IN THE NEWS
I sometimes like what Christopher Hitchens has to say about world events. He's willing to be off-beat enough to defy mainstream opinion when it becomes brain-dead, and he has enough erudition to pull out some good historical examples (or counter-examples) when appropriate.
However, Hitchens' latest piece in Slate sounds like the work of someone who needs to keep proving his gadfly credentials, even when it means crafting a rebuttal to an argument no one is making. Right, Christopher, no two historical situations are ever completely analogous. However, when people compare the 1967 South Vietnamese elections to this weekend's Iraqi elections, all they're saying is, "The fact of an election will not end the insurgency." You don't need to compare the Iraqi insurgent groups to either the Viet Cong or the Khmer Rouge, then argue which is the better comparison. See, no one is actually comparing the insurgencies--they're comparing the elections.
I know, it's tough to always come up with a deliberately provocative position. This one really didn't work.