How the international community should have
responded to Bush's September 2002 U.N. speech.
By Christopher Hitchens, Slate
I've thoroughly enjoyed Hitchens over the past few years. His droll, no-nonsense commentary and dry delivery has appeal, and he's a man that opens his mind and pulls no punches.
His "My Ideal War" column is fantastic - a *must read*, if I do say so myself. And instead of wasting time reading my words, read his.
Up until now, I have resisted all urges to assume the mantle of generalship and to describe how I personally would have waged a campaign to liberate Iraq. I became involved in this argument before the Bush administration had been elected, and for me it always was (and still is) a matter of solidarity with the democratic forces in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and of the need for the United States to change its policy and be on their side. I am now authoritatively told that we should have been on their side to the tune of 100,000 or so extra troops, and I must say I do not object. Nor would I have objected then. However, it's the point of principle that matters. And one simply cannot turn to international friends and say, look, what with the state of the opinion polls, I think we'll have to be seeing a bit less of each other.
This commitment doesn't override truth, and I know that a lot of people feel that they were cheated or even lied into the war. It seems amazing to me that so many people have adopted the "Saddam Hussein? No problem!" view before the documents captured from his regime have even been translated, let alone analyzed. I am sure that when this task has been completed, history will make fools of those who believed that he was no threat, had no terror connections, was "in his box," and so forth. A couple of recent disclosures lend some point to my view. The first are the findings published in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs, and the second is the steady work of Stephen Hayes, over at the Weekly Standard, aimed at getting some of the captured documents declassified.
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