Daily Archives: November 12, 2002

Code Blue

There’s a particularly delicious passage in Christopher Hitchens’ latest in which he “defends” the much-maligned “Armchair Generals,” out front in the call for war with Iraq. Naturally in keeping with his current propaganda project the name of the Commander in Chief is never mentioned. But Hitchens’ wife, Carol Blue, on the other hand, takes center stage

“The first thing to notice about this propaganda is how archaic it is. The whole point of the present phase of conflict is that we are faced with tactics that are directed primarily at civilians.

Like the Iraqi peasants destined to die in our coming Holy War? Nah, they don’t rate a mention.

Thus, while I was traveling last year in, my wife was fighting her way across D.C., with the Pentagon in flames, to try and collect our daughter from a suddenly closed school, was attempting to deal with anthrax in our mailbox, was reading up on the pros and cons of smallpox vaccinations, and was coping with the consequences of a Muslim copycat loony who’d tried his hand as a suburban sniper. Should things ever become any hotter, it would be far safer to be in uniform in Doha, Qatar, or Kandahar, Afghanistan, than to be in an open homeland city. It is amazing that this essential element of the crisis should have taken so long to sink into certain skulls.

What’s amazing is Hitchens’ skill at turning his wife into an obscure object of desire in a thriller of the sort Brian DePalma is so adept at confecting. Far be it from me to declare that Mrs. Hitchens wasn’t at risk during those amazing days. In fact she may well be at similar risk now. But as she’s not a Senate Democrat any potential Anthrax threat is moot, and as Michelangelo Signorelli points out in the last section of his latest column any potential sniper threat (“Columbine Copycats” would be more a propos ) may well be academic as well. Still it would be foolish to claim that any cloud has entirely lifted, or that new ones may appear on the horizon momentarily. But why is Carol Blue privileged? The risks she may incur are available to any number of American citizens at a time when guarantees that a repetition of the events of September 11th 2001 won’t take place are hard to come by. And the reason for that have more to do with economic expenditure on the part of the airline companies as much as the Federal branch of the government than the likes of our erstwile ally Saddam Hussein.

“My wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified from utterance?”

Whoever said they were? Or does she take issue with the hubster? In that case Carol Blue may be well at risk for being handed over by her spouse to the tender mercies of Attorney General John Ashcroft, much as Julia Roberts suffered at the whims of Patrick Bergin in Sleeping with the Enemy

“And what about older comrades who can no longer shoulder a gun? What about friends of mine who are physically disabled? Should their expertise;often considerable;be set aside because they can’t ram it home with a bayonet?”

And what about Gays in the Military — the pet cause of his good buddy, The Creature From the Blog Lagoon?

Not worth mentioning either, apparently.

A fortiori what of Hitchens himself, whose journalistic duties have given him leave to travel to “Pakistan, on the Afghan border and in Kashmir, and this year in the gulf”? Surely there’s romance a-plenty there. But Hitch knows that the image of the risk-it-all reporter (captured so stunningly by Jack Nicholson in Antonioni’s scarily prescient The Passenger ) is less sympathetic than that of a Wife and Mother. Moreover what is Hitch doing in such faraway climes when his real battle is here in the states against the Fifth Columnists of the retreating — yet in his mind and that of his Free Republic allies, more powerful-than-ever — Left.

And on that note let us all pray that Mrs. Hitchens keeps the liquor cabinet well-stocked.

For her own safety.