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"In fact," Hitchens says, "what is happening in today's Iraq is something more like a social and political revolution than a military occupation. He will, perhaps, be braver still if he applies his noble mind to how that "study of religion and ethnicity" and that "instruction in civil and human rights" have worked out.Part of his considerable talent is his ability to change; his next move should not be missed."As elsewhere in Pakistan," he says, "there was a miasma of self-pity mingled with self-righteousness." Some of that miasma must have been infectious, since Hitchens exudes his own brand of self-righteousness and vast superiority in his account of his journeys through the country at that time. The other piece, an account of a stay in Iraq, was published in Vanity Fair in October 2003.
He is mean, once more, to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
(" ' Fahrenheit 9/11' is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity.") He is mean to Presidents Kennedy and Clinton. He is mean to Mayor Bloomberg and, much to his own amusement, sets about flouting all those strange little laws that govern public behavior in New York, a city he loves.
His surprisingly measured essay on David Irving, the historian who denied the Holocaust, has all the hallmarks of Orwell's method -- to be deeply suspicious, first of all, of your own prejudices before you begin to approach the prejudices of others. He enjoys a fundamental belief in American freedoms; he can use the phrase "our republic" without irony. "The bombers of Manhattan," he writes, "represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there's no point in any euphemism about it." He now had two new sets of archenemies, the bombers themselves and those in the United States who took the view that the atrocities were a result of American foreign policy.
He can end an essay entitled "Jewish Power, Jewish Peril" with remarks about "the cliché about Jews' being inherently and intuitively smart. In the months after 9/11, Hitchens ran a campaign of shock and awe against these people, most of it passionate and, even in retrospect, persuasive.
HE then wrote two articles, included at the end of this book, that represent a low point in his long career.
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In October 2001, when he visited Pakistan, all his subtlety and street wisdom left him, all his wit was gone.
On this trip he was not, he might have been the first to point out, in any sense a smart reporter. Local people are getting used to the sight of professional young American women, white and black and Hispanic, efficiently on patrol.
His Iraq, after its liberation from Saddam Hussein, was a place Orwell would have been proud of. Police cadets are receiving instruction in civil and human rights."Hitchens is brave to reproduce these observations, written in the heat of battle.
: Bob Dylan's achievement -- I fought the law in Bloomberg's New York -- For Patriot dreams -- Martha Inc.
The essays he wrote in these years also display his interest in moving away from polemic and politics to write about the literature he loves.