The Hitchens Zone

Articles by and about Christopher Hitchens

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Iraq: Worth the Price
-Washington Post -March 11, 2008
"It's not enough that the Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz begin their article in Sunday's Outlook section with an old cliché (from Milton Friedman, as it happens) and then go on to make the breezy and easy assertion that "we've done the math."

Prince Valiant: Britain's Prince Harry Should've Stayed in Afghanistan
-Slate March 11, 2008
"The extraordinary thing—and also the alarming thing—about the hasty withdrawal of Prince Harry from his front-line duties in Afghanistan is the way in which everybody seems to assume that it was the only right thing to do. It was all very well, apparently, for the junior of the two royal princes to share in the risks and duties shouldered by his fellow soldiers in the Household Cavalry, yet not for a moment longer than his valor could be kept a secret. At that point, he was supposed to make a rapid exit and take his valor with him."

Announcing “Hitch Bitch”: Where You Tell Christopher Hitchens What You Think
-Vanity Fair   February 29, 2008
"No V.F. contributing editor arouses more reader ire than our tireless columnist Christopher Hitchens. To accommodate the overflow of outraged letters and e-mails sent to the magazine, VF Daily introduces a new feature: Hitch Bitch. Readers seeking to weigh in on Hitchens’s recent columns, books, and television appearances are invited to write to us at hitchbitch@vf.com."

Barack Obama's magic fading as Hillary Clinton revives US presidential campaign
-Mirror March 05, 2008
"Barack Obama's magic fading as Hillary Clinton revives If it had been held last Friday, it might well have gone the other way, or a different way. But something about the Obama magic seems somehow to have curdled, or congealed into what some analysts call “buyer’s remorse”. In a few short days, the world’s most charismatic candidate went straight from being able to do nothing wrong to being able to do very little right.US presidential

Words Matter: Cliche, not plagerism, is the problem with today's pallid political discourse
-Slate March 03, 2008
"One of the great moments among many in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver is when we find the young Albert Brooks manning the phones in the campaign office of the man we know (and he does not) to be a double-dyed phony. On behalf of the empty and grinning Sen. Palantine, he is complaining to a manufacturer of lapel buttons. "We asked for buttons that said, 'We Are the People.' These say, 'We Are the People.'… "

The Serbs' Self-Inflicted Wounds: With Kosovo independent, Yugoslavia is finally dead
-Slate February 22, 2008
"Someone with a good memory of the conversation once told me how Lord Carrington, then one of the "mediators" of the incipient post-Yugoslavia war, came to the conclusion that Slobodan Milosevic was a highly dangerous man. Well-disposed toward Serbia (as the British establishment has always been), Carrington told the late dictator that he understood Serb concerns about significant Serbian minorities in Bosnia and Croatia. But why did Milosevic also insist on exclusive control over Kosovo, where the Albanian population was approximately 90 percent?"

Mr. President, Don't Forget Iran
-Wall Street Journal February 19, 2008
"Dear Mr. President: A few months ago, it became possible to hear members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran "would not be left to the next administration." As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular"

Truth and Consequences: What is the point of a paper of record that decides the untarnished record is too much for readers?
-Slate February 18, 2008
"Do you ever wonder what is the greatest enemy of the free press? One might mention a few conspicuous foes, such as the state censor, the monopolistic proprietor, the advertiser who wants either favorable coverage or at least an absence of unfavorable coverage, and so forth."

To Hell With the Archbishop of CanterburyRowan Williams' dangerous claptrap about "plural jurisdiction."
-Slate February 11, 2008
"In December 1931, George Orwell got himself arrested in the slums of East London in order to find out about conditions "inside," and then he wrote an essay about the people he met while in detention. One of them was a buyer for a kosher butcher who had embezzled some of his boss's money."

