Hitch 22

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 3, 2011

PG is reading Hitch-22: A Memoir,  produced by Christopher Hitchens . While researching this post, PG entered Christopher into the google search engine. The suggested last names were Hitchens, Columbus, Walken, Nolan, and Reeve. A digital source tells us that the name Christopher comes from “Ancient Greek Χριστόφορος or ‘Christ-bearing’. The meaning of the name suggested the legend of St. Christopher carrying the Christ child across water.” If this was Mr. Hitchens, he would probably spike the brat into the drink.

Hitch 22: A Memoir should be a dynamite read. Whatever you think of his opinions, the fact remains that Christopher Hitchens is an entertaining writer. Alas, this book is dull. PG wound up skipping over parts,  and probably will not finish it.

PG first heard of Christopher Hitchens after the demise of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana. Mr. Hitchens wrote pieces critical of these two, when the post mortem media adoration was becoming obnoxious. The index to H22AM does not mention Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu or Diana Frances Spencer Windsor. Maybe this is being saved for Hitch 22.2.

This second volume is in doubt. Mr. Hitchens is in a battle with oesophageal cancer. He continues to produce, with a piece about Michele Bachmann appearing in Slate on Wednesday. The illness makes some wonder about his much touted atheism. Jesus worship religion has devolved into a scheme for life after death. Some say Mr. Hitchens will have a deathbed conversion. The man begs to differ.

The issue where Mr. Hitchens and PG have a profound disagreement is Operation Iraqi Freedom. . Mr. Hitchens was horrified by the regime of Saddam Hussein. He said
“However—and here is the clinching and obvious point—Saddam Hussein is not going to survive. His regime is on the verge of implosion. It has long passed the point of diminishing returns. Like the Ceausescu edifice in Romania, it is a pyramid balanced on its apex (its powerbase a minority of the Sunni minority), and when it falls, all the consequences of a post-Saddam Iraq will be with us anyway. To suggest that these consequences—Sunni-Shi’a rivalry, conflict over the boundaries of Kurdistan, possible meddling from Turkey or Iran, vertiginous fluctuations in oil prices and production, social chaos—are attributable only to intervention is to be completely blind to the impending reality. The choices are two and only two—to experience these consequences with an American or international presence or to watch them unfold as if they were none of our business.”
PG does not dispute the evil nature of Saddam Hussein. (It is suspected that this evil became more intense as a result of the war with Iran in the eighties. This war was encouraged by the United States. When you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.) The difference between PG and Mr. Hitchens is in the response to this evil. PG remembers the difficulty of bringing “Peace with honor” to the Vietnam conflict. War is incredibly expensive, and has unexpected consequences. PG felt we were opening a Pandora’s box in Babylon, and we would not be able to close it. Neither PG nor Christopher Hitchens is willing to admit error regarding this war.

The book is not a total loss, and perhaps readers with more patience than PG will enjoy it. Mr. Hitchens has led an interesting life, with quite a few good stories. There was a socialist mentor, who was on his deathbed when Mr. Hitchens went to visit. He asked the mentor to autograph a book, using the “old left salutation” “fraternally yours”. The mentor was hard of hearing at the time. He gave Mr. Hitchens a dirty look, and said “I do not believe in eternity”.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Christopher Hitchens « Chamblee54 said, on December 16, 2011 at 9:51 am

    […] one recognizable as myself would ever make such a ridiculous remark.” PG has written about Mr. Hitchens several times. The pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union soldiers from War […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: