View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently September 2nd, 2014, 7:50 pm



Reply to topic  [ 33 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
 Christopher Hitchens 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: November 20th, 2008, 6:40 pm
Posts: 4211
Location: Beautiful Ayrshire
Just wanted to add my sadness at his passing. He wrote so well that even I, an ardent hater of "philosophcal" reading (See! I can't even express myself properly) could follow his arguments.


Quote:
“Everything about Christianity is contained in the pathetic image of 'the flock.”


Utterly brilliant! Precision and finality- like a knife in the hand of an accomplished surgeon.

Thanks for that, Nick. I'll record that.

_________________
David Bowie: "Ageing like a Golden God"


December 18th, 2011, 11:28 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
he was arrogant IMO, and some of the quotes relayed by Tetenterre illustrate this, especially about Iraq and Afghanistan. I assume that even if over a million Iraqis had died after the invasion, his views on that event would have remained as they were before it. At least the disgraced journalist Johan Hari was wise and brave enough to admit that he had been wrong over Iraq. Did Hitch ever admit he was wrong?


December 20th, 2011, 4:42 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm
Posts: 9052
Location: Huddersfield, England
He did not think he was wrong.


December 20th, 2011, 5:19 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
jaywhat wrote:
He did not think he was wrong.
you may be right in what sounds your faith in Hitch's honesty! But anyway, he was wrong, and he was arrogant in his demand that other countries be "forced to be free" at whatever the cost - as these quotes, posted by Alan H, illustrate:

Hitchens on war

“Cluster bombs are perhaps not good in themselves, but when they are dropped on identifiable concentrations of Taliban troops, they do have a heartening effect.”

“I don't think the war in Afghanistan was ruthlessly enough waged.”

“Will an Iraq war make our Al Qaeda problem worse? Not likely.”

“The death toll is not nearly high enough ... too many [jihadists] have escaped.”


December 20th, 2011, 6:10 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am
Posts: 9239
Location: Darkest Kent
Yes, Hitch was iconoclastic and something of of a shock-jock, but part of his point was that the casualties, shocking though they might be, were less than those which would arise (in both mortal and political terms) from not taking action.

Whether that is true or not is another matter, but I'd suggest it is certainly true that at some point appeasement is not the best option. Where that point is..... Well, if we knew that....


December 20th, 2011, 7:15 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm
Posts: 9052
Location: Huddersfield, England
My admiration for Hitchens does not mean that I agree with everything he said. I must be having one of those days because I feel I agree with what Nick says. :smile:


December 21st, 2011, 10:04 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: March 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
Posts: 2372
Location: Between the New Forest and Cranborne Chase
I don't agree with everything Hitchens said, but I do admire what I perceive as a ruthless honesty. When he thought he was wrong, he admitted it and changed his opinions accordingly, hence his renunciation of some of the Marxist opinions he held a dozen or so years ago. Unlike Animist's example, Hari, he did not do things that he must have known at the time to be wrong.

_________________
Steve

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. (Richard Feynman)


December 21st, 2011, 10:54 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Nick wrote:
Yes, Hitch was iconoclastic and something of of a shock-jock, but part of his point was that the casualties, shocking though they might be, were less than those which would arise (in both mortal and political terms) from not taking action.

Whether that is true or not is another matter, but I'd suggest it is certainly true that at some point appeasement is not the best option. Where that point is..... Well, if we knew that....
yes, I guess he did think this, but I wondered how many deaths would it have taken to make him change his mind. I was reading some American not long ago who justified the US involvement in Vietnam (3 million deaths) on the ground that Vietnam was now embracing the free market!


December 22nd, 2011, 8:58 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Tetenterre wrote:
I don't agree with everything Hitchens said, but I do admire what I perceive as a ruthless honesty. When he thought he was wrong, he admitted it and changed his opinions accordingly, hence his renunciation of some of the Marxist opinions he held a dozen or so years ago. Unlike Animist's example, Hari, he did not do things that he must have known at the time to be wrong.

true AFAIK


December 22nd, 2011, 9:00 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am
Posts: 9239
Location: Darkest Kent
animist wrote:
I wondered how many deaths would it have taken to make him change his mind. I was reading some American not long ago who justified the US involvement in Vietnam (3 million deaths) on the ground that Vietnam was now embracing the free market!

