Hitchens's Pain Over Iraq

One of the darkest stains on Christopher Hitchens’s legacy is his support for the Iraq War. Andrew Sullivan, a close friend of Hitchens who also mistakenly supported the war, attended a memorial service for him and reported back:

[Martin] Amis spoke of Christopher’s private struggle with his embrace of the Iraq war. He never recanted as I did. Indeed, one of our more heated recent chats was over his enthusiasm for a new war against Iran. But the idea that he did not feel the pain of isolation, of misjudgment, that this humane man was immune to the suffering that this horrifying war entailed for so many innocents, and took no personal responsibility for it, is untrue. He told Martin that in the period when the war was at its worst, he was in a “world of pain.” Being a contrary public writer, being prepared to lose friends over principle, challenging one’s own “side”, and forever braced for battle, takes a toll. Hitch bore it with great aplomb. That does not mean he had nothing to bear.

And despite Sullivan’s Christianity, he expressed some sincere appreciation for the value of Hitchens’s attack on religion:

Of course, I do not believe Hitch has disappeared from reality. But even if he has, his example raises all our standards, and begs for us to follow him in slaying sacred cows with wit and merciless accuracy. He inspired love in so many for one reason. He was true to himself, and he loved the world. And what was so truly moving about his final years – especially in his campaign against religion – was how much, how overwhelmingly, so many who never even met him loved him, and I mean loved him, back.

Read more, including Hitchens’s last words.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.