Guest Column, Christopher Snitchens

Stop Accusing Me of Intellectual Dishonesty
Christopher Snitchens

March 30, 2004

Christopher Snitchens takes to task the anti-war Left for its short-sighted demands for scholarly and political consistency.

More than a decade ago now, with the no-fly zones firmly in place over northern and southern Iraq, and with the Iraqi Kurds in the north finally beginning to carve out, after many years of brutal oppression, some degree of autonomy, I found myself, thanks to a few embassy friends who will remain unnamed, in an airy sublet in the Village, not far from Lower Manahattan, which, though not war-torn, ought to have been.

Flashing forward. The anti-war Left, unencumbered by memories of the horror of 9-11 (“9 what?” several former colleagues of the Left have asked me on more than one occasion), and apparently unconcerned that the Ivory Tower would, if the Islamofascists had their say, go the way of its twin counterparts, is content to contend that Saddam Hussein never actually met with Osama bin Laden or his henchmen, despite the fact that everyone who believes such meetings took place says firmly that such meetings took place. This is pure cowardice, a failure to make assertions in the face of a mounting threat. “How do you know it is mounting?” such so-called progressives ask. The answer is obvious: how could one not know when confronted with so much confidence that it is so?

The rapport between these first two paragraphs is, I hope, clear. Though I didn’t feel the shockwaves of the first Trade Center bombings on that crisp day in 1993, I know in retrospect that I must have felt them, unlike those Leftists who have no discernible feelings, and who would have been quite happy to allow Saddam Hussein to continue to brutalize his own people. Indeed, it was on that fateful day, eight years before the same miscreants accomplished their fanatical goal, sometime between high tea and happy hour, that I began to realize that unreconstructed Trotskyism was an ideology insufficient to the gathering threat posed by the medieval-minded populations of the world and their festering anger at the success of the West.

I should point out, since it is fashionable for the anti-war set to hurl unthinking accusations of racism and neo-imperialism at any who sit in disagreement, that such medieval mentalities are not confined solely to the Islamic world, though they have there reached, perhaps, their apogee. Indeed, religious sentiment, regardless its source, breeds backward-looking thought, and so it must be done away with, except in the United Kingdom and the United States, where monotheism has given moral backbone to the two principle architects of our necessary war against barbarism - Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair.

Of course, the Left will read in these statements about religion a “root cause,” and will go on and on about Muslim anger and the conditions of poverty in Islamic nations, though they know as well as I that all through Europe’s Dark Ages Islam kept alive the light of learning. For centuries, quite literally, while European Christians hacked each other to death, lost their literacy, lost medicine, lost architecture, lost art, the great Islamic civilizations of Northern Africa and the Middle East preserved Classical learning through the Arabic language. Were it not for the Islamic universities of Spain and Persia, the Renaissance and indeed the Enlightenment would never have occurred, and I would have had nothing to rebel against during that not so distant time when I believed neo-Marxian thought to be the necessary antidote to colonialism. Since past is prelude, there is no excuse for the failure of Islam to embrace once again the light of learning, science, and democracy. One might contend - believably, I believe - that only Saddam Hussein had been their downfall. I may be accused of exaggeration. Very well, I stand accused. But I am accused by the supposed humanitarians that lacked the uprightness to destroy a nation in order to save it. Now that Hussein has been deposed and the marshes of Southern Iraq re-flooded, there is no reason to suppose that the Muslim world cannot once again flower with learning and democracy, as it did under the caliphates, minus the democracy.

Lest we forget, George W. Bush had given Saddam an ultimatum, thinking perhaps of Dr. Johnson’s famous words: “Let him go abroad to a distant country; let him go to some place where he is not known. Don’t let him go to the devil, where he is known.” I for one am happy that this devil has been dispatched. That is morality - that it is a good thing is clear as day.

Christopher Snitchens is not related to columnist and raconteur Christopher Hitchens. No, not in any way, shape or form. Not related. To Christopher Hitchens

Stolen from


From AP

NORFOLK, Va. - As part of its faster response to requests from overseas, the Navy announced Tuesday it is sending five ships to the Middle East with a mission to disrupt terrorist operations at sea

Terrorist operations at Sea? now I have trouble imagining what they could be, but I suppose they could be small boat suicide operations, or perhaps smuggling. So assuming that is true you would be looking for something fast, with perhaps a good Aircraft platform.

Leaving Wednesday are the USS Saipan, an amphibious assault ship, the USS Nashville, an amphibious transport ship, the frigate USS Nicholas and the cruiser USS Philippine Sea. The Saipan, Nashville and Nicholas are all based in Norfolk, while the Philippine Sea's home port is Mayport, Fla.

The USS Gunston Hall, an amphibious dock landing ship, is to leave June 1 from Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach.

Fitzgerald said the ships were ready to deploy, but acknowledged that the short notice created a hardship for the crews.

"Obviously this is hard on the sailors," he said, "but we're at war."

Now this may just be me being paranoid but these ships have one purpose, amphibious assault, they are not specialised for anything else, and as you already have carrier battle groups in place you do not need any extra aircraft capacity. So why deploy them to the Middle East on short notice unlesss you are looking for the ability to mount one of that sort of operation?

26th MEU AAV's disembark from the USS Gunston Hall

Thanks to N for her always invaluable help, why she does not set up her own blog I'll never know!


Pepe Escobar at Asia times takes a look at the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC)

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) - conceived by the US as the ultimate Western escape route from dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf - is finally in business.

This is what Pipelineistan is all about: a supreme law unto itself - untouchable by national sovereignty, serious environmental concerns (expressed both in the Caucasus and in Europe), labor legislation, protests against the World Bank, not to mention mountains 2,700 meters high and 1,500 small rivers. BTC took 10 years of hard work and at least US$4 billion - $3 billion of which is in bank loans. BTC is not merely a pipeline: it is a sovereign state.

BTC would be impossible without the usual, strategically positioned US-supported dictator - in this case old, ruthless Caucasus hand Heydar Aliyev, who died in December 2003. A dynastic dictatorship is even better, since his son Ilham became the successor in fraudulent elections in October 2003. It also helped that Ilham, a former playboy, happened to be the head of the state oil company, SOCAR. Azerbaijan was never about "liberty and democracy" or color-coded revolutions in the style of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Just last Saturday in Baku, Azeri police beat up and arrested more than 100 opposition protesters demanding "Freedom!" and "Free elections!" This is a regime that according to Transparency International ranks 140th out of 146 in the global corruption index. From Washington's point of view, the Aliyev dynasty in Azerbaijan performs the same role as Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan: they are "our" dictators.

Read the whole thing Here

The Glories of the Free market finally arrive in Iraq!

Just when you thought that Iraq was going downhill at hearwarming tale (Via Boing Boing)

The black market organ trade is apparently taking off in Baghdad. The Daily Telegraph reports that wealthy "tourists" from Arab countries are now visiting Iraq to score inexpensive kidneys and other organs for transplant. For example, a kidney can be had in Baghdad for thousands of dollars less than than the market price in Turkey or India. From the article:
Would-be buyers with an eye for a bargain can now pick up a new kidney for as little as $700, given the desperation of fit and healthy Iraqis for money.

Young men like Mr Hameed can be seen loitering around many big hospitals in Baghdad these days, open to bids passed on via networks of shadowy middlemen who lurk in nearby caf├ęs.

With unemployment in Iraq at about 60 per cent, the chance to earn money by touting body parts is a more calculated risk than, say, becoming a $150-a-month rookie policeman at the mercy of suicide attackers.

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