Christopher came to believe that the people who understood the dangers posed by radical Islam were on the Right, that his erstwhile comrades on the Left were arranging with one another to miss what seemed to him like a pretty obvious point; and so, never one to do things by halves, he made what looked to many people like a U-turn across the political highway to join forces with the warmakers of George W. Bush’s administration. He became oddly enamoured of Paul Wolfowitz. One night I happened to be at his apartment in DC when Wolfowitz, who had just left the administration, stopped by for a late night drink, and proceeded to deliver a critique of the Iraq war (all Rumsfeld’s fault, apparently) which left me, at least, speechless. The Wolfowitz doctrine, Wolfowitz was saying, had not been Wolfowitz’s idea. Indeed Wolfowitz had been anti-Wolfowitz-doctrine from the beginning. This was an argument worthy of a character from Catch-22. I wondered how long Christopher would be able to tolerate such bedfellows.
Paradoxically, it was God who saved Christopher Hitchens from the Right. Nobody who detested God as viscerally, intelligently, originally and comically as C. Hitchens could stay in the pocket of god-bothered American Conservatism for long. When he bared his fangs and went for God’s jugular, just as he had previously fanged Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton, the resulting book, God Is Not Great, carried Hitch away from the American Right and back towards his natural, liberal, ungodly constituency. He became an extraordinarily beloved figure in his last years, and it was his magnificent war upon God, and then his equally magnificent argument with his last enemy, Death, that brought him “home” at last from the misconceived war in Iraq.