On September 11, 2006, Christopher Hitchens uses nearly 1200 words and his primo column space on Slate to expose a canard. His conclusion: by putting a 5 year old Ari Fleischer quote into context, he’s won the debate, and put to rest the grotesque claim that the Bush Administration has used the politics of fear to achieve its policy ends. You know, things like starting the Iraq War.
The absurdity of Hitchens’ argument and summation really do defy comment in the face of a speech just last week where Bush invoked the bogyman himself—Osama bin Laden—17 times. It’s so absurd that it leaves Hitchens’ true motives for wasting space bear.
It would appear that Hitchens simply couldn’t contain his glee at identifying an inaccuracy in the opposition’s argument. Quickly, and no matter the day, he manufactured a thin justification for applying to yet another of his peer’s enemies lists. Take that Frank Rich of the New York Times.
My problem with Hitchens is he’s supposed to be a reflection of the dialogue of this country. But like so many, it appears that he has run out of insight, and is instead resorting to pot shots at prominent, but equally bereft colleagues, in a lame attempt to sustain his own relevance.
Today is tailor made for brave, progressive and even controversial ideas. It’s also a good day to come to terms with one’s own mistakes and errors in judgment. Unfortunately, Hitchens’ ego stroking is no doubt emblematic of the bulk of what’s enjoying prominent publication today. And therein is a commentary sad enough for September 11, 2006.