Sometimes I Wonder...
What he writes about Libya is exactly what I think, but with far more clarity and background knowledge, of course. The man is a master at offering up a plethora of pithy statements:
U.S. lacks courage vs. Gadhafi
"Far from being brutalized by four decades of domination by a theatrical madman, the Libyan people appear fairly determined not to sink to his level and to be done with him and his horrible kin.[---]
They also seem, at the time of writing, to want this achievement to represent their own unaided effort. Admirable as this is, it doesn’t excuse us from responsibility."
"Doing nothing is not the absence of a policy; it is, in fact, the adoption of one.[---]
“Neutrality” favors the side with the biggest arsenal. “Nonintervention” is a form of interference."
"Libya is a country with barely 6 million inhabitants. By any computation, however cold and actuarial, the regime of its present dictator cannot possibly last very much longer. As a matter of pure realism, the post-Gadhafi epoch is upon us whether we choose to welcome the fact or not. The immediate task is therefore to limit the amount of damage Gadhafi can do and sharply minimize the number of people he can murder.Christopher Hitchens: If Saddam still ruled, there would be no Arab Spring
Whatever the character of the successor system turns out to be, it can hardly be worsened if we show it positive signs of friendship and solidarity. But the pilots of Gadhafi’s own air force, who flew their planes to Malta rather than let themselves be used against civilians, have demonstrated more courage and principle than the entire U.S. Sixth Fleet."
"The most heartening single image of the past month — eclipsing even the bravery and dignity of the civilian fighters against despotism in Syria and Libya — was the sight of Hoshyar Zebari arriving in Paris to call for strong action against the depraved regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Here was the foreign minister of Iraq, and the new head of the Arab League, helping to tilt the whole axis of local diplomacy against one-man rule. In May, Iraq will act as host to the Arab League summit, and it will be distinctly amusing and highly instructive to see which Arab leaders have the courage, or even the ability, to leave their own capitals and attend. The whole scene is especially gratifying for those of us who remember Zebari as the dedicated exile militant that he was 10 years ago, striving to defend his dispossessed people from the effects of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons."[---]
"I admit that Egyptian and Tunisian and other demonstrators did not take to the streets waving Iraqi flags, as if in emulation. (Though Saad-Eddin Ibrahim, intellectual godfather of the Egyptian democracy movement, did publicly hail the fall of Saddam as an inspiration, and many leaders of the early Lebanese “spring” spoke openly in similar terms.) This reticence is quite understandable since, apart from the northern Kurdish region of Iraq from which Foreign Minister Zebari hails, the liberation of the country was not entirely the work of its own people. But this point has become a more arguable one since the Arab League itself admitted that there are certain regimes that are impervious to unassisted overthrow from within. Gaddafi’s is pre-eminently one of these, and Saddam’s was notoriously so, as the repeated terror-bombings and gassings of the Shiite and Kurdish populations amply proved."[---]
"But even with his fangs drawn, Gaddafi remained a filthy nuisance. As The New York Times reported in a brilliant dispatch last week, he forced Western oil companies to pay the $1.5-billion fine levied on him for Lockerbie. He continued to deprive his people — just look at how poor and scruffy everybody is when seen on television — while squandering Libya’s immense wealth on personal prestige projects. His bloody interventions in Liberia and Darfur and Chad — where yet another civilian airliner was blown up, this time a French one — should long ago have earned him an indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Like Saddam Hussein, he has flagrantly and hysterically insisted on defining himself as the problem, the fons et origo of Libya’s misery and the region’s woes. Why, then, do we coyly insist on the pretence that we are targeting “his forces” but not him?"[---]
"Hoshyar Zebari happily cited as precedent the no-fly zone that for a long time protected northern and southern Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s helicopter gunships. But he knows perfectly well that the logic of this is inexorable. Every day, Saddam’s ground forces fired on those planes. Every day, the post-Kuwait ceasefire agreement became more frayed and breached. Every day, it became plainer that Iraq was the miserable hostage to the whims of a single tyrant.[---]
The immediate task now is to assimilate those lessons, shorten the time in which the knowledge gained can be applied, call the evil by its right name, and face Gaddafi with a stark choice between his own death and his appearance in the dock."
"When the Arab League meets in May, it should welcome a new Libyan provisional government on the soil of a free Iraq. Then we will have closed the circle — and vindicated all those brave people who fell in bringing down the first and worst bastion of the ancien regime."Yes, Brother Hitch! Yes!!
More good stuff from Hitch.
I'm afraid I'm on another side on this one, compared to some of my favourite bloggers. Glavin may be the only one with whom I'm in concert.
Maybe I'm still an old leftist at heart.
Oh, and Thank You George Bush!