Political views of Christopher Hitchens
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Christopher Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was a British-American author, polemicist, debater and journalist who in his youth took part in demonstrations against the Vietnam War, joined organisations such as the International Socialists while at university and began to identify as a socialist. However, after the 11 September attacks he no longer regarded himself as a socialist and his political thinking became largely dominated by the issue of defending civilization from terrorists and against the totalitarian regimes that protect them. Hitchens nonetheless continued to identify as a Marxist, endorsing the materialist conception of history, but believed that Karl Marx had underestimated the revolutionary nature of capitalism. He sympathized with libertarian ideals of limited state interference, but considered libertarianism not to be a viable system. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, he supported the independent candidate Ralph Nader. After 9/11, Hitchens advocated the invasion of Iraq. In the 2004 election, he very slightly favored the incumbent Republican President George W. Bush or was neutral and in 2008 he favored the Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
- 1 Political orientation
- 1.1 First principles
- 1.2 British republicanism
- 1.3 Labour Party
- 1.4 Northern Ireland
- 1.5 Libertarianism and capitalism
- 1.6 Objectivism
- 1.7 Marxism and socialism
- 1.8 American presidential endorsements
- 1.9 The American Revolution
- 2 Foreign policy
- 2.1 Bosnian War
- 2.2 Gulf War
- 2.3 Israeli−Palestinian conflict
- 2.4 Kurdistan
- 2.5 War on terror
- 2.6 Lebanon
- 3 Domestic policy
- 4 Religion
- 5 Women
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Alexander Linklater has summarized Hitchens' basic intellectual outlook as follows:
One of [Hitchens'] old strongholds [was] the 17th-century contest between king and parliament of the English civil war. For Hitchens, the Cromwellian revolt represents not just the foundational struggle for parliamentary rule, but the great rejection of divine right. ... But he is no optimistic Enlightenment rationalist. He identifies himself with Thomas Paine's disillusion at the French terror, and Rosa Luxemburg's famous warning to Lenin about the inexorability of one-man rule. He retains, however, from his Marxist youth an intellectual absolutism and a disdain for liberal dilemmas and trade-offs – hence a brutal assault on Isaiah Berlin's genteel liberalism in a 1998 essay. He is incurious about what religious belief feels like, or what meaning it has for millions of people – even though, unlike his co-anti-religionist Richard Dawkins, Hitchens concedes that religious feeling is ineradicable.
Hitchens was a vocal supporter of republicanism in the United Kingdom, advocating the abolition of the monarchy, and in 1990 published the book-long polemic The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish. His 1998 documentary Princess Diana: The Mourning After accused the British media of playing an essential role in creating a national, unchallengeable, and at times hysterical cult of personality surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, whereas previously they had been extremely critical of her and the monarchy after she had separated and divorced from Charles, Prince of Wales, and was having an affair with Egyptian billionaire son Dodi Fayed. Hitchens claimed the public were behaving irrationally, and that many appeared to not even know why they were mourning. He also scrutinised the level of censorship against criticism of Diana and the monarchy but was accused, in a review by The Independent, of exaggerating on this point.
In 1965, Hitchens joined the Labour Party on the very first day he was eligible to vote, but along with the majority of the Labour students' organization was expelled in 1967, because of what Hitchens called "Prime Minister Harold Wilson's contemptible support for the war in Vietnam". Since then he stated he had "re-enlisted a few times" back into the Labour Party. In a 2001 interview with Reason, he said, in 1979, that even though he was a member of the Labour Party, that he wasn't going to vote for the Labour Party, nor could he bring himself to "vote conservative." He didn't vote at all in that election. He also stated that by not voting for the Labour Party he was effectively voting for Margaret Thatcher to win, which he said he had "secretly hoped would happen." In a 2005 Vanity Fair article, he endorsed Tony Blair in the 2005 general election, mainly due to his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In a 2009 Slate article, he described that in the late 1970s the Labour Party moved to the right and stated that the downfall of the Labour Party was when Gordon Brown became the Prime Minister.
During a debate with George Galloway in 2005, Hitchens revealed that he was "a lifelong supporter of the reunification of Ireland," and was critical of Galloway's opposing views on the war, as well as his "insulting" attitude towards the U.S. Senate. Many times, when discussing "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, Hitchens would refer to their location as simply "Ireland", rather than "Northern Ireland", as for example in an article written for Slate in 2007, discussing the power-sharing and devolved government in Northern Ireland and describing it as "an agreement to divide the spoils of Ireland's six northeastern counties". During the IRA bombing campaigns on Great Britain, which began in the nineteen-seventies, Hitchens claimed that he had "kept two sets of books: I didn’t like bombs, I didn’t like the partition of Ireland."
