Jon Stewart and Christopher Hitchens

Ken AshfordIraq, Right Wing Punditry/Idiocy, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

TdshitchensAs I watched "The Daily Show" last night, in which Jon Stewart debated Christopher Hitchens about the Iraq War, I thought many things:

"This is how it should be done.  None of the screaming pundits, like on Fox, MSNBC, or even CNN.  It’s intelligent AND entertaining"

"Damn, Stewart is good.  He’s going toe-to-toe with Hitchens"

"”Tell me why I’m wrong’, Stewart says.  That’s the way to ask a question"

"DAMN, Stewart is good.  I always knew he was articulate but…"

"SERIOUSLY, DAMN!  Stewart is good!"

And it went on like that.  I think it was the first time when I heard a progressive make the point — clearly — that the anti-war crowd isn’t against fighting terrorism, it’s just that we think the way Bush is conducting this war is counterproductive.

It really was an intelligent conversation, and one in which (in my view) Stewart got the best of Hitchens, who was selling the virtues of exportable democracy [read: Crusades without the God].

And it came after a wonderful send-up/analysis of Bush’s rhetoric — which amounts to nothing but repetition of the same platitudes.

I wish I had a full transcript of clip.  But for now, Wonkette’s abbreviated segment will have to suffice (yes, she was bowled over, too, although I thought Hitchens wasn’t as bad as she suggests):

Stewart: The people who say we shouldn’t fight in Iraq aren’t saying it’s our fault. . . That is the conflation that is the most disturbing. . .

Hitch: Don’t you hear people saying. . .

Stewart: You hear people saying a lot of stupid [bleep]. . . But there are reasonable disagreements in this country about the way this war has been conducted, that has nothing to do with people believing we should cut and run from the terrorists, or we should show weakness in the face of terrorism, or that we believe that we have in some way brought this upon ourselves. . .

Hitch: [Sputter]

Stewart: They believe that this war is being conducted without transparency, without credibility, and without competence…

Hitch: I’m sorry, sunshine… I just watched you ridicule the president for saying he wouldn’t give. . .

Stewart: No, you misunderstood why. . . . That’s not why I ridiculed the president. He refuses to answer questions from adults as though we were adults and falls back upon platitudes and phrases and talking points that does a disservice to the goals that he himself shares with the very people needs to convince.

[Audience erupts in applause]

Hitch: You want me to believe you’re really secretly on the side of the Bush administration. . .

Stewart: I secretly need to believe he’s on my side. He’s too important and powerful a man not to be.

Hitch: [Sputter, return to talking about his latest book.]

UPDATE:  Crooks and Liars has the vid.  I thought they might.  They note that it was "heavily requested", so I suspect others will be talking about this today.