Hitchens not Drunk, Only an Asinine Thief
I’m told Andrew Sullivan is saying that he was at Hitchens’s house when Hitchens stole my private mail and published it without my permission, and that he was sober, and that I owe Hitchens an apology.
I am very sorry to hear this. Hitchens came drunk to my talk last year and was incoherent. I was making excuses for his shocking lapse of simple journalistic integrity by hoping that it was the outcome of besotted judgement. If Sullivan is correct, then Hitchens is just plain without any ethics.
At my talk at Georgetown in January 2005, I mentioned that the Communists in Iraq defined the Baath Party as fascist. When Hitchens came up afterwards to the microphone, he uttered a rapid-fire set of somewhat incoherent critiques. He instanced Rashid Ali al-Kailani and asked how I could say that only the Communists spoke of the Baath as fascists. He did not actually allow me to answer his diarrheac question-flow.
In any case, I had not said that it was only the Communists who so defined the Baath.
And, Rashid Ali was not a Baathist, and he engaged in his pro-Axis politics before the Baath Party had been invented. I believe there may be a videotape if he would like to contest what I am saying. We could review his performance, perhaps even post it to the Web.
Hitchens does not know very much about Iraq, but this sort of silly error was owing to his judgment having been damaged by drink. People saw him swigging away in the hallway before he entered the hall. That is why the point about his drinking problem is not ad hominem. It is germane to his failing faculties and increasingly immoral behavior.
I had so hoped that the purloined email and the bizarre characterization of my argument, and the attempt of this Western journalist who is clueless about reading Persian texts to correct my philology, was the mere result of too many whiskey sours taken too early in the morning.
I see that instead it is mere asininity and lack of character. Thanks to Sullivan for settling the issue.