christopher hitchens Quotes

Christopher Hitchens Quotes

Birth Date: 1949-04-13 (Wednesday, April 13th, 1949)

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Quotes

    • The Baghdad regime is the first oil-producing government to opt for 100-per-cent nationalisation, a process completed with the acquisition of foreign assets in Basrah last December. It was the first to call for the use of oil as a political weapon against Israel and her backers. It gives strong economic and political support to the 'Rejection Front' Palestinians who oppose Arafat's conciliation and are currently trying to outface the Syrians in Beirut. And it has a leader - Saddam Hussain - who has sprung from being an underground revolutionary gunman to perhaps the first visionary Arab statesman since Nasser.
    • ...in fact, the war against Iraq is continuing. And it's continuing now by the means which the administration described as contemptible and useless, when they were put forth as an alternative to an actual all-out aerial bombardment. Namely, economic sanctions, which do have the effect of slowly starving and crippling the population of Iraq, while leaving the military cast of Saddam Hussein and his criminal Baath Party in charge. I was asked the other day ... why do you think the administration decided to spare Saddam Hussein ... and I said I think because they thought they might need him again...
    • If most of those who took part in this one-dimensional debate were honest with themselves, they would admit that they do not in principle believe that the United States can do any good overseas for anyone but the American government, its armed forces, or privileged American elites.
    • David Irving is not just a Fascist historian. He is also a great historian of Fascism.
    • Then the big white whale, Clinton. What about someone who is a war criminal, a taker of bribes from foreign dictatorships, almost certainly a rapist (plausibly accused, anyway, by three believable women, of rape), executed a black man (Ricky Ray Rector) who was so mentally retarded that he was unable to plead or to understand the charges - You're against all that, right? But you're for it when it's someone who you think is a 'New Democrat'.
    • Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.
    • A good liar must have a good memory. Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory.
    • The realization that American power could and should be used for the defense of pluralism and as a punishment for fascism came to me in Sarajevo a year or two later... That was an early quarrel between me and many of my Nation colleagues, and it was also the first time I found myself in the same trench as people like Paul Wolfowitz and Jeane Kirkpatrick: a shock I had to learn to get over.
    • The only real radicalism in our time will come as it always has - from people who insist on thinking for themselves and who reject party-mindedness.
    • What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
    • Europeans think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone (Michael Moore) who actually embodies all of those qualities.
    • The (Catholic) church, as far as I know, has not endorsed any war as just since it supported General Franco's invasion of Spain to destroy the Spanish republic with a Muslim mercenary army in the thirties, on the side of Hitler.
    • There is a division within the neo-conservative movement, which is, by the way, one of the tests of its authenticity as a tendency. I would say I was a supporter of Paul Wolfowitz.
    • Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.
    • They ('Islamo-fascists') gave us no peace and we shouldn't give them any. We can't live on the same planet as them and I'm glad because I don't want to. I don't want to breathe the same air as these psychopaths and murderers and rapists and torturers and child abusers. It's them or me. I'm very happy about this because I know it will be them. It's a duty and a responsibility to defeat them. But it's also a pleasure. I don't regard it as a grim task at all.
    • The enormous dynamic and creative, as well as destructive energy of capitalism... is written up with more praise and more respect by Marx and Engels in the 1848 Communist Manifesto than probably by anyone since. I don't think anyone has ever said so precisely and with such awed admiration how great capitalism is, how inventive, how innovative, how dynamic, how much force of creativity it unleashes.
    • As well as being a vulgar producer of her own spectacle, and an embarrassment to her family, Cindy Sheehan is at best a shifty fantasist.
    • (On Life of Brian) I do think it still the funniest and cleverest movie ever made.
    • One could happily make a case that more random civilians, and fewer fucking lawyers, should be on the court. But the only other thing to say about Miers is that she is a fucking lawyer.
    • If you think that the intifada in France is about housing, go and try covering the story wearing a yarmulka.
