What? Christopher Hitchens finding fault with a part of his Dear Leader's Iraq puppetry? Surely not!
But he does (at long last, too late, after too much damage):
This time, someone really does have to be fired. The revelation that Defense Department money, not even authorized by Congress for the purpose, has been outsourced to private interests and then used to plant stories in the Iraqi press is much more of a disgrace and a scandal than anyone seems so far to have said.
As Professor Corncob says, read the whole thing. No really. It's quite good; and from a different source, would elicit some hearty "well-said"s for its decency and clarity. But, alas, it comes from one of the chief propagandists of the Iraq Operation; more to the point, it comes from someone who should have known better -- who should have seen this sort of shit coming -- all along.
Now, first, Hitchens, what the fuck do you mean "this time, someone really does have to be fired"? Do you honestly expect it? Just who was fired, beyond peons, for Abu Ghraib, which you first called a "Moral Chernobyl", then shamelessly excused as "not as bad as Saddam"? Answer: no one. Who was fired for the looting of the ammo dumps and antiquities? Who was fired for cooking the intel books that got us into the war? Who, goddamn you. So what makes you think it'll happen this time?
Everything Hitchens ever needed to know about his Beloved Liberators the Bush Administration is right in front of his face. Indeed, it reveals itself even from his own pen (or keyboard). Read this ancedote Hitchens himself uses to analogise the Administration's desire to propagandise:
I remember reading, decades ago, of a moment when Richard Nixon had made some desperate speech from his bunker and had then arranged for telegrams of support to be sent to the White House. And I wondered—did he eagerly tear them open and turn moistly to his aides, saying, "See: You can always count on the horse sense of the American people"? Was he, in other words, utterly and happily insulated and yet alarmingly insane?
Yes he was, and so were his aides. And many of the worst of Nixon-Ford's lackeys are now... part of the Bush Administration. Cheney and Rumsfeld, the major architects of the stupid, cynical and bungled Iraq operation, learned from the book of Richard Fucking Nixon, so what did sensible people do when they proposed, so hurriedly, the Iraq War? They opposed it, is what, on the grounds that the Administration was composed of opportunists and kleptocrats who were bound to fuck everything up good. That's why the anti-war people never bought the humanitarian pro-war argument. Look who it came from! In what fucking universe do Donald "Let Me Shake Your Hand, Saddam" Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney qualify as humanitarian? Dirty tricks, propaganda, black bag shit, colluding with dictators when it makes a certain political class rich: these things inevitably come from the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld.
And what about the neocons? Hitchens would say that the Wolfowitzes and Perles dissented from Nixon, and so contradict my "heirs of Nixon" calculus. Actually, they do not; rather, they reinforce it. Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Richard Pipes and pretty much the whole gamut of Wohlstetter's lampreys only were opposed to Nixon-Ford-Kissinger foriegn policy in the instances when, in their view, it wasn't crazy and bloody and jingoist and deceitful enough. The fact that the Bush Administration planted fake news in the Iraqi press, the story that so vexes Hitchens that he almost appears to have awakened from his four-year drunk, is the inevitable historical product to be expected from the jackasses who comprised Team B. At least, some of us expected it. Fools like Hitchens affect to be blindsided by it.
I wonder what Lenin's take will be. Sonic's is already up.
Update: Why will no heads roll over the planted Iraq "journalism" (and they won't, Steven Hadley said as much Sunday morning)? The answer is ideological. Read this. Hitchens might have thrown in with other former Trotskyists, but under the existing left-right conditions in the US political climate, he ended up with a bunch of Stalinists. And came to resemble them.