Christopher Hitchens, from leftist to war propagandist

This video from the USA is called Seymour Hersh: Propaganda Used Ahead of Iraq War Now Being Reused Over Iran’s Nuke Program.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Memorial for Christopher Hitchens in New York City: A gathering of the unprincipled and politically clueless

25 April 2012

Vanity Fair magazine hosted a memorial in New York City April 20 for the late journalist Christopher Hitchens, who died of cancer in December. According to the Guardian, the event, at Cooper Union, a private college in lower Manhattan, paid tribute to Hitchens’ “wit and warmth.”

The memorial brought together a diverse group of personalities, including novelists Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, playwright Tom Stoppard, literary critic James Wood, historian Douglas Brinkley, journalist Carl Bernstein, actors Sean Penn and Stephen Fry, former Nation editor Victor Navasky and numerous others.

What would prompt anyone to celebrate such a despicable figure?

Hitchens began his public life vaguely on the British left, around the state capitalist International Socialists group, wrote for the liberal-left Nation magazine in the US (1982-2002) and ended up in the camp of imperialist reaction, a supporter of the Bush administration’s bloody invasion of Iraq, the “global war on terror” and the racist-chauvinist campaign to stigmatize Muslims.

Along the way Hitchens shook hands with Argentine dictator General Jorge Rafaél Videla and enjoyed a flirtatious exchange with Conservative Party leader and future British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. He enthusiastically participated in the Republican right’s campaign in 1998-99 to oust Bill Clinton from the White House in a manufactured sex scandal. In 2001, Hitchens told an interviewer that he now recognized globalized capitalism was a revolutionary economic system.

Much of the last decade or so of his life Hitchens spent as a favorite of the ultra-right in the US. Not accidentally, the New York Post, one of Rupert Murdoch’s gutter publications, covered the April 20 celebration in the friendliest terms (“Hitch remembered with wit” in a “moving ceremony”).

Pathologically vain and cynical, a thoroughgoing careerist, a mediocre snob without a memorable thought or insight to his credit, Hitchens had significance solely as the embodiment of the shift of a portion of the “protest generation” into staunch defenders (and beneficiaries) of the profit system.

The Washington Post’s description of Hitchens and his crowd in the late 1990s remains useful. The British-born journalist, the newspaper explained, belonged to “an elite subset of Washington society—the crowd of journalists, intellectuals, authors and policymakers, mostly in their thirties and forties, who regularly dine together and dine out on each other.” Another Post article at the time described “a rarefied world where the top pols and bureaucrats sup with the media and literary elite at exclusive dinner parties. It’s a cozy little club of confidential sources and off-the-record confidences.”

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6 thoughts on “Christopher Hitchens, from leftist to war propagandist

  1. Pingback: New Zealand government glorifies World War I | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. A most interesting insight to Hitchens, as he hob nobed around the intellectual snobs and the slow effect of whiskey and cigarettes took its toil, shame that someone so well educated and a great orator had views that are now understood as having philosophic incongruities, but a great entertainer.


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