    • My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line and kiss my ass.
    • My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization, to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it, but you can't disprove it either. It happens to be my view, but it doesn't challenge any of the findings of Darwin or Huxley or Einstein or Hawking.
    • You may choose, if you wish, to parrot the line that Watergate was a 'long national nightmare,' but some of us found it rather exhilarating to see a criminal President successfully investigated and exposed and discredited. And we do not think it in the least bit nightmarish that the Constitution says that such a man is not above the law. Ford's ignominious pardon of this felonious thug meant, first, that only the lesser fry had to go to jail. It meant, second, that we still do not even know why the burglars were originally sent into the offices of the Democratic National Committee. In this respect, the famous pardon is not unlike the Warren Commission: another establishment exercise in damage control and pseudo-reassurance (of which Ford was also a member) that actually raised more questions than it answered. The fact is that serious trials and fearless investigations often are the cause of great division, and rightly so.
    • That most risky and volatile of all things- a self-pitying majority.
    • It is rather a pity, considered from the standpoint of the professional politician or opinion-taker, that nobody knows exactly what 'credibility' is, or how one acquires it. 'Credibility' doesn't stand for anything morally straightforward, like meaning what you say or saying what you mean. Nor does it signify anything remotely quantifiable - any correlation between evidence presented and case made. Suggestively, perhaps, it entered the language as a consensus euphemism during the Vietnam War, when 'concerned' members of the Eastern Establishment spoke of a 'credibility gap' rather than give awful utterance to the thought that the Johnson administration was systematically lying. To restore its 'credibility,' that administration was urged - not to stop lying, but to improve its public presentation. At some stage in the lesson learned from that injunction, the era of postmodern politics began. It doesn't seem ridiculous now to have 'approval ratings' that fluctuate from week to week, because these are based upon the all-important 'perception' factor, which has in turn quite lost its own relationship to the word 'perceptive.'
    • We have preachers and savants who dilate endlessly on the sanctity of family and childhood but who tolerate a system in which a casual observer can correlate a child's social origin with its physical well-being.
    • It was an axiom of 'containment' that no part of the known world could be considered neutral. 'Neutralism' was among the Cold Warriors' gravest curse words, applied with caustic hostility to India and even France. Those who were not with were against, subjected to intense economic and ideological - and sometimes military - pressure to fall into line.
    • There is a limit to the success of conservative populism and the exploitation of 'little guy' or 'silent majority' rhetoric, and it is very often reached because of the emaciated, corrupted personalities of the demagogues themselves.
    • Every campaign, Garry Wills once wrote, 'taught Nixon the same lesson: mobilize resentment against those in power.' History taught the same to many conservative and reactionary populist movements, whose real attitude to those in power and authority was one of a servile, envious, vicarious adoration.
    • The reading public isn't born that doesn't think foreigners are either funny or faintly sinister.
    • The conservative aptitude for stressing the 'individual responsibility' of all parties except themselves.
    • The disquieting thing about newscaster-babble or editorial-speak is its ready availability as a serf idiom, a vernacular of deference. 'Mr. Secretary, are we any nearer to bringing about a dialogue in this process?'
    • What a country, and what a culture, when the liberals cry before they are hurt, and the reactionaries pose as brave nonconformists, while the radicals make a fetish of their own jokey irrelevance.
    • It is not enough to 'have' free speech. People must learn to speak freely. Noam Chomsky remarked in the sixties about the short-life ultra-radicals on campus who thought that Marx should have been burning down the British Museum rather than writing and thinking in it. The less political descendants of that faction have now tried to reduce life to a system of empowerment etiquette, and have wasted a lot of their own time and everyone else's in the process. But the real bridle on our tongues is imposed by the everyday lying and jargon, sanctioned and promulgated at the highest levels of media and politics, and not by the awkward handful who imagine themselves revolutionaries.