Libertarianism and capitalism
In a 2001 interview with Reason, Hitchens said he had been interested in libertarian ideas when he was younger, but set aside those interests in the 1960s. He stated that capitalism had become the more revolutionary economic system, and he welcomed globalisation as "innovative and internationalist", but added, "I don't think that the contradictions, as we used to say, of the system, are by any means all resolved." He also stated that he had a renewed interest in the freedom of the individual from the state, but that he still considered libertarianism "ahistorical" both on the world stage and in the work of creating a stable and functional society, adding that libertarians are "more worried about the over-mighty state than the unaccountable corporation" whereas "the present state of affairs ... combines the worst of bureaucracy with the worst of the insurance companies." He also said that libertarians did not have a clear foreign policy stance.
In a 2001 C-SPAN appearance, he told a caller:
If you are a libertarian you may find some nourishment in my book Letters to a Young Contrarian where I say that in the same breath as I-as I mourn the decay of some of my socialist allegiances that deep down I've always been a sympathizer of the libertarian anti-statist point of view. And one of the things that attracted me to socialism in the beginning was the idea of withering away of the state.
In a 2001 interview with Reason, Hitchens said he became a Marxist and a Trotskyist in his teens, beliefs that further developed during his time at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1966, he was demonstrating in Trafalgar Square against the Vietnam War. In 1967, he joined the International Socialists while at Balliol College, Oxford. Under the influence of Peter Sedgwick, who translated the writings of Russian revolutionary and Soviet dissident Victor Serge, Hitchens forged an ideological interest in Trotskyist and anti-Stalinist socialism. Shortly after he joined "a small but growing post-Trotskyist Luxemburgist sect". He became a socialist "largely [as] the outcome of a study of history, taking sides ... in the battles over industrialism and war and empire." He was also drawn into the political left by his anger over the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, racism and "oligarchy", including that of "the unaccountable corporation." He also said in the same interview with Reason that he could no longer say "I am a socialist". Socialists, he claimed, had ceased to offer a positive alternative to the capitalist system.
In 2006, in a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania debating the Jewish Tradition with Martin Amis, Hitchens commented on his political philosophy by stating, "I am no longer a socialist, but I still am a Marxist". In a June 2010 interview with The New York Times, he stated that "I still think like a Marxist in many ways. I think the materialist conception of history is valid. I consider myself a very conservative Marxist". In 2009, in an article for The Atlantic entitled "The Revenge of Karl Marx", Hitchens frames the late-2000s recession in terms of Marx's economic analysis and notes how much Marx admired the capitalist system that he called for the end of, but says that Marx ultimately failed to grasp how revolutionary capitalist innovation was. Hitchens was an admirer of Che Guevara, yet in an essay written in 1997, he distanced himself from Che, and referred to the mythos surrounding him as a "cult". In 2004 he re-emphasized his positive view of Che, commenting that "[Che's] death meant a lot to me and countless like me at the time. He was a role model, albeit an impossible one for us bourgeois romantics insofar as he went and did what revolutionaries were meant to do – fought and died for his beliefs."
He continued to regard Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin as great men, and the October Revolution as a necessary event in the modernisation of Russia. In 2005, Hitchens praised Lenin's creation of "secular Russia" and his attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church, describing the church's power as "absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition".
American presidential endorsements
President Bill Clinton
Hitchens became increasingly disenchanted by the presidency of Bill Clinton, accusing him of being a rapist and a liar. Hitchens said the missile attacks by Clinton on Sudan constituted a war crime.
2000 United States presidential election
Hitchens supported Ralph Nader in the 2000 US presidential election. He elaborated on his support for Nader in a discussion with Eric Alterman on Bloggingheads.tv, indicating that he was disenchanted with the candidacy of both George W. Bush and Al Gore.
President George Bush
Prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001, and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Hitchens was critical of President George W. Bush's "non-interventionist" foreign policy. He also criticised Bush's support for intelligent design and capital punishment. Hitchens defended Bush's post-11 September foreign policy, but he also criticised the actions of US troops in Abu Ghraib and Haditha, and the US government's use of waterboarding, which, after voluntarily undergoing it, he argued was definitely torture.
2004 United States presidential election
Hitchens supported George W. Bush in the 2004 US presidential election. He made a brief return to The Nation just before the election and wrote that he was "slightly" for Bush; shortly afterwards, Slate polled its staff on their positions on the candidates and mistakenly printed Hitchens's vote as pro-John Kerry. Hitchens shifted his opinion to "neutral", saying: "It's absurd for liberals to talk as if Kristallnacht is impending with Bush, and it's unwise and indecent for Republicans to equate Kerry with capitulation. There's no one to whom he can surrender, is there? I think that the nature of the jihadist enemy will decide things in the end".
