24 June 2003


My little spat with Stephen Marks over whether Christopher Hitchens should still be considered "of the left" has been taken up on the new improved Harry's Place weblog (click here for the new home page, here for the Hitchens discussion).

I've just read Hitchens's instant book on the war on Iraq, and I'm unconvinced by the argument that he's "passed over to the other side". The position he has consistently taken in his polemical writing and reportage on Iraq, and before on Afghanistan - that imperialism (in the shape of the US) is generally a lesser evil than fascism (in the shape of Osama bin Laden and Saddam), and that in extreme circumstances the only responsible and decent option is to support imperialism against fascism - has an honourable leftist precedent in the second world war.

Whether or not Hitchens would vote for Bush is neither here nor there - I voted for Tony Blair (as I imagine Marks did) and Blair, whom Hitchens hates, has taken the Bush line - and it doesn't really bother me whether the Hitch considers himself to be part of the left these days: he deserves serious consideration for his arguments not ritual denunciation. And OK, I admit he's sometimes his own worst enemy . . .

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