    • There is a reason for the affected profession of 'anarchist sympathies' among Tories and grandees, and of 'libertarian principles' by Hobbesian yahoos of the right. Among the former, one sees the upholding of the view that a gentleman's business and property are his own, and none of the government's. Among the latter, a distaste for democracy, for taxation, and for the need to consult others about the planet.
    • Rushdie had written a book of nonfiction which offered critical but decided support to the Nicaraguan revolution. He had also been eloquent about the rights of the ever-relegated Palestinians. What more natural, when he was threatened with assassination by contract, than to jubilate about a terrorist-symp who had been caught in his own logic? I counted some ten newspaper and magazine columns from the Podhoretz school, all making this same point in the same words - demonstrating the impressive Zhdanovite discipline that is the special mark of the faction. All of them seemed to regard the affair as some sort of heavenly revenge for the sin of radical promiscuity; much as they have represented the AIDS crisis as a vengeance as on sixties morality. The ethical nullity of these positions never got beyond mere gloating, and will one day help to illustrate the essential distinction between irony and brutish sarcasm.
    • Perhaps the values of socialists can only be realized by socialists in a nonsocialist society.
    • The pornography of tough-mindedness, covert action, and preparedness for 'peace through strength' has had a predictably hypnotic effect on the legislative branch, turning it from legal watchdog to lapdog.
    • 'Peace through Strength,' surely history's most exploded nostrum.
    • The United States has an isolationist and insular culture, combined with a global and interventionist posture. This highly dangerous and febrile mixture, which greatly facilitates the task of the fear-mongers and chauvinists, needs a very exact and nuanced diagnosis. I don't think that analogies from the totalitarian model, however suggestive, are sufficient.
    • The polls undoubtedly help to decide what people think, but their most important long-term influence may be on how people think. The interrogative process is very distinctly weighted against the asking of an intelligent question or the recording of a thoughtful answer.
    • Intellectuals never sound more foolish than when posing as the last civilised man.
    • The secular state is the guarantee of religious pluralism. This apparent paradox, again, is the simplest and most elegant of political truths.
    • All the excitements of a prohibited book had their usual effect, one of which, as always, is to expose the fact that the censors don't know what they are talking about.
    • That phrase, 'loss of innocence,' has become stale with overuse and diminishing returns; no other culture is so addicted to this narcissistic impression of itself as having any innocence to lose in the first place.
    • Every day, the New York Times carries a motto in a box on its front page. 'All the News That's Fit to Print,' it says. It's been saying it for decades, day in and day out. I imagine most readers of the canonical sheet have long ceased to notice this bannered and flaunted symbol of its mental furniture. I myself check every day to make sure that the bright, smug, pompous, idiotic claim is still there. Then I check to make sure that it still irritates me. If I can still exclaim, under my breath, why do they insult me and what do they take me for and what the hell is it supposed to mean unless it's as obviously complacent and conceited and censorious as it seems to be, then at least I know I still have a pulse. You may wish to choose a more rigorous mental workout but I credit this daily infusion of annoyance with extending my lifespan.
    • I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator - that's beyond my conceit. I therefore have no choice but to find something suspect even in the humblest believer. Even the most humane and compassionate of the monotheisms and polytheisms are complicit in this quiet and irrational authoritarianism: they proclaim us, in Fulke Greville's unforgettable line, 'Created sick - Commanded to be well.' And there are totalitarian insinuations to back this up if its appeal should fail. Christians, for example, declare me redeemed by a human sacrifice that occurred thousands of years before I was born. I didn't ask for it, and would willingly have foregone it, but there it is: I'm claimed and saved whether I wish it or not. And if I refuse the unsolicited gift? Well, there are still some vague mutterings about an eternity of torment for my ingratitude. That is somewhat worse than a Big Brother state, because there could be no hope of its eventually passing away. In any case, I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There's no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Paine pointed out, you may if you wish take on a another man's debt, or even to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the concept of free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out the ethical principles for ourselves. You can see the same immorality or amorality in the Christian view of guilt and punishment. There are only two texts, both of them extreme and mutually contradictory. The Old Testament injunction is the one to exact an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (it occurs in a passage of perfectly demented detail about the exact rules governing mutual ox-goring; you should look it up in its context [Exodus 21]). The second is from the Gospels and says that only those without sin should cast the first stone. The first is a moral basis for capital punishment and other barbarities; the second is so relativistic and 'nonjudgmental' that it would not allow the prosecution of Charles Manson. Our few notions of justice have had to evolve despite these absurd codes of ultra vindictiveness and ultracompassion. Judaism has some advantages over Christianity in that, for example, it does not proselytise - except among Jews - and it does not make the cretinous mistake of saying that the Messiah has already made his appearance. However, along with Islam and Christianity, it does insist that some turgid and contradictory and sometimes evil and mad texts, obviously written by fairly unexceptional humans, are in fact the word of god. I think that the indispensable condition of any intellectual liberty is the realisation that there is no such thing.