2008 United States presidential election
Hitchens supported Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. In an article for Slate he stated, "I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that 'issue' I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity." He was critical of both main party candidates, Obama and John McCain, but wrote that Obama would be the better choice. Hitchens went on to call McCain "senile", and his choice of running mate Sarah Palin "absurd", calling Palin a "pathological liar" and a "national disgrace". Hitchens also wrote that "Obama is greatly overrated" and that the Obama-Biden ticket "show[s] some signs of being able and willing to profit from experience".
The American Revolution
After his disenchantment with socialism, Hitchens increasingly emphasized the centrality of the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution to his political philosophy. As early as 2002, Hitchens wrote, "as the third millennium gets under way, and as the Russian and Chinese and Cuban revolutions drop below the horizon, it is possible to argue that the American revolution, with its promise of cosmopolitan democracy, is the only ‘model’ revolution that humanity has left to it". His enthusiasm for the U.S. Bill of Rights contrasts with a dim opinion of constitutional politics on the other side of the Atlantic. Hitchens notes, "the utter failure [of the EU] to compose a viable constitution" and the "brevity of the British constitution, perhaps because the motherland of the English-speaking peoples has absent-mindedly failed to evolve one in written form".
Hitchens cited the Bosnian War as monumentally changing his views on military intervention, commenting that for the first time he found himself on the side of neoconservatives. In an interview with Johann Hari he said:
That war in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution [sic] of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent – or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought – destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position – leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that – like Chomsky – looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
Hitchens argued that the choice in Yugoslavia was between a multi-ethnic plural democracy led by Muslim president Alija Izetbegović in Bosnia and a fascistic, nationalistically inspired ethnically-cleansed state driven by Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević. He called Milošević a fascist and a "national-socialist", and condemned his war crimes in the Yugoslav Wars. He considered the Croatian nationalist president Franjo Tudjman "equally disgusting" for colluding with Milošević on a partition of Bosnia and empowering Croatian war criminals. In God Is Not Great, he wrote about Christian Orthodox Serbian and Roman Catholic Croatian nationalism- and religion-inspired crimes against the Muslim Bosnians, at the hands of proponents of "Greater Serbia" and Croatian "revived Ustashe formations" during this period which are "often forgotten". He was highly critical of Western inaction in protection of Bosnian Muslims, partially blaming this on the Clinton administration and specifically Hillary Clinton.
In effect, the extremist Catholic and Orthodox forces were colluding in a bloody partition and cleansing of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were, and still are, largely spared the public shame of this, because the world's media preferred the simplification of "Croat" and "Serb," and only mentioned religion when discussing "the Muslims." But the triad of terms "Croat," "Serb," and "Muslim" is unequal and misleading, in that it equates two nationalities and one religion. (The same blunder is made in a different way in coverage of Iraq, with the "Sunni-Shia-Kurd" trilateral.)
Hitchens deplored and opposed the 1990–91 Gulf War in which the US expelled Iraq from Kuwait after a seven-month invasion and occupation of its neighbor undertaken in an effort to absorb it as its 19th province. He contended that President George H. W. Bush's supposedly principled enthusiasm for the "cause" of "liberating" Kuwait was nothing more than realpolitik. In the continuation of a national policy dating back to Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon in 1972, the latest "cause was yet another move in the policy of keeping a region divided and embittered, and therefore accessible to the franchisers of weaponry and the owners of black gold".
However, after the war, Hitchens scolded those within the US who had opposed the war by observing that "the peace movement in this country in my opinion acted in a very narrow, isolationist, and almost chauvinistic way. It said that a war was more or less alright with it as long as it could be guaranteed in advance that American casualties could be kept low... I thought that was a dishonourably narrow way of approaching the question. ... When large numbers of Iraqis were turned into soap...and many others, as we've since found out, were bulldozed and buried alive and in other ways done away with and people don't even want to think about the body count ...because they’re afraid of what they might find out."
Hitchens described Zionism as being based on Herzl's "initial demagogic lie (actually two lies) that a land without a people needs a people without a land." He went further, saying "Zionism is a form of Bourgeoisie Nationalism" when debating the Jewish Tradition with Martin Amis at a Town hall function in Pennsylvania" Hitchens supported Israel's right to exist, but argued that "one must not insult or degrade or humiliate people" and that he "would be opposed to this maltreatment of the Palestinians if it took place on a remote island with no geopolitical implications".
