Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) defended the Iraq War, opposed Islamism and anti-Semitism

Christopher Hitchens, author and public intellectual, died Friday, 15 December of pneumonia resulting from esophageal cancer in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Hitchens lived one day beyond the ceremony to end the Iraq war. He supported the liberating the Iraqi and Kurdish peoples from Saddam Hussein.

From Wikipedia:
Christopher Hitchens argued the case for the Iraq War in a 2003 collection of essays entitled A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq, and he has held numerous public debates on the topic with George Galloway and Scott Ritter. Though he admits to the numerous failures of the war, and its high civilian casualties, he sticks to the position that deposing Saddam Hussein was a long-overdue responsibility of the United States, after decades of poor policy, and that holding free elections in Iraq has been a success not to be scoffed at. He argues that a continued fight in Iraq against insurgents, whether they be former Saddam loyalists or Islamic extremists, is a fight worth having, and that those insurgents, not American forces, should be the ones taking the brunt of the blame for a slow reconstruction and high civilian casualties.

An updated summary of his views on Iraq and the war on terror can be found in his memoirs Hitch 22. . . .

British politician George Galloway, founder of the socialist Respect Party, on his way to testify in front of a United States Senate sub-committee investigating the scandals in the U.N. Oil-for-Food programme, called Hitchens a "drink-sodden ex-Trotskyist popinjay", to which Hitchens quickly replied, "only some of which is true." Later, in a column for Slate promoting his debate with Galloway which was to take place on 14 September 2005, he elaborated on his prior response: "He says that I am an ex-Trotskyist (true), a 'popinjay' (true enough, since the word's original Webster's definition is a target for arrows and shots), and that I cannot hold a drink (here I must protest)."

Journalist Eli Lake eulogizes Mr. Hitchens in the Daily Beast:
Mr. Hitchens never stopped saying and writing that the (Iraq) war was just and that American arms were needed to end the regime of Saddam Hussein. But Christopher did not arrive at this position simply because his old colleagues at the Nation Magazine did not. He came to support the Iraq war after befriending many Iraqis, and particularly Kurds, who told him about the horrors of that dictatorship. For Christopher, supporting the war was an expression of his anti-totalitarianism. He would later say that the war pitted the anti-totalitarian left against the anti-imperialist left.

Hitchens asserted his points in this webcast public debate with leftist former MP George Galloway, following Galloway's appearance before a Congressional sub-committee. This debate was moderated by Amy Jacobson of Democracy Now at CUNY's Baruch College in Manhattan in 2006.

In November 2010, Hitchens canceled a scheduled appearance in New York, where he was to debate religion writers David Hazony and Stephen Prothero on the subject of the Ten Commandments. Earlier that year, he published a piece in Vanity Fair on the subject, and was working on a book about the Ten Commandments as well.

In March 2010, Mr. Hitchens spoke out against Islamism and anti-Semitism in giving the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, exclusive to DemoCast. In it, he calls anti-Semitism "a gateway to tyranny & the common enemy of civilization."

During his illness, Hitchens was under the care of Francis Collins and was the subject of Collins' new cancer treatment which maps out the human genome and selectively targets damaged DNA.

In April 2011, Hitchens was forced to cancel a scheduled appearance at the American Atheist Convention, and instead sent a letter that stated, "Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death." He closed with "And don't keep the faith." The letter also dismissed the notion of a possible deathbed conversion, in which he claimed that "redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before.

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