Tuesday, July 24, 2007



As Chris Brooke says, this is quite a good piece. I particularly liked:

There is a more resonant parallel between Thomas Paine and the pro-war left that Hitchens mentions only briefly. For a brief period, Paine supported Napoleon and his acts of aggression, believing they were expressions of revolutionary Enlightenment values when, in reality, they were squalid expressions of realpolitik. Hitchens notes wistfully that Paine "had fallen victim to a gigantic counter-revolution in revolutionary guise, which had succeeded in entrenching rather than undermining his original foes."

It is a moment of horrible clarity....
the only extended passage in which he engages with the disaster in Iraq is where he blames it, bizarrely, on the left: "The liberals gave aid and comfort [the definition of treason in the US Constitution] to the Islamists and the Baathists. The 'insurgents' were able to use the liberals' slogans - 'It's all about oil!' 'It's illegal!' - and to taunt their opponents with the indisputauble fact that even their supposed liberal allies in New York, London, Berlin and Paris didn't support them."

Cohen seems, by the time he writes passages like this, to have lost touch with reality....

Indeed. I wonder, on the other hand, whether Norm would so readily describe himself as having "recant[ed]"?

*Well, OK, not really, since I believe Hari has long since recanted and handed in his pro-war left badge and pistol, and he doesn't go much into his own history in the article, but that's the general background.

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