Hitchens described Zionism as "an ethno-nationalist quasi-religious ideology" but argued that Zionism "nonetheless has founded a sort of democratic state which isn't any worse in its practice than many others with equally dubious origins." He stated that Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory in order to achieve security for Israel is "doomed to fail in the worst possible way", and the cessation of this "appallingly racist and messianic delusion" would "confront the internal clerical and chauvinist forces which want to instate a theocracy for Jews". Hitchens contended that the "solution of withdrawal would not satisfy the jihadists" and wondered "What did they imagine would be the response of the followers of the Prophet [Muhammad]?" Hitchens bemoaned the transference of Arab secularism into religious terrorism as a means of democratisation: "the most depressing and wretched spectacle of the past decade, for all those who care about democracy and secularism, has been the degeneration of Palestinian Arab nationalism into the theocratic and thanatocratic hell of Hamas and Islamic Jihad". He maintained that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a "trivial squabble" that has become "so dangerous to all of us" because of "the faith-based element."
On 14 November 2004, Hitchens noted:
Edward Said asked many times, in public and private, where the Mandela of Palestine could be. In rather bold contrast to this decent imagination, Arafat managed to be both a killer and a compromiser (Mandela was neither), both a Swiss bank account artist and a populist ranter (Mandela was neither), both an Islamic "martyrdom" blow-hard and a servile opportunist, and a man who managed to establish a dictatorship over his own people before they even had a state (here one simply refuses to mention Mandela in the same breath).
Hitchens had previously collaborated on this issue with Edward Said, publishing the 1988 book Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question.
A review of his autobiography Hitch-22 in The Jewish Daily Forward refers to Hitchens "at the time [that he had learned that his grandparents were Jews, he had been] a prominent anti-Zionist" and says that he viewed Zionism "as an injustice against the Palestinians". Others have commented on his anti-Zionism as well. At other times for example speaking at 2nd annual Memorial for Daniel Pearl, and in print in an article for The Atlantic he had made comments against the terrorism against Jews in the Middle East. Hitchens stated "But the Jews of the Arab lands were expelled again in revenge for the defeat of Palestinian nationalistic aspirations, in 1947–48, and now the absolute most evil and discredited fabrication of Jew-baiting Christian Europe – The Protocols of the Elders of Zion – is eagerly promulgated in the Hamas charter and on the group's Web site and recycled through a whole nexus of outlets that includes schools as well as state-run television stations".
In Slate magazine, Hitchens pondered the notion that, instead of curing antisemitism through the creation of a Jewish state, "Zionism has only replaced and repositioned" it, saying: "there are three groups of 6 million Jews. The first 6 million live in what the Zionist movement used to call Palestine. The second 6 million live in the United States. The third 6 million are distributed mainly among Russia, France, Britain, and Argentina. Only the first group lives daily in range of missiles that can be (and are) launched by people who hate Jews." Hitchens argued that instead of supporting Zionism, Jews should help "secularise and reform their own societies", believing that unless one is religious, "what the hell are you doing in the greater Jerusalem area in the first place?" Indeed, Hitchens claimed that the only justification for Zionism given by Jews is a religious one.
Hitchens was a longtime observer of the cruelty of Saddam Hussein and publicly called for his removal, albeit only beginning in 1998. This led him to support the establishment of a self-governing state for the Kurds with political autonomy, if not full independence.
During the many years I spent on the Left, the cause of self-determination for Kurdistan was high on the list of principles and priorities – there are many more Kurds than there are Palestinians and they have been staunch fighters for democracy in the region.
War on terror
September 11 attacks
In the months following the 9/11 attacks, Hitchens and Noam Chomsky debated the nature of radical Islam and the proper response to it in a highly charged exchange of letters in The Nation, including discussion of whether any comparison could be legitimately made between the 9/11 attacks and the 1998 Al Shifa bombing by the US. Approximately a year after the 9/11 attacks and his exchanges with Chomsky, Hitchens left The Nation, claiming that its editors, readers and contributors considered John Ashcroft a bigger threat than Osama bin Laden, and were making excuses on behalf of Islamist terrorism; in the following months he wrote articles increasingly at odds with his former colleagues.
War in Afghanistan
Hitchens' employed the term "Islamofascist" and supported the Iraq War causing his critics to consider him a "neoconservative". Hitchens, however, refused to embrace this designation, insisting, "I'm not any kind of conservative". In 2004, Hitchens stated that neoconservative support for US intervention in Iraq convinced him that he was "on the same side as the neo-conservatives" when it came to contemporary foreign policy issues, and characterized himself as an unqualified "supporter of Paul Wolfowitz." He referred to his associations as "temporary neocon allies". In this period he opined that "the Bush administration [...] has redefined the lazy term 'conservative' to mean someone who is impatient with the status quo."