Perhaps "embracing the free market" is more shorthand for the defeat of communism. The Vietnam war was fought to prevent the "domino effect", a political theory of the time. When you consider that many millions died in China, Russia, and Cambodia, that over a million died in North Korea in the 1990's besides having a life expectancy 20 years less than that of South Korea, all because of communism (as practiced), he may have had a point.

We will never know, nor am I necessarily agreeing with him, but it is not as flippant or blinkered as you seem to imply.


December 22nd, 2011, 10:10 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Nick wrote:
animist wrote:
I wondered how many deaths would it have taken to make him change his mind. I was reading some American not long ago who justified the US involvement in Vietnam (3 million deaths) on the ground that Vietnam was now embracing the free market!

Perhaps "embracing the free market" is more shorthand for the defeat of communism. The Vietnam war was fought to prevent the "domino effect", a political theory of the time. When you consider that many millions died in China, Russia, and Cambodia, that over a million died in North Korea in the 1990's besides having a life expectancy 20 years less than that of South Korea, all because of communism (as practiced), he may have had a point.

We will never know, nor am I necessarily agreeing with him, but it is not as flippant or blinkered as you seem to imply.
that's really widening it if you are going bring in Communism as well as terror and Middle East dictators; I might as well point to imperialism causing all those deaths in World War 1 and in the colonial world for centuries prior, or capitalism as behind the slave trade. You mention the domino theory, but actually that was one of the clearest examples of a mistaken theory - southeast Asia did not follow Vietnam towards Communism.

How many deaths would it take in Iraq for YOU to change what seems to be your opinion that it was a reasonable decision to invade? I suppose it impossible to compare the place now with what might have been the case if Saddam or his dynasty were still around, but I am pretty sure that fewer Iraqis would have died; they are still dying now, as the bomb explosion yesterday shows. What I would like to get from somone here is some concern over this episode, and about the appalling tone of Hitchens's hyperbole about bombing Afghanistan out of the Stone Age; for someone supposedly in favour of humanitarian intervention he does not sound too bothered about "collateral damage" if it's not in his country. He also did seem to realise that the war on terror bred terrorists to replace those it killed. The quote about al Qaeda is just wrong: we in the UK did suffer from the Iraq invasion in the form of 7/7. And Michael Moore is an easy target: the first Gulf War was justified, the second one was not. What gets me about Hitch is that he loved his own eloquence - that's great when it's religion that's the target, but not so great when it's real people who may suffer as a result of any influence he might have had


December 24th, 2011, 1:10 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am
Posts: 9239
Location: Darkest Kent
Animist :)

I used words like "perhaps" and "may". I was pointing out possible arguments, rather than my own opinions (which are not fully formed on the topics cited).

I'd be intereasted to hear your justification for "imperialism" being the cause of WWI. I might not disagree with you- it's more a question of what you mean by "Imperialism".

As for "capitalism" and the slave trader, I don't think that holds, as mercantilism and such ideas were much more influencial at the time. (Or is that the point you were making?)

As fior the Domino theory, I didn't say it was right, only that people thought it was right at the time. And in any case, history has a habit of ebbs and flows, moving left and right, so maybe it was true at the time. After all, Communism's avowed intent (Like Islam and Christianity) has always been to spread to the whole world.

Quote:
How many deaths would it take in Iraq for YOU to change what seems to be your opinion that it was a reasonable decision to invade?

If you think you know what my opinion is on Iraq, then I haven't made myself clear! :D I think the First Gulf War was justified. I also think it was probably a pity (maybe with hindsight) that they didn't topple Saddam at the time. As for the Second, we don't know what intelligence was available at the time, even though, almost certainly, it turned out to be wrong. I also blame the French for scuppering the talks at the UN. (While that is true, I may be overstating its importance in being decisive in Bush's decision to go to war.) But I didn't like the concept of a "war on terror", which seems somewhat oxymoronic to me, and think Bush acted in haste, and maybe for the wrong reasons too.

