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Christopher Hitchens on Amnesty International

 
 
rayban1
 
Reply Tue 14 Jun, 2005 05:55 pm
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 554 • Replies: 3
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goodfielder
 
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Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 06:00 am
I saw Hitchens' name and STILL read the post. I have to stop that.
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rayban1
 
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Reply Thu 16 Jun, 2005 09:02 am
goodfielder wrote:
I saw Hitchens' name and STILL read the post. I have to stop that.


Aww...GF.....don't you enjoy reading my favorite liberal intellectual who has been mugged by reality:

Background

Hitchens' earliest political convictions were very left-wing. He became a Trotskyist during his years at Balliol College, Oxford and was tutored by Steven Lukes. He wrote for the magazine International Socialism, whose publishers (the International Socialists) went on to be the nucleus of the British Socialist Workers Party. This group had a broad allegiance to Trotskyism but differed with more orthodox groups in refusing to defend Stalinist states as "workers' states". This was symbolized in their slogan "Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism".
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Islamic fascism and neoconservatism

Hitchens was deeply shocked by the fatwa (2/14/1989) against his longtime friend Salman Rushdie and he became increasingly concerned by the dangers of what he called theocratic fascism or fascism with an Islamic face: radical Islamists who supported the fatwa against Rushdie and seemed to desire the recreation of the medieval Caliphate. Hitchens is sometimes credited with coining the term Islamofacism, a word which probably originated with either Khalid Duran or Stephen Schwartz (although political commentator Michael Savage claims he created the term). Hitchens did use the term Islamic Fascism for an article he wrote for the Nation shortly after 9/11.

The years after the Rushdie Fatwa also saw him looking for allies and friends, and in the USA he became increasingly frustrated by what he saw as the "excuse making" of the multiculturalist left. At the same time, he was attracted to the foreign policy ideas of some on the Republican right, and especially the neoconservative clique around Paul Wolfowitz, with whom he became friends. Around this time he also befriended the Iraqi businessman Ahmed Chalabi.
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Post-9/11

After 9/11 his stance hardened, and he has strongly supported US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hitchens had been a longterm contributor to the left-wing The Nation weekly, where he wrote his famous Minority Report column. After 9/11 he decided the paper was a mouthpiece for the kind of excuse-making on behalf of Islamic terror he was now arguing against, so in the following months he wrote articles increasingly at odds with his colleagues.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Hitchens and Noam Chomsky debated the nature of the threat of radical Islam and of the proper response to it. On September 24 and October 8, 2001, Hitchens wrote criticisms of Chomsky in The Nation. [1] (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20011008&s=hitchens20010924)[2] (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20011022&s=hitchens) Chomsky responded. [3] (http://www.zmag.org/chomskyhitchens.htm) Hitchens responded in rebuttal to Chomsky. [4] (http://humanities.psydeshow.org/political/hitchens-3.htm) Approximately a year after the 9/11 attacks and his exchanges with Chomsky, Hitchens left The Nation in part because he believed its editors, its readers, and persons such as Chomsky considered John Ashcroft a bigger threat than Osama bin Laden.[5] (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20021014&s=hitchens) This was one of the most highly-charged exchange of letters in American journalism, involving Hitchens and Chomsky, as well as Norman G. Finkelstein and Alexander Cockburn.
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Where he stands now

Hitchens has said he no longer feels a part of the Left and does not object to being called a former Trotskyist. His affection for Trotsky is still strong, and he still says that his political and historical view of the world is shaped by Marxist categories. In June, 2004, Hitchens wrote a blistering attack on Michael Moore in a review of Moore's latest film, Fahrenheit 9/11, so much so that three major publications offered rebuttals to Hitchens' review.

Despite his many articles supporting the US invasion of Iraq, Hitchens made a brief return to The Nation just before the US presidential election and wrote that he was "slightly" for Bush, but shortly afterwards when Slate polled its staff on their positions on the candidates, Hitchens shifted his opinion to neutral, saying: :"It's absurd for liberals to talk as if Kristallnacht is impending with Bush, and it's unwise and indecent for Republicans to equate Kerry with capitulation. There's no one to whom he can surrender, is there? I think that the nature of the jihadist enemy will decide things in the end."[6] (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041108&s=hitchens).
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Jun, 2005 07:51 pm
Thanks rayban - that was very informative.
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