In the years after the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie in response to his novel The Satanic Verses, Hitchens became increasingly critical of what he called "excuse making" on the left. At the same time, he was attracted to the foreign policy ideas of some on the Republican-right that promoted pro-liberalism intervention, especially the neoconservative group that included Paul Wolfowitz. Around this time, he befriended the Iraqi dissident and businessman Ahmed Chalabi.
Christopher Hitchens argued the case for the Iraq War in a 2003 collection of essays entitled A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq, and participated in public debates on the topic with George Galloway, Scott Ritter, and his brother Peter Hitchens. In its obituary of Hitchens, The Economist wrote that, "on the most consequential political issue of the last decade of his life, the bullshit got him."
Human rights violations at Abu Ghraib and Haditha
Hitchens criticised human rights abuses by US forces in Iraq but argued that conditions had improved considerably compared either to Saddam Hussein's previous regime or to previous US military actions in Vietnam.
In 2005, Hitchens criticised the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib but argued that overall "prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad", arguing that "before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp."
In a 5 June 2006 article on the alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Hitchens argued that whether or not a massacre had taken place, comparisons with the My Lai massacre in Vietnam were "so much propaganda and hot air" that ignored substantial changes in the rules of engagement and US Army procedures and training designed to prevent and discourage such an event. He argued that lesson had been learned such that "as a consequence, a training film about My Lai – "if anything like this happens, you have really, truly screwed up" – has been in use for U. S. soldiers for some time".
Pre-war American and British Intelligence
In a variety of articles and interviews, Hitchens asserted that British intelligence was correct in claiming that Saddam had attempted to buy uranium from Niger, and that US envoy Joseph Wilson had been dishonest in his public denials of it. He also pointed to discovered munitions in Iraq that violated U. N. Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687, the cease-fire agreements ending the 1991 Iraq-Kuwait conflict.
On 19 March 2007, Hitchens asked himself whether Western intelligence sources should have known that Iraq had 'no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.' In his response, Hitchens stated that:
The entire record of UNSCOM until that date had shown a determination on the part of the Iraqi dictatorship to build dummy facilities to deceive inspectors, to refuse to allow scientists to be interviewed without coercion, to conceal chemical and biological deposits, and to search the black market for material that would breach the sanctions. The defection of Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law, the Kamel brothers, had shown that this policy was even more systematic than had even been suspected. Moreover, Iraq did not account for – has in fact never accounted for – a number of the items that it admitted under pressure to possessing after the Kamel defection. We still do not know what happened to this weaponry. This is partly why all Western intelligence agencies, including French and German ones quite uninfluenced by Ahmad Chalabi, believed that Iraq had actual or latent programs for the production of WMD. Would it have been preferable to accept Saddam Hussein's word for it and to allow him the chance to re-equip once more once the sanctions had further decayed?
In July 2007, the New Statesman printed selected portions of a 1976 piece by Hitchens which they claimed "took a more admiring view of the Iraqi dictator" than his later strong support for ousting Saddam Hussein. In this Hitchens pointed to Iraq's military strength, oil reserves and young leadership to argue that Iraq was "a force to be reckoned with" and described Saddam Hussein as a leader "who has sprung from being an underground revolutionary gunman to perhaps the first visionary Arab statesman since Nasser." He also argued:
Iraq, which has this dynamic combination and much else besides, has not until recently been very much regarded as a power. But with the new discussions in OPEC, the ending of the Kurdistan war and the new round of fighting in Lebanon, its political voice is being heard more and more. The Baghdad regime is the first oil-producing government to opt for 100-per-cent nationalisation, a process completed with the acquisition of foreign assets in Basrah last December. It was the first to call for the use of oil as a political weapon against Israel and her backers. It gives strong economic and political support to the 'Rejection Front' Palestinians who oppose Arafat's conciliation and are currently trying to outface the Syrians in Beirut.
He argued that the means through which the Baathist regime rose to power were similar to that of Iran: having crushed any political dissent and notions of an independent Kurdish state. He stated that the Ba'ath party "point to efforts made by the party press to stimulate criticism of revolutionary shortcomings" but that these "fall rather short of permitting any organised opposition". He claimed that Iraq defended this by claiming "that the country is surrounded by enemies and attacked by imperialist intrigue" but that this had led to the repression of Kurdish nationalists.
Hitchens was asked by Vanity Fair to experience waterboarding for himself at a U.S. Army training facility. In May 2008, Hitchens voluntarily underwent the procedure. Hitchens stopped the procedure after 11 seconds and subsequently endorsed the view that it was "torture." He concluded, "If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."