Bushies to Human Enyoy: Shut Up - In North Korea, it's almost impossible to separate nuclear policy from human rights.
-Slate February 04, 2008
"A few weeks ago, I wrote slightly disobligingly about Jay Lefkowitz, the man who holds the new congressionally mandated post of special envoy for human rights in North Korea. The North Korean state does not recognize the concept of human rights and considers every one of its citizens to be the property of the ruling family, so Lefkowitz's job is admittedly an extremely difficult one, but I tried to call attention to the way in which he (in his rather slender annual report to Congress), and the administration in general, had gone somewhat quiet on the subject of North Korea's famine-stricken slave society, all the while involving themselves in "constructive engagement" with "dear leader" Kim Jong-il on the question of nuclear facilities."

Dear Mr. President...
-World Affairs Journal Winter 2008
"A few months ago, it became possible to hear  members and supporters of your administration going around Washington and saying that the question of a nuclear-armed Iran “would not be left to the next administration.” As a line of the day, this had the advantage of sounding both determined and slightly mysterious, as if to commit both to everything and to nothing in particular."

The Rematch: Hitchens V. Boteach - a report of the January 30th debate by Alexander Zaitchik
-Hitchens Watch January 31, 2008
"The last time I saw Hitchens debate, the subject was Iraq, his opponent the wide-tied British antiwar MP George Galloway. Outside Baruch College before the event, Hitch worked the line handing out Xeroxed fact sheets on his opponent—basically a collection of Galloway’s stupidest comments and proven fabrications."

Fool Me Thrice: It should be no surprise that the Clintons are playing the race card
-Slate Jaunary 28, 2008
"How can one equal Bill Clinton for thuggery and opportunism when it comes to the so-called "race card"? And where does one even start with the breathtaking nastiness of his own conduct, and that of his supporters, in the last week? Barack Obama carries South Carolina having made no sectarian appeal to any specific kind of voter, and the best Clinton can say is that this is no better than Jesse Jackson managed to do. Really? "

Christopher Hitchens, Carl Rove (Audio 34:40 min   Transcript )
-The Hugh Hewitt Show January 23, 2008
Hewitt: Hour 1 - Hugh talks with Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens, and has him react to an odd exchange between Bill Clinton and a CNN reporter in South Carolina. Hugh also talks with political guru, Karl Rove.

Huck's Free Pass: Why are the media ignoring Mike Huckabee's remarks about the Confederate Flag?
-Slate January 21, 2008
"In this country, it seems that you can always get an argument going about "race" as long as it is guaranteed to be phony, but never when it is real. Almost every day brings news of full-dress media-oriented spats about Don Imus, Bob Grant, or the recent nonstory about how some golf show had managed to mention Tiger Woods and the word lynch in the same news cycle."

Divine Impulses: Christopher Hitchens
-Washington Post January 2008
Christopher Hitchens discusses his upbringing, being an anti-theist, his contempt for the religious, the value of religion, the trobule with Islam, and mortality without God with On Faith's Sally Quinn.

Victoria's Secret - Paul Scott's Raj Quartet reveals how sex doomed the British Empire.
-The Atlantic Monthly January/February 2008
"There are not as many theories about the fall of the British Empire as there once were about the eclipse of its Roman predecessor, but one of the micro theories has always appealed to me more than any of the macro explanations. And it concerns India. For the first century or so of British dominion over the subcontinent, the men of the East India Company more or less took their chances."

Christmas with Christopher Hitchens - Interviewed by Gregg LaGambina
-The A.V. Club December 21, 2007
"At the risk of fatwa and lightning bolts, The A.V. Club recently visited Hitchens for a holiday-inspired conversation about God, eggnog, Hanukkah, virgins, plastic trees, Kwanzaa, and of course, satanic imps."

Identity  Crisis: There's something pathetic and embarrassing about our obsession with Barack Obama's race
-Slate January 07, 2008
"To put it squarely and bluntly, is it because he is or is it because he isn't? To phrase it another way, is it because of what he says or what he doesn't say? Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is the current beneficiary of a tsunami of drool."