    • Time spent arguing with the faithful is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.
    • Only a humorless tyrant could want a perpetual chanting of praises that, one has no choice but to assume, would be the innate virtues and splendors furnished him by his creator, infinite regression, drowned in praise!
    • The 'line of the day' among administration spokesmen, confronted by masses of destitute and terrified refugees and solid reports of the mass execution of civilians, is to say that 'we expected this to happen.' They did? (They never told anyone.) If they want to avoid being indicted for war crimes themselves, these 'spokesmen' had better promise us that they were lying when they said that.
    • Many of the points made by the antiwar movement have been consciously assimilated by the Pentagon and its lawyers and advisers. Precision weaponry is good in itself, but its ability to discriminate is improving and will continue to improve. Cluster bombs are perhaps not good in themselves, but when they are dropped on identifiable concentrations of Taliban troops, they do have a heartening effect.
    • Only a complete moral idiot can believe for an instant that we are fighting against the wretched of the earth. We are fighting, as I said before, against the scum of the earth
    • I don't think the war in Afghanistan was ruthlessly enough waged.
    • If you're actually certain that you're hitting only a concentration of enemy troops... then it's pretty good because those steel pellets will go straight through somebody and out the other side and through somebody else. And if they're bearing a Koran over their heart, it'll go straight through that, too. So they won't be able to say, 'Ah, I was bearing a Koran over my heart and guess what, the missile stopped halfway through.' No way, 'cause it'll go straight through that as well. They'll be dead, in other words.
    • Did we not aid the grisly Taliban to achieve and hold power? Yes indeed 'we' did. Well, does that not double or triple our responsibility to remove them from power?
    • It must be obvious to anyone who can think at all that the charges against the Hussein regime are, as concerns arsenals of genocidal weaponry, true.
    • I doubt that even if this evidence could be upgraded to 100 per cent it would persuade the sort of people who go on self-appointed missions of mediation to Baghdad. These people further fail to see that governments now have a further responsibility to their citizens - namely to see that something is done to prevent future assaults on civilisation.
    • Will an Iraq war make our Al Qaeda problem worse? Not likely.