Hitchens described Lebanon as "the most plural society in the region" and criticized the Syrian regime for continuing to manipulate the country by proxies and by surrogates notably Hezbollah and the SSNP.
In an article written on Slate, Hitchens stated:
"In Greek legend there was a fighter named Antaeus who drew strength from the earth even when he was flung down. It took Hercules to work out his vulnerability as a wrestler. Hezbollah loves death, thrives on defeat and disaster, and is rapidly moving from being a state within a state to becoming the master of what was once the most cosmopolitan and democratic country in the Middle East. Meanwhile, a former superpower – no Hercules – is permitting itself to be made a hostage and laughing-stock by a squalid factional fight within the Israeli right wing involving the time and scale of petty land theft by zealots and fanatics. Only a few years from now, this, too, will seem hard to believe, as well as shameful and unpardonable."
Hitchens stated, "[an] unborn child seems to me to be a real concept. It's not a growth or an appendix. You can't say the rights question doesn't come up. I don't think a woman should be forced to choose, or even can be", and, "as a materialist, I think it has been demonstrated that an embryo is a separate body and entity". Showing a desire to recognise the unborn as a life, he also affirmed a need for the right to abortion, stating, "the second-best fallback solution, which may sometimes be desirable for other reasons, is termination of pregnancy... all thinking people recognise a painful conflict of rights and interest in this question" 
Hitchens opposed the overturning of Roe v. Wade and instead hoped for science to develop new solutions to unwanted pregnancies "that will make abortion more like a contraceptive procedure than a surgical one." He strongly criticized the encouragement of sexual abstinence within the pro-life movement of the Christian right, and the equating of contraceptives to abortion, as expressed by Mother Teresa and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.
Hitchens was a lifelong opponent of capital punishment. In a 2001 interview with Reason, Hitchens recalled that this was the very first issue on which he ever decided to take a stand in his youth. The reason for his opposition to capital punishment was that it gave too much power to the government. He later publicly opposed use of the death penalty for Saddam Hussein, an issue he discussed at length in his November 2006 essay "Don't Hang Saddam" for Slate.
Hitchens has called for the abolition of the "War on Drugs," which he described as an "authoritarian war" during a debate with William F. Buckley. Hitchens favored the legalization of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and said, "Marijuana is a medicine. I have heard and read convincing arguments and had convincing testimony from real people who say that marijuana is a very useful medicine for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and for glaucoma. To keep that out of the reach of the sick, it seems to me, is sadistic".
Hitchens was a genital integrity activist, strongly criticizing the tradition of both male circumcision and female genital mutilation. In accordance with his antitheism, Hitchens described the tolerance of metzitzah b'peh (a Jewish tradition of sucking blood from the penis after the removal of the male foreskin) as "another disgusting religious practice".
Hitchens philosophically supported gun rights and was generally opposed to gun control. On the subject of the second amendment, Hitchens argued that as both an outright ban on guns and relying on a citizen militia for the national defence were equally as idealistic and utopian, and that as gun control created a duopoly of force between the state and criminals, it would be more desirable to encourage training among average citizens so they might develop a better relationship with firearms. Although Hitchens repeatedly stated a broad support for the right to keep and bear arms, he was not an enthusiastic advocate and he rarely publicly discussed his views.
Hitchens was a supporter of LGBT rights. He opposed sodomy laws and supported same-sex marriage. He argued that the legalization of same-sex marriage was the "socialization of homosexuality" and "demonstrates the spread of conservatism" among the gay community.
NSA warrantless surveillance
In January 2006, Hitchens joined with four other individuals and four organisations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Greenpeace, as plaintiffs in a lawsuit, ACLU v. NSA, challenging Bush's warrantless domestic spying program; the lawsuit was filed by the ACLU.
In God is Not Great, Hitchens contended that,
above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlightenment, which will base itself on the proposition that the proper study of mankind is man and woman [referencing Alexander Pope]. This Enlightenment will not need to depend, like its predecessors, on the heroic breakthroughs of a few gifted and exceptionally courageous people. It is within the compass of the average person. The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals, can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts that have been found to be corrupt and confected. The pursuit of unfettered scientific inquiry, and the availability of new findings to masses of people by electronic means, will revolutionize our concepts of research and development. Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone.
Hitchens was accused of "anti-Catholic bigotry" by others, including Brent Bozell and UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge. When Joe Scarborough on 12 March 2004 asked Hitchens whether he was "consumed with hatred for conservative Catholics", Hitchens responded that he was not and that he just thinks that "all religious belief is sinister and infantile".
