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Dennis Perrin Headshot

Open Query To Hitchens

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"The liberation of Iraq -- in other words, the decision that we had to move the Iraqi people and the region into a post-Saddam era -- will stand, I'm convinced, as one of the greatest decisions of American statecraft, as one of the things that American soldiers, male and female, the politicians who voted for it, those who've defended it, will be proudest of in the future of any decision we've ever made."

Hitch, Hitch, Hitch . . . I don't know what to say. Long ago I wrote you off, as did so many of your former friends and allies, and met whatever twisted rhetoric of yours I caught with a weary shrug and a sad smile. But recently, a reader of mine passed on some clips of you debating your brother, Peter, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and early in the event you unleashed the above quote. It wasn't so much the words, which are of course mad, worthy of a lesser Lewis Carroll character, but the tense, strange expression on your face as you uttered this lunacy.

I fear that something in you has seriously snapped. Up till now, I assumed that your war-mongering and imperial hubris were career-motivated. A Beltway regular like yourself will never go broke pimping U.S. wars and American exceptionalism. Disgusting, but part of the elite opinion deal. Others have called you crazy, but most didn't know you like I did. They confused professional opportunism for a break with reality, a cheap, easy way to dismiss your rantings. But not me. While I was occasionally fooled into thinking you had gone nuts, I always returned to the fact that you knew exactly what you were doing, that the whole Just War bit was largely a performance, however sordid and unsightly. I no longer buy into that theory. I'm afraid, dear boy, that you've checked into the Presidential Suite of the Rubber Room Hotel.

One would think, after crawling out on a weak limb and crashing to the pavement with this now-classic take:

"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention . . . The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling . . . It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."

You might be through with fantasy predictions about Iraq. Yet, in the charred, smoldering face of all that has happened and continues to unfold, you not only keep talking shit, you do so with this ominous emotional edge, your eyes glazed with contempt. As much as it would impress me on a professional level, I don't think this is an act. You really believe the crap you spew. Amazing. And from what I hear, you're backing McCain, a man you once told me was a bandit that the Vietnamese had every right to shoot down. Now that he wants to kill Arabs and Persians (and God knows who else) for the next 100 years, he's acceptable to you? Any old mercenary in a shit storm? Where the fuck is this going? How does it end?