The Iowa Scam: The undemocratic caucuses are a terrible way to choose a presidential candidate
-Slate December 31, 2007
"It is quite astonishing to see with what deadpan and neutral a tone our press and television report the open corruption—and the flagrantly anti-democratic character—of the Iowa caucuses. It's not enough that we have to read of inducements openly offered to potential supporters—I almost said "voters"—even if these mini-bribes only take the form of "platters of sandwiches" and "novelty items" (I am quoting from Sunday's New York Times). It's also that campaign aides are showing up at Iowan homes "with DVD's that [explain]  how the caucuses work."

Forum with Michael Krasny Interviews Christopher Hitchens
-KQED Forum with Michael Krasny December 31, 2007
"Forum talks with author and journalist Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens' latest books are "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" and "The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer." He writes for Slate and is a contributing editor to The Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair."

England Made Them
-Vanity Fair January 2008
"Meet Garech Browne, the Guinness heir whose father raised pigs in their drawing room. And Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. And the Marquis of Bath, with 64 mistresses he calls “wifelets.” Tim Walker captures a cross section of proud standard-bearers in Britain’s long tradition of eccentricity as Christopher Hitchens explains why his native land often seems like one big Monty Python skit."

Daughter of Destiny: Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007
-Slate December 27, 2007
"The sternest critic of Benazir Bhutto would not have been able to deny that she possessed an extraordinary degree of physical courage. When her father was lying in prison under sentence of death from Pakistan's military dictatorship in 1979, and other members of her family were trying to escape the country, she boldly flew back in. Her subsequent confrontation with the brutal Gen. Zia-ul-Haq cost her five years of her life, spent in prison."

This is Not A Test: It's perfectly reasonable to reject a candidate because of his religious view
-Slate December 17, 2007
"Just before this gets completely out of hand and becomes a mantralike repetition, let us please recall what the careful phrases of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution actually and very carefully and deliberately say:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."


Abolish the CIA: Destroying the interrogation tapes amounts to mutiny and treason
-Slate December 10, 2007
"It seems flabbergastingly improbable that President George W. Bush learned of the National Intelligence Estimate concerning Iranian nuclear ambitions only a few days before the rest of us did, but the haplessness of his demeanor suggested that he might, in fact, have been telling the truth. After all, had the administration known for any appreciable length of time that the mullahs had hit the pause button on their program in late 2003, it would have been in a position to make a claim that is quite probably true..."

Holy Nonsense: Mitt Romney's windy, worthless speech
-Slate December 06, 2007
"Almost the only clever thing about Gov. Mitt Romney's long-denied and long-delayed but obviously long-prepared "response" was its location at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, which allowed him to pose (prematurely, I'd say) in front of a presidential seal as well as a thicket of American flags. Composed chiefly of boilerplate, the windy speech raised the vexed question of the candidate's religious affiliation—and thus broke the taboo on mentioning it—without setting to rest any of the difficulties that make it legitimate to raise the issue in the first place."

Bah, Hanukkah: The holiday celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewishs backwardness
-Slate December 03, 2007
"High on the list of idiotic commonplace expressions is the old maxim that "it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." How do such fatuous pieces of folk wisdom ever get started on their careers of glib quotation? Of course it would be preferable to light a candle than to complain about the darkness. You would only be bitching about the darkness if you didn't have ­a candle to begin with. "

Condoleezza Rice:  not all sweetness and light?  Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens
-Times Online October 07, 2007
"First of all, her name. It is emphatically not one of those pseudo-African monikers, such as Tawana, that some black American parents inflict on their children. It comes from the musical direction con dolcezza, or “with sweetness”."