In 2005, Hitchens praised Lenin's creation of "secular Russia" and his destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, describing it as "an absolute warren of backwardness and evil and superstition." In an interview with Radar in 2007, Hitchens said that if the Christian right's agenda were implemented in the United States "It wouldn't last very long and would, I hope, lead to civil war, which they will lose, but for which it would be a great pleasure to take part."
Hitchens was deeply shocked by the 14 February 1989 fatwa against his longtime friend Salman Rushdie. He became increasingly critical of what he called "theocratic fascism" or "fascism with an Islamic face": radical Islamists who supported the fatwa against Rushdie and sought the recreation of the medieval caliphate.
Hitchens is often credited with coining the term "Islamofascism", but Hitchens himself denied it, attributing its coinage to Malise Ruthven. Hitchens did use the term Islamic fascism for an article he wrote for The Nation, shortly after the September 11 attacks, but this phrase also had an earlier history. For example, it was used in The Washington Post on 13 January 1979; it also appears to have been used by secularists in Turkey and Afghanistan to describe their opponents.
In 2007, Hitchens wrote a highly controversial article in Vanity Fair entitled "Why Women Aren't Funny." Relying mainly on his own experience allegedly making women laugh and allegedly not being made to laugh by women, although he did acknowledge that "hefty, dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three" made up a group of "impressive ladies" who were in fact funny. Specifically, his note that a funny woman was "so rare as to be like ... a dog walking on its hind legs: the surprise is that it is done at all" was not well received by the public and has haunted his legacy. In 2008, responding to public pressure, Vanity Fair published a rebuttal by Alessandra Stanley.
- Christopher Hitchens (20 May 2010). Hitch 22: A Memoir. Atlantic Books Ltd. ISBN 9781848877535. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Christopher Hitchens: a sober perception, however much he drank". Telegraph.co.uk. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "transcript: Hitchens on the Hugh Hewitt radio program ... on immigration". Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Seymour, Richard (27 March 2012). "The late Christopher Hitchens". International Socialism (134). Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 April 2009). "The Revenge of Karl Marx". The Atlantic. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- Hitchens, Christopher (31 October 2004). "Christopher Hitchens: Why I'm voting for Bush (but only just)". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Hitchens, Christopher (13 October 2008). "Vote for Obama". Slate. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Linklater, Alexander (1 May 2008). "Christopher Hitchens". Prospect (146). Retrieved 1 June 2008.
- Hitchens, Christopher (12 June 2000). "Waving? Or drowning?". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- Nicholas Barber (30 August 1998). "Television: It's a state of total Dianarchy". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Hitchens, Christoph (25 April 2005). "Long Live Labor – Why I'm for Tony Blair". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- "Christopher Hitchens on Britain's Labour Party". Vanity Fair.
- Rhys Southan from the November 2001 issue. "Free Radical". Reason. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Galloway vs". Endusmilitarism.org. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "George Galloway debates Christopher Hitchens". Retrieved 20 November 2007.
- Applebaum, Anne (2 April 2007). "Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams make me want to spew. – Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Parker, Ian (16 October 2006). "He Knew He Was Right: How a former socialist became the Iraq war's fiercest defender". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Christopher Hitchens Expresses Affinity w/ Libertarian Principles on CSPAN 2001". YouTube.
- DAVID MASCIOTRA (1 March 2015). "Libertarianism is for petulant children: Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and the movement's sad "rebellion"". salon.com.
- Hithens, Christopher (1 January 2005). "Heaven on Earth – Interview with Christopher Hitchens". PBS. Archived from the original on 12 June 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2006.
- "Hitch-22: a memoir by Christopher Hitchens". The Independent.
- on YouTube
- Solomon, Deborah (2 June 2010). "The Contrarian". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 April 2009). "The Revenge of Karl Marx". The Atlantic. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- Hitchens, Christopher (17 July 1997). "Goodbye to All That". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- O'Hagan, Sean (11 July 2004). "Just a Pretty Face?". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2005.
- Amis, Martin (2002). Koba the Dread. Miramax. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7868-6876-6.
- Parris, Matthew (8 August 2006). "Great Lives – Leon Trotsky". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 1 September 2006.
- Hitchens, Christopher (May 2007). God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve Books, ch. 10
- Sullivan, Andrew (20 April 2012). "The Hitch Has Landed". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- "Hitchens: Clinton could sell out Blair". BBC News. 3 June 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2007.
- Hitchens, Christopher (1999). No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-85984-736-7.
- Christopher Hitchens, No One Left To Lie To (Verso, 2000)
- Alterman, Eric & Hitchens, Christopher (14 October 2008). "On Whether Christopher Hitchens Was Wrong". Bloggingheads.tv. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
- Belz, Mindy (3 April 2006). "According to Hitch". World Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 June 2006. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
- Hitchens, Christopher (5 September 2005). "A War To Be Proud Of". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 1 November 2005.
