Hunter S. Thompson has joined the poets in opposing possible war against Iraq. Given his ethos of retribution and reckless love affair with guns, I am surprised by his anti-war stance this time around. I hope it isn’t that his hatred of the Republicans causes him to oppose ANYTHING that may be seen as part of a “Republican” agenda.
The scanty AP report says only this:
- Thompson, who was involved in many anti-war protests during the Vietnam War and was a critic of President Nixon during the Watergate investigation, said presidents can be driven out of office.
“You can beat City Hall,” said Thompson. “I’ve been to a few of these things. I’ve become almost homesick for the smell of tear gas.”
Demonstrators carried signs reading “Give peace a chance” and “Let there be peace on Earth” and listened to speakers and a high school group performing a rap song.
“We wanted to send a message to Washington that young people are against this war,” organizer Steve Chaplain said.
Um, Thompson is not young by the way. Here is something from his ESPN column immediately following 9/11:
- We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won’t hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.
Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job — armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.
He was right about the war beginning with Iraq: the Gulf War never ended, and it is both grandly fitting and a bizarre twist of fate that the first Bush’s blunder can be at least partially rectified by the son. In addition, the fact that somewhere in our current president’s mental list of motivations for toppling Saddam is closing a loop for his father in no way diminishes the rightness of that action.
And regarding Thompson, he may have been an occasionally great writer, but judgment has never been his strong suit. This assessment by Andy Markowitz is apt:
- Longtime fans know the rest of the story. The idea of Hunter S. Thompson has long since overtaken the actual writer–the startlingly original prose stylist and satirist whose dispatches from the dark corners of American culture and politics definitively chronicled “The Sixties” and their dank hangover. When he’s not essentially portraying his epically excessive Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas alter ego in college lectures and comically appropriate brushes with the law, he’s recycling old material and regurgitating old riffs–self-parodic blurts of brutality and bile, fear and loathing signifying nothing. He’s morphed into a living Ralph Steadman cartoon. [Baltimore Citypaper]
I will give him credit for one thing, though: survival. If you would have told me 30 years ago that Hunter S. Thompson and Keith Richards would be alive and apparently thriving in 2003, I would have taken your bong away.