    • We know that the enemies of our civilization and of Arab-Muslim civilization have emerged from what is actually a root cause. The root cause is the political slum of client states from Saudi Arabia through Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, that has been allowed to dominate the region under U.S. patronage, and uses people and resources as if they were a gas station with a few flyblown attendants. To the extent that this policy, this mentality, has now changed in the administration, to the extent that their review of that is sincere and the conclusions that they draw from it are sincere, I think that should be welcomed. It's a big improvement to be intervening in Iraq against Saddam Hussein instead of in his favor. I think it makes a nice change. It's a regime change for us too. Now I'll state what I think is gonna happen. I've been in London and Washington a lot lately and all I can tell you is that the spokesmen for Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush walk around with a look of extraordinary confidence on their faces, as if they know something that when disclosed, will dissolve the doubts, the informational doubts at any rate, of people who wonder if there is enough evidence. [Mark Danner: It's amazing they've been able to keep it to themselves for so long.] I simply say, I have two reasons for confidence. I know perfectly well that there are many people who would not be persuaded by this evidence even if it was dumped on their own doorstep, because the same people, many of the same people, didn't believe that it was worth fighting in Afghanistan even though the connection between the Taliban and Al Qaeda was as clear as could possibly be. So I know that. There's a strong faction of the so-called peace movement that is immune to evidence and also incapable of self criticism, of imagining what these countries would be like if the advice of the peaceniks has been followed. I also made some inquiries of my own, and I think I know what some of these disclosures will be. But, as a matter of fact I think we know enough. And what will happen will be this: The President will give an order, there will then occur in Iraq a show of military force like nothing probably the world has ever seen. It will be rapid and accurate and overwhelming enough to deal with an army or a country many times the size of Iraq, even if that country possessed what Iraq does not, armed forces in the command structure willing to obey and be the last to die for the supreme leader. And that will be greeted by the majority of Iraqi people and Kurdish people as a moment of emancipation, which will be a pleasure to see, and then the hard work of the reconstitution of Iraqi society and the repayment of our debt - some part of our debt to them - can begin. And I say, bring it on.
    • The best case scenario is a rapid attack by precision-guided weapons, striking Saddam's communications in the first hours and preventing his deranged orders from being obeyed. Then a massive landing will bring food, medicine and laptop computers to a surging crowd of thankful and relieved Iraqis and Kurds. This could, in theory, all happen.
    • The death toll is not nearly high enough... too many [jihadists] have escaped.
    • I, for one, will not have [the Vietcong] insulted by any comparison to the forces of Zarqawi, the Fedayeen Saddam, and the criminal underworld now arrayed against us. These depraved elements are the Iraqi Khmer Rouge.
    • Those who had alleged that a million civilians were dying from sanctions were willing, nay eager, to keep those same murderous sanctions if it meant preserving Saddam!
    • There is no reason at all why there aren't enough people to guard New Orleans and to help stabilise Baghdad.
    • If you examine the record of the so-called the anti-war movement in this country and imagine what would have happened had its counsel been listened to over the last 15 and more years, you would have a world in which the following would be the case: Saddam Hussein would be the owner and occupier of Kuwait, he would have succeeded in the annexation, not merely the invasion, but the abolition of an Arab and Muslim state that was a member of the Arab League and of the United Nations. And with these resources as we now know because he lost that war, he was attempting to equip himself with the most terrifying arsenal that it was possible for him to lay his hands on. That's one consequence of anti-war politics, that's what would have happened. In the meanwhile, Slobodan Milosevic would have made Bosnia part of a greater Serbia, and Kosovo would have been ethnically cleansed and also annexed. The Taliban would be still in power in Afghanistan if the anti-war movement had been listened to, and al-Qaeda would still be their guests. And Saddam Hussein, with his crime family, would still be privately holding ownership over a terrorized people in a state that's been most aptly described as a concentration camp above ground and a mass grave underneath it. Now if I had that record politically, I would be extremely modest, I wouldn't be demanding explanations from those of us who said it's about time that we stop this continual capitulation to dictatorship, to racism, to aggression and to totalitarian ideology. That we will not allow to be appeased in Iraq, the failures in Rwanda, and in Bosnia, and in Afghanistan, and elsewhere. And we take pride in having taken that position, and we take pride in our Iraqi and Kurdish friends who are conducting this struggle, on our behalves I should say.
    • I'm quite convinced in my own mind that those who were arguing that [the need to intervene in Iraq] was a more immediate one than some believed - were I'm sure convinced that they were right on fact, I don't think they were making it up. So as to lying, I don't think it has been established that any lies were told.
