2002 November 11 Monday
Christopher Hitchens Defends "Armchair Warriors"

Christopher takes on the use of "armchair" as a term of deprecation:

You've heard it all right. The concept embodied in the contemptuous usage is this: someone who wants intervention in, say, Iraq ought to be prepared to go and fight there. An occasional corollary is that those who have actually seen war are not so keen to urge it.

The first thing to notice about this propaganda is how archaic it is. The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians. Thus, while I was traveling last year in Pakistan, on the Afghan border and in Kashmir, and this year in the gulf, my wife was fighting her way across D.C., with the Pentagon in flames, to try and collect our daughter from a suddenly closed school, was attempting to deal with anthrax in our mailbox, was reading up on the pros and cons of smallpox vaccinations, and was coping with the consequences of a Muslim copycat loony who'd tried his hand as a suburban sniper. Should things ever become any hotter, it would be far safer to be in uniform in Doha, Qatar, or Kandahar, Afghanistan, than to be in an open homeland city. It is amazing that this essential element of the crisis should have taken so long to sink into certain skulls.

Exactly right Christopher. When civilians are targetted there is no separate distant war zone where the professional soldiers go off to fight a clearly identified enemy. To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is among us.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 11 11:29 PM 


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