On the gossipy, weird, and telling side, here’s Michael Totten’s account of a conversation between Hitchens, some Iraqis, and himself.
Christopher Hitchens said to Ghassan Atiyyah: ‘If the Iraqis were to elect either a Sunni or Shia Taliban, we would not let them take power.’ And of course he was right. We didn’t invade Iraq so we could midwife the birth of yet another despicable tyranny. ‘One man, one vote, one time’ isn’t anything remotely like a democracy.
But Atiyyah would have none of that. He exploded in furious rage. ‘So you’re my colonial master now, eh?!’ You have to understand – this man’s voice really carries.
Suddenly, Atiyyah did have defenders at the table. I could see that coming in the shocked expressions on the faces of the other Iraqis when they heard what Hitchens said. Ahman al Rikaby, intriguingly, was an exception. He just looked at Atiyyah with a cold and sober stoicism. But Hitchens had a defender, too. He had me.
‘I agree with Christopher,’ I said. ‘We didn’t invade Iraq to let it turn into another Iran.’ I knew damn well all the Iraqis at the table were staunch opponents of religious fascism. This shouldn’t have been a point of contention. But, boy, was it ever.
‘Who the hell are you?’ Atiyyah said to Hitchens as if I weren’t the last one to speak.”