If I were Christopher Hitchens, I’d be proud of the insult hurled by his ex-comrade, Tariq Ali. To be called a “vile replica” by that fading king of the barricades is proof that Hitchens is on the side of the angels. In an on-line interview with the Atlantic (subscriber-only) he strikes a defiant note on Iraq, Afghanistan and Bush, and I suspect he won’t win too many awards from the ACLU either:

The antiwar left made a huge thing about saying that Bush ignored too many warnings before September 11. But from the way they've reacted since, one would presume that they would have protested if he had taken the steps necessary to forestall the problem. I think what everyone ought to do at the basic minimum here is admit that there are contradictions in their position.

I recently wrote a review in The New York Times of professor Geoffrey Stone's
book, Perilous Times, about free speech in wartime. His book shows, among other things, that a lot of the liberal panic is just that, because wartime incursions
into free speech never last very long. Very often they are repealed in such a
way that one has more freedoms than one had before, not less. There hasn't been
a speech prosecution in a time of war in the U.S. for a very long time now, and
not one since September 11. The precedents that were established in the sixties
with the antiwar movement would be very, very hard to overturn. The presumption now is that you can say whatever you like in wartime. That was not the case at all, for example, in the thirties.

As for the appeasenik wing of the Democrats, you can almost hear his weary sighs:

I was quite shocked by the number of people in mainstream Democratic politics who said to me, "I don't mind what happens in Iraq so long as Bush is defeated" without any ambivalence. I find that very objectionable. I spend a good deal of
my life at the moment fighting that mentality. It's very common here—it's
extremely common in Europe.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/on-form-again-if-i-were-christopher.html|||1/21/2005 04:24:00 pm|||||||||