engage me on any issue. Is anyone contending that the Taliban wasn't in power when Afghanistan was invade? No. So I don't see how you've gotten me on anything there.

Now we get it. You are so committed to the overthrow of the capitalist death cult that there's no way that anything significant (of a positive nature) has been achieved in Iraq. Furthermore, my assertion that Kerry administration could've gotten the job done with less headache, is, in your mind, not worth considering. I guess you by in to the hard right/hard left rhetoric that he was a spineless flip flopper. Did you want to discuss points I made about WMD? About death tolls? About liberties and civilian control of the military? Or anything else? No, no, no and no. You're comfort zone is left wing talking points and name calling. It comes as even less of a surprise that you don't want to face the disgusting things preached on the left concerning Bush, the US, history and so many other things. That's coming from someone who doesn't think he should've been re-elected.

But I'm sure that the ridiculous sophomoric readings of history and global politics which is taught to our young people is really just a right-wing fantasy that doesn't actually happen. Perpetuated by right wing assholes such as myself, who voted for John Kerry.

Equally fantastic are the reports of brutal life under Islam and how such cruelty has now infiltrated the western world via the decriminalization of barbarism in the name of "Tolerating the intolerant". This whole discussion has become incomprehensible. If I'm not getting hammered by some right wing idiot claiming "Bush was the only way to go" or "there's no way you could be for iraq and for Kerry", then I'm getting it from dawson, who claims that because I don't share his views on the issue of imperial capitalism vs. islam that I am therefore too stupid to participate. Meanwhile intelligent folks such as himself don't have to engage in issues. They can just boorishly type 3 or 4 lines of unfounded factually suspect talking points. How's that for the audacity of hope? Is that change you can believe in dawson? Oh, no wait, I'm sure you're one of those liberals who wants to have it both ways; pretending they didn't cheer on Obama.

No, you just criticized Bush and acted like Obama would be so much better and then when things didn't go the way you wanted (this part is ironic because it reads just like the left narrative against conservatives), then you claimed you knew it was a sham and had been against Obama all along. Pretty much right out of the Chomsky handbook. He was, of course another one of the gifted ones who could see the truth because he was so intellectually evolved. I've had just about enough of this. Oh, and by the way, treaties don't really mean anything when you only expect the US to honor them okay? No matter what the spoiled younger child does the parent always blames the older sibling. "Well, I expect you to know better" and the like. Well, Dawson, you're not America's parent. So why don't you whinge on like a mother hen about ethics to some of these other countries? I'm sure they'd appreciate your candor.

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Christopher reads from Hitch-22: A Memoir