Hitchens Part II

At Michael Totten’s Hitchens is back.

On Iran:

I would say, as I did with Saddam Hussein—albeit belatedly, I tried to avoid this conclusion—that any fight you’re going to have eventually, have now. Don’t wait until they’re more equally matched. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

The existence of theocratic regimes that have illegally acquired weapons of mass destruction, that are war with their own people, that are exporting their violence to neighboring countries, sending death squads as far away as Argentina to kill other people as well as dissident members of their own nationality—the existence of such regimes is incompatible with us. If there is going to be a confrontation, we should pick the time, not them.

We’re saying, “Let’s give them time to get ready. Then we’ll be more justified in hitting them.” That’s honestly what they’re saying. When we have total proof, when we can see them coming for us, we’ll feel okay about resisting.
Unless an Obama Administration person can say to me, “No, the confrontation can be avoided, there isn’t really a casus belli here,” unless they could persuade me of that, I’d say that once we’ve decided this, the fight should be on our terms. We should not allow them to get stronger and acquire more of the sinews of warfare.

They’ll say I’m asking for war, but I’ll say no. I’m not. I’m recognizing that someone is looking for war. We should be firm enough to say “Alright.” We didn’t look for it. We’ve tried everything short of war for a long time. Everything. We went to the International Atomic Energy Authority and found them cheating everywhere. Their signature on the Nonproliferation Treaty is worthless. We have the names of members of the Iranian government who are wanted for sending assassins to Europe and Argentina. We know what they’ve been doing to subvert Lebanon, to make trouble in Iraq.

On Marx:

Karl Marx’s best writing is on America. He said it was the great new country for worker’s equality. There was free land for the peasants. It was republican, not monarchical, and it was anti-imperialist. If you look at Henry Adams’ memoirs, when his father was at the embassy in London, the Times of London was in favor of the Confederacy. Gladstone helped the Confederacy build a navy. Karl Marx, meanwhile, said Lincoln is our man. The United States is our future. That’s not what they teach you in school about Marx.
For Marxists, Russia was the heart of darkness.

On Obama:

There’s something everyone has forgotten, and Obama has never tried to remind them. He doesn’t get credit because he’s never asked for it. Do you remember when the American crew was taken by the pirates off the coast of Somalia? It’s the same country of origin of the axe-wielding maniac who just tried to murder Kurt Westergaard in Denmark.

Someone went to the Oval Office and said, “Mr. President, you have three choices. We can have a standoff with the Somali government, we can negotiate with the pirates, or you can order the Navy SEALs to fire four shots.”

I wouldn’t like to be a newly elected president and have that dumped on my desk. He must have said, however long it took him, “Use the SEALs.”

But that’s not what impresses me. The point I’m making is not the one you thought I was going to make. What impresses me is that he didn’t give a speech later about it. If Reagan had done that, everyone would remember it. There would be hubris. “They can run, but they can’t hide.”