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Christopher Hitchens, please make some room at the table

They've managed to alienate another one.

Last week I expressed astonishment at the left's fawning over pro-Soviet, pro-dictator, anti-democratic Scottish blowhard and probable embezzler George Galloway, for no better reason than the fact that he yelled at Norm Coleman.

I found this outrageously stupid. There are plenty of war critics in the world without having to embrace this guy. Let's face it, American liberals already have a real image problem as it pertains to the war on terror, some of it justified but much of it not. Well, here's a word of advice for them: Cozying up to the likes of George Galloway does not help! The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Do you bristle with indignant outrage when your political opponents hurl epithets such as "un-American" or "Saddam-lover" at you? Well here's a hint: you might consider keeping the Galloways of the world at arm's length.

I was bemused by the whole sorry spectacle, but my mistake was in viewing it as a singular event when in fact it was highly representative of what passes for the modern progressive movement in American politics. Thoughtful, intelligent progressivism has been all but replaced by a reflexive, knee-jerk, infantile Bush hatred. Defending human rights, championing self-determination, and combatting fascism have all taken a back seat to mindless opposition-at-all-costs to George W. Bush. And at a time when American liberalism is in desperate need of a infusion of mature, reasoned intellects, the trend is sadly in the opposite direction. Check out this piece by Keith Thompson in today's San Francisco Chronicle. The title itself speaks volumes:

Leaving the left:
I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity

Nightfall, Jan. 30. Eight-million Iraqi voters have finished risking their lives to endorse freedom and defy fascism. Three things happen in rapid succession. The right cheers. The left demurs. I walk away from a long-term intimate relationship. I'm separating not from a person but a cause: the political philosophy that for more than three decades has shaped my character and consciousness, my sense of self and community, even my sense of cosmos.

I'm leaving the left -- more precisely, the American cultural left and what it has become during our time together.

I choose this day for my departure because I can no longer abide the simpering voices of self-styled progressives -- people who once championed solidarity with oppressed populations everywhere -- reciting all the ways Iraq's democratic experiment might yet implode.

My estrangement hasn't happened overnight. Out of the corner of my eye I watched what was coming for more than three decades, yet refused to truly see. Now it's all too obvious. Leading voices in America's "peace" movement are actually cheering against self-determination for a long-suffering Third World country because they hate George W. Bush more than they love freedom.
I watched with astonishment as leading left intellectuals launched a telethon- like body count of civilian deaths caused by American soldiers in Afghanistan. Their premise was straightforward, almost giddily so: When the number of civilian Afghani deaths surpassed the carnage of Sept. 11, the war would be unjust, irrespective of other considerations.

Stated simply: The force wielded by democracies in self-defense was declared morally equivalent to the nihilistic aggression perpetuated by Muslim fanatics.

Susan Sontag cleared her throat for the "courage" of the al Qaeda pilots. Norman Mailer pronounced the dead of Sept. 11 comparable to "automobile statistics." The events of that day were likely premeditated by the White House, Gore Vidal insinuated. Noam Chomsky insisted that al Qaeda at its most atrocious generated no terror greater than American foreign policy on a mediocre day.

All of this came back to me as I watched the left's anemic, smirking response to Iraq's election in January. Didn't many of these same people stand up in the sixties for self-rule for oppressed people and against fascism in any guise? Yes, and to their lasting credit. But many had since made clear that they had also changed their minds about the virtues of King's call for equal of opportunity.

I don't normally say this, because I don't like bossing my readers around, but read the whole thing. Please.

(Hat tip: Ace)


The "left" once embraced Stalin and Noam Chomsky has been against a secure Israel for a very long time. The cast of characters cited here have been making similar statements as long as I remember. Yes, there are people who oppose American policy period. (And these same people feel that the New York Times is a tool of the right wing.)

This isn't new.

I feel the need to defend myself. It's not American policy I oppose, it's lies. When someone tells a lie in public, and the victim of the lie comes out and yells the truth from on top of a hill, well... I like that.

How do you know the charges against Galloway are "lies?" The jury's still out on that, I'd say.

The Senate routinely calls people who are under investigation to come testify. Galloway accepted the summons, but repeatedly dodged and evaded the questions directed at him, and instead launched into a blistering tirade against the Senate on a different topic altogether. I'm surprised you find that behavior commendable. Let's hope it doesn't become the new standard for congressional testimony.

OTTami 'knows' they are lies just as CBS knew that Bush's TANG records were false but accurate and Newsweek knew that the flushing of the Koran just sounded like something the American military would do.

Barry, we both cut our teeth on a poster from another site who made this a common practice so this shouldn't surprise you, my friend.

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