Mitt the Mormon: Why Romney needs to talk about his faith
-Slate November 26, 2007
"Mitt Romney appears to think that, in respect of the bizarre beliefs of his church, he has come up with a twofer response. Not only can he decline to answer questions about these beliefs, he can also reap additional benefit from complaining that people keep asking him about them. In a video response of revolting sanctimony and self-pity last week, he responded to some allegedly anti-Mormon "push poll" calls in Iowa and New Hampshire by saying that it was "un-American" to bring up his "faith," especially "at a time when we are preparing for Thanksgiving," whatever that had to do with it."

Notable Inveriews: Christopher Hitchens
-NotableInterviews.com November 2007
"Christopher Hitchens is a contrarian and author. He’s the contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Slate, and this past year he released his controversial book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
This interview took place in a Shul (A place of prayer for Jews) and it is customary for even non-believers to wear a yarmulke on the premises."


Martin Amis is no racist
-The Guardian November 21, 2007
"Ronan Bennett's clumsy tirade against Martin Amis in G2 on Monday will not have been a complete waste of space if it allows us to revisit the words "discriminate" or "discrimination". In a public quarrel that originated between two professors of English (Amis and Terry Eagleton) it ought not to be necessary to remind people that these terms are, at root, complimentary."

Something To Give Thanks For: Good news from Iraq
-Slate November 19 2007
"A few weeks ago, in Britain's Prospect magazine, the paper's foreign editor, Bartle Bull, published a bold essay saying that the high tide of violence in Iraq was essentially behind us and that the ebb had disclosed some interesting things. First, the Iraqi people as a whole had looked into the abyss of civil war and had drawn back from the brink. Second, the majority of Sunni Arabs had realized that their involvement with al-Qaida forces was not a patriotic "insurgency" but was instead a horrific mistake and had exposed their society to the most sadistic and degraded element in the entire Muslim world."

Excerpt from 'Portable Atheist'
-USA Today  November 2007
"One is continually told, as an unbeliever, that it is old-fashioned to rail against the primitive stupidities and cruelties of religion because after all, in these enlightened times, the old superstitions have died away. Nine times out of ten, in debate with a cleric, one will be told not of some dogma of religious certitude but of some instance of charitable or humanitarian work undertaken by a religious person."

Norman Mailer: Remembering the pint-size Jewish fireplug
-Slate November 11, 2007
"Culture," said Norman Mailer, pugnaciously, in 1981, "is worth a little risk." Admittedly, he was uttering these words at a rather chaotic press conference, just after a tripwire-dangerous convict for whose release he had so ardently campaigned had stabbed a harmless waiter to death. But I remember admiring Mailer's audacity even as I slightly whistled at his promiscuity, and I suppose that no appreciation of the man is really possible without taking a comparative survey of both those capacities. I find I have to add that it's quite surprisingly difficult to picture the cultural scene without him. "

At Last, Christopher Hitchens Describes His Infamous Waxing
-New York's Magazine Daily Intelligencer  November 08, 2007
"Today's "Rush & Molloy" reminds us, as if we could forget, that some poor lady had to wax Christopher Hitchens's balls this year. This, we have noticed, is the most well-publicized hair removal since Britney took hold of a razor in a prison-grade beauty salon."

Christopher Hitchens on Thomas Paine's 'Rights Of Man' - by Richard Brookhiser
-International Herald Tribune November 09, 2007
"Earlier this year, the Atlantic Monthly Press began to publish a series of books on "books that changed the world." Now comes "Thomas Paine's 'Rights of Man': A Biography," an examination by the journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens."

Isolationism Isn't the Answer: Jihadists aren't in Afghanistan - or Iraq - because we are there.
-Slate November 05, 2007
"I call your attention to the front-page report in the Oct. 30 New York Times in which David Rohde, writing from the Afghan town of Gardez, tells of a new influx of especially vicious foreign fighters. Describing it as the largest such infiltration since 2001, Rohde goes on to say, "The foreign fighters are not only bolstering the ranks of the insurgency. They are more violent, uncontrollable and extreme than even their locally bred allies."


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