    • I don't think that the figure 2000 is an important milestone, in the first place. And in the second place, I don't think that this can be determined by public opinion. The righteousness of the war was not demonstrated by public support for it in the beginning, nor its wisdom altered by the evident decline in public support for it. I don't pay attention to the opinion polls, or indeed to the casualty figures, because I know that this is an inevitable war, a war that was going to have to happen - and was, in my opinion, both just and necessary.
    • Interviewer: It seems to be acknowledged that there're more people out there supporting the aims of Al-Qaeda and groups like them, and are willing to die, as a result of this war, than perhaps there were previously? Hitchens: Well, you could as easily say that the number of people who used to be based in Afghanistan, have, as a result of the intervention there, relocated themselves and spread the virus in that way. Both of these arguments lead to only one terminus, which is: we should surrender to jihadism, and not try to oppose it, in case we make them upset.
    • They want me to immolate myself, and I sincerely believe that for some of them, when they see bad news from Iraq, the reaction is simply 'This will make Hitchens look bad!' I've been trying to avoid solipsism, but I've come to believe there are such people.
    • Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins.
    • What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.
    • On Jerry Falwell: I think it's a pity there isn't a hell for him to go to. The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you'll just get yourself called Reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God's punishment if they hadn't got some kind of clerical qualification. People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we're not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven - I'm glad to see he skipped the rapture and was found on the floor of his office - while the rest of us go to hell. How dare they talk to children like this, how dare they raise money from credulous people on their huckster-like Elmer Gantry radio stations and fly around in private jets as he did, giggling and snickering all the time at what he was getting away with?:How dare he say, for example, that the Antichrist is already present amongst us and is an adult male Jew, while all the time fawning on the worst elements in Israel, with his other hand pumping anti-Semitic innuendos into American politics along with his friends Robertson and Graham, encouraging the most extreme theocratic fanatics and maniacs on the West Bank and in Gaza not to give an inch of what he thought of as holy land to the people who already lived there, undercutting and ruining every democrat and secularist in the Jewish state in the name of God? He's done us an enormous, enormous disservice by this sort of demagoguery:the fact is that the country suffers to a considerable extent from paying too much by way of compliment to anyone who can describe themselves as a person of faith - Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard: Chaucerian frauds, people who are simply pickpockets and frauds who prey on the gullible:He woke up every morning, as I say, pinching his chubby little flanks and thinking 'I've got away with it again!':I think he was a conscious charlatan and bully and fraud and I think if he read the Bible at all - and I would doubt whether he could actually read any long book at all - that he did so only in the most hucksterish, as we say, Bible-pounding way. I'm gonna repeat what I said before about the Israeli question. It's very important. Jerry Falwell kept saying to his own crowd 'Yeah you gotta like the Jews cos they can make more money in ten minutes than you can make in a lifetime.' He was also full, as his friends Robertson and Graham are and were, of anti-Semitic innuendo, yet, in the most base and hypocritical way, he encouraged the worst elements among Jewry. He got Menachim Begin to give him the Jabotinsky Medal, celebrating an alliance between Christian fundamentalism and Jewish fanaticism that has ruined the chances for peace in the Middle East. Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man.
    • On Jerry Falwell: If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.
    • When I am at home, I never go near the synagogue unless, say, there is a bar or bat mitzvah involving the children of friends. But when I am traveling, in a country where Jewish life is scarce or endangered, I often make a visit to the shul. [5]
    • Religious exhortation and telling people, telling children, that if they don't do the right thing, they'll go to terrifying punishments or unbelievable rewards, that's making a living out of lying to children. That's what the priesthood do. And if all they did was lie to the children, it would be bad enough. But they rape them and torture them and then hope we'll call it 'abuse'. [6]
    • Only the force of American arms, or the extremely credible threat of that force, can bring a fresh face to power. [7]
    • [Even if the U.S. doesn't attack] Saddam Hussein is not going to survive. His regime is on the verge of implosion. [8]
    • It [the Iraq war] was not for the sake of oil. [9]
    • Of course it's about oil, stupid. [10]
    • The regular media caricature of Iraqi society is not even a parody. It is very common indeed to find mixed and intermarried families, and these loyalties and allegiances outweigh anything that can be mustered by a Jordanian jailbird who has bet everything on trying to ignite a sectarian war. Second, it means in the not very long run that the so-called insurgency can be politically isolated and militarily defeated. It already operates within a minority of a minority and is largely directed by unpopular outsiders.
