Christopher Hitchens Is a Horrible Excuse for a Human Being [Dan Collins]
What a terrible man Christopher Hitchens is, to throw this in the face of the O! celebration:
But, on the last day of his presidency, I want to say why I still do not wish that Al Gore had beaten George W. Bush in 2000 or that John Kerry had emerged the victor in 2004.
In Oliver Stone’s not very good but surprisingly well-received film W., there is an unnoticed omission, or rather there is an event that does not occur on-screen. The crashing of two airliners into two large skyscrapers isn’t shown (and is only once and very indirectly referred to). This cannot be because it wouldn’t have been of any help in making Bush look bad; it’s pretty generally agreed that he acted erratically that day and made the worst speech of his presidency in the evening, and why would Stone miss the chance of restaging My Pet Goat?
The answer, I am reasonably certain, is that it is the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that explain the transformation of George Bush from a rather lazy small-government conservative into an interventionist, in almost every sense, politician. The unfortunate thing about this analysis, from the liberal point of view, is that it leaves such little room for speculation about his Oedipal relationship with his father, his thwarted revenge fantasies about Saddam Hussein, his dry-drunk alcoholism, and all the rest of it. (And, since Laura Bush in the film is even more desirable than the lovely first lady in person, we are left yet again to wonder how such a dolt was able to woo and to win such a honey.)
We are never invited to ask ourselves what would have happened if the Democrats had been in power that fall. But it might be worth speculating for a second. The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act, rushed through both Houses by Bill Clinton after the relative pin prick of the Oklahoma City bombing, was correctly described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the worst possible setback for the cause of citizens’ rights. Given that precedent and multiplying it for the sake of proportion, I think we can be pretty sure that wiretapping and water-boarding would have become household words, perhaps even more quickly than they did, and that we might even have heard a few more liberal defenses of the practice. I don’t know if Gore-Lieberman would have thought of using Guantanamo Bay, but that, of course, raises the interesting questionÃ¢â‚¬â€now to be faced by a new administrationÃ¢â‚¬â€of where exactly you do keep such actually or potentially dangerous customers, especially since you are not supposed to “rendition” them. There would have been a nasty prison somewhere or a lot of prisoners un-taken on the battlefield, you can depend on that.
We might have avoided the Iraq war, even though both Bill Clinton and Al Gore had repeatedly and publicly said that another and conclusive round with Saddam Hussein was, given his flagrant defiance of all the relevant U.N. resolutions, unavoidably in our future. And the inconvenient downside to avoiding the Iraq intervention is that a choke point of the world economy would still be controlled by a psychopathic crime family that kept a staff of WMD experts on hand and that paid for jihadist suicide bombers around the region. In his farewell interviews, President Bush hasn’t been able to find much to say for himself on this point, but I think it’s a certainty that historians will not conclude that the removal of Saddam Hussein was something that the international community ought to have postponed any further. (Indeed, if there is a disgrace, it is that previous administrations left the responsibility undischarged.)
Really? Well today’s a day for me to thank President Bush and his administration. And this will have to do. But if I ever meet the Man from Crawford or any of his family, I will let him know that I am one of those benighted few who thought that he was a good President. God bless and keep you, GWB.
Tomorrow belongs to Barack.