Hitchens~ a great Atheist, but a great Rationalist??

Many atheists have appreciated Christopher Hitchens' books on religion, such as God is Not Great, and I would suspect that for quite some time (maybe the next ten to twenty years) he will be listed among the great outspoken atheists of this century~ but my question is will he be listed as a Rationalist as well???  While the two usually go hand in hand (although that could be up for debate) Hitchens' has a disturbing record of holding rather indefensible beliefs in regards to his conservative values, especially in relation to the Invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.  These views are what I refer to when I question whether he can join the ranks of great rational thinkers, and merely leave the "atheist" camp, so to speak.  Any thoughts on this?

Tags: Christopher, Hitchens, Iraq, Laden, Osama, bin

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His defense is that there is no moral equivalency (mind you that is NOT moral relativism)~ Which is absolutely absurd.  That goes to say, he sees human death as subjective within its own context.  Put simply, the way he advocates those wars is exactly the way Al-Queda justify their terrorist attacks~ that civilian deaths are abhorrent, but necessary when stopping the greater evil which is the US and its allies.  For an ideal to work in a global era, it needs to have a universal application~ his do not, and instead rely on American exceptionalism and skirting past the real issues when it comes to problems in the middle east~ most notably his refusal to address the grievances of Al-Queda and other terrorists~ he advocates just killing them.  What a rationalist should be doing is finding a solution so that terrorists don't emerge (addressing their perceived wrongs) not killing them once they do.
Hitchens does approach Afghanistan and Iraq from that mentality of not addressing the issues.  At no point have I argued for an "absolute" morality.  What I argue for is if we are to consider a groups actions against us wrong, we in turn should not be doing that to someone else.  Its hypocrisy that I argue against.  I'll start providing Hitchens quotes if this is a discussion you'd be interested in continuing.

Oh no no no, you don't put words in my mouth John D (lol).  What I'm saying is this~ if we would be un-accepting of another country violating our sovereignty (by flying in at night unannounced) and killing someone they deemed a terrorist (on american soil), then why is it acceptable for us to do it?  If we abhor the gross violations of human rights found in so many third world countries, then why do we still give support to Israel in their marginalization of the native Palestinians?  This is not moral absolutism, it is facing the reality that what we say we believe and what we do are two very different things, and that as the lone super-power in the world we should be setting an example for others, not pushing our own agenda at all costs.


Mind you, I find it somewhat offensive that you would imply I would intentionally deceive you to make a point ("by taking Hitch quotes out of context, and posting them here")  If my view of things doesn't withstand scrutiny, then so be it, my view will change~ but I do expect the same open-mindedness in return.  



That context might be suitable~ MIGHT be, if it were correct.  The fact of the matter is that we still don't have actionable evidence that Bin Laden was directly behind 9/11 (his terror profile on the FBI's most wanted list does not list 9/11 as a crime of his) and he didn't invade our territory.  However, if we hold to your standards of acceptability, we then have the right to enter any country to apprehend any criminal we deem fitting these standards~ and yet we don't accept the ability of another nation to do the same to us.  That is hypocrisy John.  Laws are made where context is the exception, not the norm~ and that the letter of the law is what is to be followed unless one is forced to violate it within said context, in which case it is applicable.  And, I should add, seeing how Pakistan harbored a terrorist (the most notable one, might I add) and likely harbor more (as well as directly supporting the Taliban in their fight against the US in Afghanistan), that seems to meet all the conditions for "context" under which we invaded other countries.  So we should be invading Pakistan, am I correct?

so then by that standard morality is determined by the overall benefit, not the individual actions to be taken.  By that token, if invading iraq and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians ends in a net benefit, it is moral~ and yet, who gets to decide what these benefits really are? how do we measure the possible outcome versus what will happen?  Have the wars resulted in a net gain for us, thus making them moral?


You are missing the point John~ you didn't have to say enter "any" country because you gave a context to work within.  "However, if we hold to your standards of acceptability, we then have the right to enter any country to apprehend any criminal we deem fitting these standards~"

This is the point, YOU are the one creating a slippery slope, not me.  You said the standards of acceptability were met~ therefore, a situation that meets said standards should thus be just as acceptable.  Your addition of "cost analysis" to the moral equation greases the slip-n-slide, so to speak, because then actions that are immoral (such as civilian casualties and collateral damage) can be justified if there is a net gain~ THAT is the downfall of this rational.

 Site me ONE instance in the Iraq/Afghan war where we have done the SAME to them???

Well, I can't~ because they haven't actually done anything against the US.  Afghanistan was invaded after they refused to release Bin Laden until Bush presented them with evidence of his culpability.  We invaded  a country over a small group of people who aren't actually affiliated with the gov't of that country.

Saddam Hussein, like Afghanistan, had nothing to do with 9/11.  Al Queda wasn't even present in the country until after we overthrew it because they presented a radical threat to Hussein's control.  All Hussein did was talk a lot of shit.  That certainly is a good reason to invade his country.  By those standards we should be in Iran and North Korea too.

Yes...We should. And may be some day no one can say. As one united world under the UN, who will not tolerate such oppressive regimes any longer on this planet, But thats not going to happen any time soon (if ever). 
That response pretty much makes my point~ that it is that mentality (really is imperialistic) that creates the terrorists in the first place.  Their grievances aren't "freedom" or "women wearing jeans" but that the US acts only in their best interest, and routinely acts against the sovereignty of other nations~ they want us out of the middle east because of our disregard for their sovereignty, and yet the people who support these wars are the same people who are perpetuating the problem and creating more terrorists, not fewer.  The only way the "hawkish" war policies that "you guys" are advocating will work is if we kill every terrorist, and cause all others to fear the US in its ability to conquer.  You, my friend, are perpetuating the cycle, not stopping it.

  First, I didnt say the US, I said as a unified world.

Second the suicide bombers and so on are not motivated by the US or any one else disrespecting their "national sovereighnty". They are fueled by hate that has been instilled in them (many) since birth, and cemented with religious extremism. So many of those who lead them ARE concerned with hiding behind "national Sovreighnty" because it protects their ability plunder,rape and kill at will. It allows them to maintain their POWER. The Libyans riding up at this moment seem to be very eager for US support or any support they can find.

I haven't forgotten that, which is why I support, to an extent, the actions the US has taken to assist them.  And yet, The Arab Spring hasn't been sparked by US actions, but by the citizenry themselves.  Should we look at the US's method of deposing dictators and tyrants by invading nations and waging wars and the results of those actions; or should we be taking a more subtle approach and facilitating the same changes through the citizens of those nations instead of our military?
My apologies, Gecko, you are right, I did misread your post.  With the support of the UN (which hasn't been typical until the last few years) a collaborative effort certainly could benefit the world, while removing the stigma from the US as being a lone imperialist.  But I must remark that the suicide bombers are not the ones we are fighting~ they are the pawns and foot soldiers (so to speak) of a much larger movement to oust the US from the middle east, along with our "allies" the Israelis.  Religion is used to facilitate the means of attack, it is not the motivation.  There has been a lot of documentation on how western influences negatively impact those people in the middle east, and how they view us~ it is that view of our actions that is creating terrorists, and unless we change that view, we are unlikely to rid ourselves of the problem.


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