    • If there is a sectarian war in Iraq today, or perhaps several sectarian wars, we have to understand that this was latent in the country, and in the state, and in the society all along. It was not the only possible outcome, because it had to be willed and organized, but it was certainly high on the list of probabilities.
    • Here is the story, as far as I can trace it, of Chomsky's effort to 'minimize' or 'deny' the harvest of the Khmer Rouge. It will be seen that the phony 'credibility' of the charge against him derives from his lack of gullibility about the American mass killings in Indochina (routinely euphemized or concealed by large sections of the domestic intelligentsia). From this arises the idea that Chomsky might have said such things; was the sort of person who could decline to criticize 'the other side'; was a well-known political extremist. Couple this with the slothful ease of the accusation, the reluctance of certain authors to prove they are not unpatriotic dupes, and you have a scapegoat in the making. 1985
    • [Chomsky] has now been impeached by his own standards, since scrutiny of the evidence does not bear him out on Serbia or Afghanistan or Iraq. It didn't bear him out on Cambodia either, though he was never a 'Holocaust denier' or anything like it. And he has, I think, ceased to be of any use to young people who might pardonably doubt the official story. 2004
    • [I am persuaded by] the materialist conception of history. [11]
    • A theory that seems to explain everything is just as good at explaining nothing. [12]
    • (Howard) Dean is a raving nut bag...a raving, sinister, demagogic nutbag...I and a few other people saw that he should be destroyed.
    • Fine, now that I know that, to you, medical ethics are nothing, you've told me all I need to know. I'm not trying to persuade you. Do you think I care whether you agree with me? No. I'm telling you why I disagree with you. That I do care about. I have no further interest in any of your opinions. There's nothing you wouldn't make an excuse for. You know what? I wouldn't want you on my side. I was telling you why I knew that Howard Dean was a psycho and a fraud, and you say 'That's O.K.' Fuck off. No, I mean it: fuck off. I'm telling you what I think are standards and you say, 'What standards? It's fine, he's against the Iraq War.' Fuck. Off. You're MoveOn.org. Any liar will do. He's anti-Bush. Fuck off...Save it sweetie, for someone who cares. It will not be me. You love it, you suck on it. I now know what your standards are, and now you know what mine are, and that's all the difference -- I hope -- in the world.
    • I mean, for me, it's enough to be at war. The crucial thing is to be at war. [13]
    • And if I didn't know better, I'd say they [the U.S. marines] were doing God's work. Let them fear us. That's the thing -- let them fear us. [14]
    • I'm too old to shoulder a rifle in any meaningful sense myself. [15]
    • To be involved in this [the Iraq War], frankly, just makes me happy. [16]
    • It pains me to hear that. He's gone back to nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy -- go hit the wogs.
    • Since Hitchens evidently does not take what he is writing seriously, there is no reason for anyone else to do so.
    • Hitchens maintains that that 'there is a close fit between the democratically minded and the pro-American' in the Middle East - like 'President for Life' Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah of Jordan...that [referring to 9/11] 'Washington finally grasped that 'there were `root causes behind the murder-attacks' [emphasis in original] (but didn't Hitchens ridicule any allusion to 'root causes' as totalitarian apologetics?)...that 'racism' is 'anti-American as nearly as possible by definition'...that 'evil' can be defined as 'the surplus value of the psychopath'...is there a Bartlett's for worst quotations?
