The radical journalist died after a two-year struggle with cancer. His close colleague Jeffrey St. Clair said that he had kept his illness a tight secret, telling only his closest friends, not wanting to chronicle his own last days in the manner of Christopher Hitchens, his fellow British expatriate, one-time colleague, and later adversary when Hitchens abandoned his left-wing politics and joined up with the Bush administration and the neoconservatives in their warmongering.
I used to regularly read Cockburn’s columns in The Nation, and the website CounterPunch that he co-founded with St. Clair was something that I read every day as well as subscribing to the newsletter. (I published three articles there in 2003 about the Iraq war, here, here, and here.)
He was never mealy-mouthed or equivocal. I liked his no-holds-barred, go-for-the-jugular writing style, though it could be infuriating when it was aimed at the things you supported. He was a global warming skeptic for example, something that alienated a lot of allies. He was also scathing in his denunciations of mushy liberals, referring to them derisively as ‘pwogwessives’ or ‘pwogs’ for short, who bought into the notion that the Democratic party was left-wing and represented the poor.
We both shared an admiration of the great British humorist P. G. Wodehouse.