Christopher Hitchens. Polemicist. Certainly an apt description of one of times most talented, erudite, and perplexing wordsmiths. Hitchens has an uncanny ability to annoy just about everyone, but always to the delight of everyone else. His world view is perplexing, defying any convenient label. In his obituary on Osama bin Laden he not only skewers those in the West who hold the late al-Qaeda leader as a sort of latter-day Che Guevara, but properly frames the conflict. In this, his argument is not far afield from that of Victor Davis Hanson. This is not a "war against terrorism", this is a battle to preserve the Western way of life. bin Ladenism, in Hitchens' view, has succeeded in the same way that Hitler and Nazi fascism thrived. In buoying the hopes of the disenfranchised he has helped perpetuate abject poverty, the treatment of women as chattel, and an extreme fundamentalist religion.
In typical Hitchens fashion he pulls no punches, landing hard blows simultaneously against "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the misogynistic views of fundamental Islam. In this brief, yet pungent article, Hitchens posits that we have made more of bin Laden than he deserves and that bin Laden himself, far from being an educated mastermind of terror, made the grievous error of waking the sleeping giant, a misstep that caused not only his death and those of his followers, but countless innocents, often at the hands of al-Qaeda itself.
Christopher Hitchens, who became an American citizen following the tragedy of September 11th, is simply an American treasure.