    • Two altogether opposed political stances can each draw an audience's attention. One is to be politically consistent, but nonetheless original in one's insights; the other, an inchoate form of apostasy, is to bank on the shock value of an occasional, wildly inconsistent outburst. The former approach, which Chomsky exemplifies, requires hard work, whereas the latter is a lazy substitute for it. ... The master at this pose of maverick unpredictability used to be Christopher Hitchens. Amidst a fairly typical leftist politics, he would suddenly ambush unsuspecting readers with his opposition to abortion, admiration of the misogynist and juvenile lyrics of Two Live Crew ('I think that's very funny'), or support for Columbus's extermination of Native Americans ('deserving to be celebrated with great vim and gusto'). Immediately the talk of the town became, 'Did you read Hitchens this week?' Although a tacit assumption equates unpredictability with independence of mind, it might just as well signal lack of principle.
    • That such a dynamic speaker, writer and thinker has devolved into a sputtering death-loving crank is certainly sad, especially for us who knew him back in the day.
    • What you have before you is the first known metamorphosis of a butterfly into a slug.
    • A couple of months after the invasion of Iraq, I was in Los Angeles and some drunk accosted me, saying, 'George Bush was right about everything he said about Iraq!' - weapons of mass destruction, the al-Qaeda connection and more. It was Christopher Hitchens, 'debating' me, and furious. His confusing our President's assertions with reality was a verbal pie he threw in the air and caught on his face.
    • Long ago he came out against abortion. Interesting! Then he discovered and made quite a kosher meal of the fact that his mother, deceased, was Jewish, which under Jewish law meant he himself was Jewish. Interesting!! (He was notorious at the time for his anti-Zionist sympathies.)
    • If you are a religious apologist invited to debate Christopher Hitchens, decline.
    • BUSH IS NOT GREAT (HE'S MARVELLOUS!)
    • Many stupid people refuse to believe in a supreme power. I felt like that once but then I had a moment of revelation when I realised that everyone was talking nonsense and that there was an all-powerful benign intelligence that controlled our destinies. The ignorant and uneducated blamed Him for allowing wars in which thousands died or floods in which people's homes were swept away while He merely looked on. 'Why does He allow evil to happen?' they asked, as if this was a sensible question. But it isn't. The fact remains that George Bush does exist. Although He moves in mysterious ways and His sayings are sometimes difficult to comprehend, if we have faith in George Bush all will be revealed and our lives will be transformed. We could not wish for more.
    • Many are the cheap and easy laughs in which one could indulge at the extraordinary, pitiful hysteria of those attempting to see something suspect, or even less than laudable, in Dick Cheney's entirely justified, indeed, necessary, shooting of Harry Whittington. According to no less an authority than the so-called 'Daily' Kos, Mr Whittington apparently had a 'right' (granted by whom?) to wander, uncalled for and unmarked, directly into the sites of the man who was praised for his shooting by no less an authority than Lee 'Harvey' Oswald, back in the days when the Democratic Party still fought against totalitarianism, before the Jihadist wing of the extremist party of the Michael Moore faction staged their grisly coup 'd'etat' (a French word meaning, originally 'Islamo-jihadist of the Left' [...] but no less an authority than an old friend of mine who works and fights high up in the upper echelons of the so called state 'department' a man entirely untouched by the vagaries and conspiracies of the thuggish authoritarianism of the so called 'C' IA which ran through the cobbled streets of the State like a veritable whirlwind of Reaganite self-certainty, disenobling the watery flow of power from that much vaunted fountain of secularism best known as the white 'house' to those too ignorant to realise its true role as the 'house' of the illuminati: as this man, to repeat, told me, myself, and, indeed, I (or as it were, we) this Mr Whittington was on his way, even as Dick unleashed his mighty cannon, to buy uranium from Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, who are, as we speak, meeting on the so called 'far' side of the moon in order to unveil a proto-'ji' hadist empire of neo-caliphatinism a word that, were it to be real, would be no less real than the threat of apre-jihadist terror that my good friend 'dick' had the temerity, indeed, the accuracy, to stop.
    • christopher hitchens

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On April 13thWho Also Died On
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Christopher Hitchens
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