Christopher Hitchens’ appearance on the Daily Show was a disappointment—largely because Hitchens seemed to be half in the bag, and Stewart kept stepping all over his words trying to make them funny, and the short format was not to the favor of a fellow who tends to speak in complete sentences and paragraphs. So how about a half hour interview with an alert Hitchens, with an interviewer who’s interested in hearing what he has to say, and gives him the opportunity to speak at more length? Here’s Hitchens on the Charlie Rose show.
Much better, even if I disagreed strongly with Hitchens on much of what he said.
More than half of the interview is taken up with discussing the Iraq war. I agree with Hitchens’ assessment that an important nation in the Middle East is on the road to destruction, that it is going to be a failed state, and that by pulling out we diminish the power of the US in the region. I also agree that it is a great tragedy, and that leaving Iraq will mean many of our supporters will die. Where I disagree, though, is that Hitchens thinks the war was inevitable and necessary, and that the US did the right thing by invading. I say we sowed the seeds of defeat when our government decided the appropriate response was to invade with crushing force, and make Iraq a treasure chest to be looted by military contractors. The current ongoing debacle can be blamed directly on the credulous boosters for war as a prerequisite for nation building, of whom Hitchens was one.
The last half is a discussion of his new book, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). I haven’t read it yet—my copy is supposed to arrive this next week—but I’m looking forward to it, and there’s some hope from this interview that it will be a solid piece of work. This part of the interview was much less contentious than the first half, I thought — I’d be curious to see what a Christian pro-war Republican would say, though.