Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Hitch: a neo-neo-conservative? 

Not so long ago I wrote about neo-neo-conservatives, the next generations of leftists and liberals mugged by reality, for whom S11 was a rude wake up and who have since then supported the war on terror and the war in Iraq, finding themselves shoulder to shoulder with their former enemies on the right.

One of the names I mentioned was Chris Hitchens, the former enfant terrible of international socialism and a Trotskyite superstar, and now one of the loudest voices in the fight against Islamofascism. I don't know if Chris will ever officially find a new home on the right, but this
recent interview offers a very good glimpse into his mind and soul; all the better since it has been conducted by a leftie journalist friend who can't help still liking Hitch but despairs at the fact that Hitch's new stance is helping those, ugh, ugly right-wingers. A few choice quotes - on the "root causes" of terrorism:

"Some people on the left tried to understand the origins of al-Quaeda as really being about inequalities in wealth, or Israel's brutality towards the Palestinians, or other legitimate grievances. 'Look: inequalities in wealth had nothing to do with Beslan or Bali or Madrid,' Hitchens says. 'The case for redistributing wealth is either good or it isn't - I think it is - but it's a different argument. If you care about wealth distribution, please understand, the Taliban and the al Quaeda murderers have less to say on this than even the most cold-hearted person on Wall Street. These jihadists actually prefer people to live in utter, dire poverty because they say it is purifying. Nor is it anti-imperialist: they explicitly want to recreate the lost Caliphate, which was an Empire itself.'

He continues, 'I just reject the whole mentality that says, we need to consider this phenomenon in light of current grievances. It's an insult to the people who care about the real grievances of the Palestinians and the Chechens and all the others. It's not just the wrong interpretation of those causes; it's their negation.' And this goes for the grievances of the Palestinians, who he has dedicated a great deal of energy to documenting and supporting. 'Does anybody really think that if every Jew was driven from Palestine, these guys would go back to their caves? Nobody is blowing themselves up for a two-state solution. They openly say, "We want a Jew-free Palestine, and a Christian-free Palestine." And that would very quickly become, "Don't be a Shia Muslim around here, baby."' He supports a two-state solution - but he doesn't think it will solve the jihadist problem at all."
And on neo-conservatives:

"He explains by talking about the origins of his relationship with the neconservatives in Washington. 'I first became interested in the neocons during the war in Bosnia-Herzgovinia. That war in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists'...

" 'That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act.' He continues, 'Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested'."
Read the whole thing (hat tip: Jeremy Chrysler).

Update: Speaking of neo-cons and Jeremy Chrysler, he would like to refer you to a quiz, so you can find out if you are a dreaded neo-con or not. Sadly, according to the test, I'm not, so I can't vouch for its accuracy.


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