Friday, January 26, 2007

Christopher Hitchens reviews Nick Cohen's book :

“I wanted anything associated with Tony Blair to fail, because that would allow me to return to the easy life of attacking him.”

It is this sentence, and its implications, that make his book an exceptional and necessary one. Cohen has no problem with those who are upset about state-sponsored exaggerations of the causes of war, or furious about the bungled occupation of Iraq that has ensued. People who think this is the problem are not his problem. Here’s his problem: the people who would die before they would applaud the squaddies and grunts who removed hideous regimes from Afghanistan and Iraq, yet who happily describe Islamist video-butchers and suicide-murderers as a “resistance”. Those who do this are not “anti-war” at all, but are shadily taking the other side in a conflict where the moral and civilisational stakes are extremely high.

...It’s all here: from the pseudo-radicals who said there was nothing to choose between Nazi imperialism in Europe and British rule in India, through the supporters of the Hitler-Stalin pact, all the way to those who defended Slobodan Milosevic as a socialist and those who took, quite literally took, money from the bloody hands of Saddam Hussein. Just in the past decade or so, had this “anti-war” rabble had its way, we would have seen Kuwait stay part of Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo cleansed and annexed by “Greater” Serbia, and the Taliban retaining control of Afghanistan. You might think that such a record would lead its adherents to be dismissed as a silly and sinister fringe, but instead it is they who pose as the principled radicals and their opponents who are treated with unconcealed disdain in the universities and on the BBC.

Sidebar:

Funny. I remember a semi-jocular competition for inventing a hard hitting term by which to designate these "pseudo-radicals" Hitchens is talking about. Among the suggestions:

Indecent left, Far Left, Radical Left, Pretend Left, Pseudo-Left, and my favourite, the "Rococo Left".

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