Like Christopher Hitchens, Nat Hentoff is a quirky leftist – for example Hentoff is anti-abortion – and like Hitchens Hentoff is pro-war, or at least anti anti-war:
- I participated in many demonstrations against the Vietnam War, including some civil disobedience – though I was careful not to catch the eyes of the cops, sometimes a way of not getting arrested. But I could not participate in the demonstrations against the war on Iraq. As I told The New York Sun in its March 14-16 roundup of New Yorkers for and against the war:
“There was the disclosure . . . when the prisons were briefly opened of the gouging of eyes of prisoners and the raping of women in front of their husbands, from whom the torturers wanted to extract information. . . . So if people want to talk about containing [Saddam Hussein] and don’t want to go in forcefully and remove him, how do they propose doing something about the horrors he is inflicting on his people who live in such fear of him?”
I did not cite “weapons of mass destruction.” Nor do I believe Saddam Hussein is a direct threat to this country, any more than the creators of the mass graves in the Balkans were, or the Taliban. And as has been evident for a long time, I am no admirer of George W. Bush.
The United Nations? Did the inspectors go into the prisons and the torture chambers? Would they have, if given more time? Did they interview the Mukhabarat, Saddam’s dreaded secret police?
….The United Nations? Where Libya, Syria, and Sudan are on the Human Rights Commission? The UN is crucial for feeding people and trying to deal with such plagues as AIDS; but if you had been in a Hussein torture chamber, would you, even in a state of delirium, hope for rescue from the UN Security Council?
From Amnesty International, for whom human rights are not just a slogan, on Iraq: “Common methods of physical torture included electric shocks or cigarette burns to various parts of the body, pulling out fingernails, rape. . . . Two men, Zaher al-Zuhairi and Fares Kadhem Akia, reportedly had their tongues cut out for slandering the president by members of Feda’iyye Saddam, a militia created in 1994. The amputations took place in a public square in Diwaniya City, south of Baghdad.”
….The letters section of The New York Times is sometimes more penetrating than the editorials. A March 23 letter from Lawrence Borok: “As someone who was very active in the [anti-Vietnam War] protests, I think that the antiwar activists are totally wrong on this one. Granted, President Bush’s insensitive policies in many areas dear to liberals (I am one) naturally make me suspicious of his motives. But even if he’s doing it for all the wrong reasons, have they all forgotten about the Iraqi people?” [Village Voice]
As I have stated before, I don’t care about the administration’s “real motives,” nor do I care about who did what to whom in the past. It makes not the tiniest difference if the US did or did not supoort Saddam at any point: what matters is now, and in the now the right thing to do is to overthrow the inhumanly brutal in Iraq and give the people there a new lease on life.
Inspections would not accomplish this, waiting around for the Iraqis to do it themselves would not accomplish this, nothing but a military invasion would accomplish this, and that invasion will very shortly reach that goal.