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Hey! Look! A Chickenhawk!

By ThinkProgress on August 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm

"Hey! Look! A Chickenhawk!"

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The whole business of calling people chickenhawks has fallen into disrepute but I, for one, enjoy it greatly. What’s more, it’s precisely things like this Hitchens passage that Julian and Ross are discussing that leads to anti-chickenhawk dogmatism. Check it out, but this time with my emphasis added:

In order to get my own emotions out of the way, I should say briefly that on that day I shared the general register of feeling, from disgust to rage, but was also aware of something that would not quite disclose itself. It only became fully evident quite late that evening. And to my surprise (and pleasure), it was exhilaration. I am not particularly a war lover, and on the occasions when I have seen warfare as a traveling writer, I have tended to shudder. But here was a direct, unmistakable confrontation between everything I loved and everything I hated. On one side, the ethics of the multicultural, the secular, the skeptical, and the cosmopolitan. (Those are the ones I love, by the way.) On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism. I am prepared for this war to go on for a very long time. I will never become tired of waging it, because it is a fight over essentials. And because it is so interesting.

Now say it with me: which war, exactly, was Hitchens waging? He’s not waging a war at all, he’s sitting at a desk writing magazine articles and Slate columns and drinking just like the rest of us. He isn’t waging war, he’s advocating that other people wage war. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but he’s saying that part of the reason he’s advocating that other people wage war is that he enjoys imagining himself as a warrior.

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