The Week in Review

So, the US and its allies finally left Iraq. It seems they’ve been there forever. Whether the country will eventually become a better place to live than it was during the terrible decades of war, tyranny and crippling sanctions remains to be seen, though one might at least hope. I suspect that was also what led to the most conspicuous blindside of this week’s celebrity passee, Christopher Hitchens’ career, namely his unswerving support of the 2003 invasion. Besides old-fashioned stubbornness, his stance always seemed to me fueled at least in part by the hope shared by many at that time — even people who largely opposed the war — that it might at least eventually lead to a better life for Iraqis.

Perhaps I’m being too charitable, but it’s a motivation I understand, because I remember seriously entertaining it myself back when the war was brewing, even if it was clear that it would not be fought primarily or even secondarily for that reason, and that our governments were obviously lying to us about their rationale for invasion. Today, after at least 150.000 people have died and several Western democracies (including Denmark) have compromised themselves, all of this may seem moot, of course. Still, our armies leaving Iraq was a necessary step to for things to improve for everyone.


  • Hitchens. Sudhir Hazareesingh’s critical take on the the writer’s career in this TLS review of his autobiography from last year, Hitch-22, is a fine corrective to those (of us) who tended to overlook the bad in favor of the good in his work. Supplement with Jonathan Freedland’s critique of his and Martin Amis’ stances on Iraq and the so-called War on Terror from the NYRB. D.D. Guttenplan in his Nation review of Hitch-22 provides a more sympathetic and comprehensive overview of Hitchens’ life. Most importantly, and lest we forget that Hitchens was an inquisitive and sensitive writer, read his last column for Vanity Fair, published last week. It’s a killer.
  • Mohammed el Gorani’s Guantánamo Diary. The LRB offers extracts of this, the youngest former prisoner at Camp X-Ray. I don’t know how verifiable it is, but it is hair-raising reading.
  • Robinson and Simon. Two notable figures of the American so-called Golden Age of comics, Jerry Robinson and Joe Simon died within a week of each other. Revisit their remarkable careers in Gary Groth’s in-depth interviews with them here and here. His magazine, The Comics Journal, also has a couple of obituaries up: Robinson, Simon.
  • Danske læsere: Ralf Christensen har besøgt Red Bull Music Academy og øjner nogle musikalske fremtidsperspektiver.
  • 1 Comment

    1. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, right?
      That doesn’t mean that an omelet is what should be made though.
      And it doesn’t mean that the highly inefficient military doctrine of the U.S.A. is the best way of breaking those eggs, or so it seems to me.

      Highly inefficient meaning, that manned with a large amount of well-paid professionals, equipped with loads and loads of some of the better equipment that money can buy – they still don’t achieve such superiority, that they can choose who they kill, and who they don’t.

      With all that gear, all that manpower, they should be frigging untouchable, with all the clean sleekness it implies.

      Instead, they’re a ham-fisted, insecure mess, incapable of fighting a human enemy (they are, after all, the good guys), and hence, obsessed with demonizing all possible opponents.

      The only glimmer of what they should be was their disposal of Osama bin Laden.

      So, anyone who thought disposing of Saddam (a good idea) by throwing the US military at his general whereabouts – well, let’s just say that’s a bit like criticizing Habibi for the narrative, while lauding the art 😉 In other words, letting one thing cloud over another.

      But I love it when people cuss at Kissinger, so I forgive him.

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