Quote:
I suppose it impossible to compare the place now with what might have been the case if Saddam or his dynasty were still around, but I am pretty sure that fewer Iraqis would have died; they are still dying now, as the bomb explosion yesterday shows.
Does that not illustrate the sheer force of repression exerted by Saddam over the Iraqis? It des rather confirm that the deaths arose because of conflict within Iraq, not because of the US actions. It is never possible to be accurate about expected losses, but it is usually difficult to remove dictators without mayhem. A bit like a pressure cooker, remove the weight and all hell breaks loose. (We have parallels going on the the Euro, too....) But what is the right answer? Leave the oppression in place? (And Saddam's sons looked as if they would be even worse! Hmm...

Quote:
What I would like to get from somone here is some concern over this episode, and about the appalling tone of Hitchens's hyperbole about bombing Afghanistan out of the Stone Age; for someone supposedly in favour of humanitarian intervention he does not sound too bothered about "collateral damage" if it's not in his country. He also did seem to realise that the war on terror bred terrorists to replace those it killed. The quote about al Qaeda is just wrong: we in the UK did suffer from the Iraq invasion in the form of 7/7. And Michael Moore is an easy target: the first Gulf War was justified, the second one was not. What gets me about Hitch is that he loved his own eloquence - that's great when it's religion that's the target, but not so great when it's real people who may suffer as a result of any influence he might have had
I don't see it in quite those terms. I think he was of value in putting forward the arguments he did, in order to stop the appeasement of Islam, and in defence of certain freedoms. I am a long way from agreeing with his every word on the subject, though.


December 29th, 2011, 12:05 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm
Posts: 4410
Location: "mysterious east" grinstead
Nick wrote:
I'd be intereasted to hear your justification for "imperialism" being the cause of WWI. I might not disagree with you- it's more a question of what you mean by "Imperialism".
that does seem fairly easy: almost all the participants in the War were explicitly designated as "empires". They scrambled for Africa, competed over armaments, supported the enemies of their enemies (eg pan-Slavism and Sarajevo); a war between them almost came several times before the fatal assassination of the Grand-Duke in 1914
Nick wrote:
As for "capitalism" and the slave trader, I don't think that holds, as mercantilism and such ideas were much more influencial at the time. (Or is that the point you were making?)
you have a point about mercantilism inasmuch as this state-led greed preceded the pure laissez-faire capitalist economists like Adam Smith and Ricardo, but the slave trade was about profits, surely?
Nick wrote:
As fior the Domino theory, I didn't say it was right, only that people thought it was right at the time. And in any case, history has a habit of ebbs and flows, moving left and right, so maybe it was true at the time. After all, Communism's avowed intent (Like Islam and Christianity) has always been to spread to the whole world.

I don't quite get you. I dare say many people convinced themselves that some possible future threat to the Free World justified carpet bombing, My Lai, Agent Orange and the rest, but it is not good enough to believe something and be wrong - not when thousands of lives are sacrificed to such mistakes. How could it be "true at the time"? It was proved not to be true, as I said; what did happen (and this might have been predicted from the rivalry between the Russians and the Chinese even then) is that the Commies fell out amongst themselves, with the Vietnamese invading Cambodia and China attacking Vietnam.
Nick wrote:
I think he was of value in putting forward the arguments he did, in order to stop the appeasement of Islam, and in defence of certain freedoms. I am a long way from agreeing with his every word on the subject, though.
I probably am being a bit hard on Hitchens but I remember a TV programme in which he seemed to avoid a proper response on the deaths in Iraq; to his credit, he condemned waterboarding and Abu Ghraib. Oddly enough, he opposed the first Gulf War - which was generally supported and legally defensible - and yet seemed to think that 9/11 justified the second one; the same TV programme saw him repeating the now exploded myth that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda. I wish you would not use that dreadful word "appeasement", the unconsidered avoidance of which practice led to disasters like Suez, Vietnam and Iraq itself: Al Qaeda are not Adolf Hitler, that is what makes them really scary. Anyway, I will dig out and post a couple of articles in the Indie on Hitch to mark his death.


January 4th, 2012, 7:02 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 33 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by ST Software for PTF.