My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An interview with Chrisopher Hitchens...

Australian TV had him the air on the anniversary of September'd never see somebody like him on CBC TV.
TONY JONES: That's alright, as long as you can hear me. Is it clear now, do you think, that history will primarily judge President Bush's reaction to September 11 by his decision to go to war with Iraq and the linkage he made between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: It’s not the linkage that he made it's the linkage that Saddam Hussein made. The Iraqi regime was the only one in the region to applaud the attacks and it was the only one when every other country, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, were expelling al-Qaeda sympathisers, to start welcoming them onto its soil, particularly in the shape of the notorious Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. I think that I heard someone say this, actually it was the President, I'm sorry, on your show just a moment ago: the removal of the Taliban was in reprisal for the last attack. The removal of Saddam Hussein was for the next attack so that it wouldn't come. And yes, I'm certain the President will be remembered principally for ridding the Middle East - along with Australian and British support - of the worst dictator the region has ever known and the most dangerous one.

TONY JONES: At least one key witness to the events, within the White House, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, says that advisers in the White House were bent on attacking Iraq in retaliation, whether or not Saddam Hussein had anything to do with al-Qaeda?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, there is a pre-existing quarrel with Saddam Hussein as you know on other matters, including his support for international terrorism. If you remember, the man who was responsible for the hijack of the Achille Lauro the murder of Leon Klinghoffer, the so-called Abu Abbas, the late, when he was captured, had to be released by the Italian police because he was travelling on a diplomatic passport. Do you want to know which country issued him with a diplomatic passport? This wouldn't be the only time that Iraq had given official State support to activity like that. It was unsleepingly pursuing nuclear materials in places like Niger as we can now, I think, adequately demonstrate. It was a permanent threat to its neighbours and a latent threat to all of us. The Senate had passed 98 votes to nil, the Iraq liberation act at the urging of President Clinton and vice-president Gore in 1998. So there was a pre-existing commitment to the removal of Saddam Hussein, which meshed, in my opinion, much better than most people believe with the provocation of September 11. After all, the last time the World Trade Centre was attacked, the man who mixed the chemicals for it, Mr Yassin, went straight from New Jersey, after he'd been interrogated and released, to Baghdad, where he still is, and lived in the intervening time under Saddam Hussein's protection. It's really all a question of whether you would, or would not, give the Saddam Hussein regime the benefit of any doubt, or the presumption of any innocence. If I phrase it like that, I think you might find it difficult to say yes you would.

TONY JONES: Isn't it more important, though, to create or to make a link between September 11 and Saddam Hussein, if you are going to invade the country virtually as a direct result of that?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Yes, well I mean, I think the links were pretty adequately demonstrated.

TONY JONES: Not according to Richard Clarke, for example, who makes the claim that the President himself, only 24 hours after the attacks, came to him urging him to find the evidence that Iraq was involved with the September 11 attacks and he couldn't find that evidence?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I've read that too. I wouldn't myself have tasked Mr Clarke with that, nor would I have trusted the CIA to get that right, even a tiny thing like that, because they've always got everything else wrong. The CIA continues to say there can't have been a connection, because if one was ever proved - and there's a great deal of evidence for it - they would look stupid. Because they always said, not just that it wasn't there. Do observe this distinction. They said it couldn't be there. They said, by definition, Saddam Hussein could not help Islamic terrorists because his regime was supposedly secular. Now that to anyone who knows anything about Iraq is sheer fatuity. There is an overarching analysis as well that, to some extent, puts these matters of linkage in perspective. When one examined the situation, and realised that al-Qaeda and its co-thinkers have been incubated by what was, in effect, a political slum in the Middle East, which we've been letting rot and decay for far too long and, therefore, it would be a good thing to begin some slum clearance in the region. This meant turning the Pakistani Government from a sympathiser of the Taliban to at least, neutrality. It meant taking away their Afghan colony from them. That's what they've been treating Afghanistan as being. It meant warning the Saudi Arabians we knew what they were doing; it meant undercutting their oil monopoly, by trying to liberate the oil fields of Iraq. And it meant removing the most outstanding supporter of terrorism and jihadism in the region, who was a man with whom we in any case had a political rendezvous. A man who should have been removed from power in 1991. So if you could get over your obsession with this idea that there were invented linkages, you would see there is a broader intersection of argument that favours regime change in the Middle East.


Blogger Road Hammer said...

Not to mention the 25K payments that Saddam gave to each family who donated a son or daughter to the cause of jihad (suicide bombing).

9:58 AM  

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