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 August 2008). "Believe Me, It's Torture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- "Video: On the Waterboard". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011.
- Hitchens, Christpher (1 November 2004). "My Endorsement and Osama's Video: The news in Bin Laden's comments had nothing to do with our election". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Tomasky, Michael (14 October 2008). "Hitchens for Obama". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Hitchens, Christopher (13 October 2008). "Vote for Obama". Slate. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Hitchens, Christopher (2002), Why Orwell Matters, Basic Books, pg 105
- Hitchens, Christopher (2007), An Anglosphere Future, City Journal, Reprinted in Arguably, page 105
- Johann – 23 September 2004 (23 September 2004). "In enemy territory? An interview with Christopher Hitchens". Johannhari.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "In Defense of WWII: Chapter 5 of 5". Youtube. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
- "Shed No Tears for Milosevic". FrontPage Magazine. 14 March 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
- Hitchens, Christopher (May 2007). God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve Books, pp. 21-23.
- Hitchens, Christopher God is not great:how religion poisons everything Hachette Book Group USA, 2007, Page 20-22
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 January 1991). "Why We Are Stuck in the Sand: Realpolitik in the Gulf". Harper's. Retrieved 1 February 2004.
- Hitchens, Christopher, "The Middle East and American Democracy", Keynote Speech, 45th Annual Conference of the Middle East Institute; Broadcast on CSPAN2, 4 October 1991. (Comments are about 37 minutes into this Youtube clip.)
- "Frontpage Interview: Christopher Hitchens Part II". Front Page Magazine. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- "Slate: Can Israel Survive for Another 60 Years?". Slate.com. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Arafat's Squalid End". Slate. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Campbell, John C. (Spring 1988). "Blaming The Victims: Spurious Scholarship And The Palestinian Question". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Hölbling, Walter; Rieser-Wohlfarter, Klaus (2004). What is American?: new identities in U.S. culture. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 351–. ISBN 978-3-8258-7734-7. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Goldstein, Evan R. (June 2010). "Born Grumpy, with a Talent for It: Christopher Hitchens's Memoir is Too Happy by Far". The Jewish Daily Forward.
- Rodden, John (2006). Every intellectual's big brother: George Orwell's literary siblings. University of Texas Press. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-0-292-71308-6. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Christopher Hitchens (11 August 2010). "Chosen". The Atlantic.
- Kerstein, Benjamin. "Christopher Hitchens's Jewish Problem". Jewish Ideas Daily. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "Christopher Hitchens talks about the Kurdish people". Youtube. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- Simon Cottee, Thomas Cushman, Christopher Hitchens (2008), Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left, page unknown (2nd of Chapter 21 I Wanted It to Rain on Their Parade).
- Christopher Hitchens Kurdish Flag, retrieved 28 September 2019
- Hitchens, Christopher (4 September 2001). "Of Sin, the Left & Islamic Fascism". The Nation. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Hitchens, Christopher (4 October 2001). "Blaming bin Laden First". The Nation. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Chomsky, Noam (1 October 2001). "Reply to Hitchens". thenation.com. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Hitchens, Christoph (4 October 2001). "A Rejoinder to Noam Chomsky". thenation.com. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Chomsky, Noam (4 October 2001). "Reply to Hitchens's Rejoinder". The Nation.
- Hitchens, Christopher (26 September 2002). "Taking Sides". The Nation. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Cockburn, Patrick (28 April 2012). "Patrick Cockburn: Christopher Hitchens made a cogent case for war – but he was still wrong". The Independent. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Tariq Ali v. Christopher Hitchens". Democracy Now. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- "The Situation Room, Nov. 1, 2006". CNN. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
- "The big showdown: Andrew Anthony on Hitchens v Galloway". The Guardian. London. 18 September 2005. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
- Hari, Johann (23 September 2004). "In Enemy Territory: An Interview with Christopher Hitchens". The Independent. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 March 2006). "The End of Fukuyama". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 2007.
- Hitchens, Christopher (27 May 2004). "Ahmad and Me". Slate. Retrieved 1 January 2005.
- "That Bleeding Heart Wolfowitz". Slate. 22 March 2005. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- "George Galloway vs Christopher Hitchens (1 of 12)". YouTube. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Christopher Hitchens versus Ritter – Iraq War debate part 1". YouTube. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Hitchens v. Hitchens: Faith, Politics & War". Grand Valley State University. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Christopher Hitchens: The struggle against bullshit" The Economist, 16 December 2011
- Hitchens, Christopher (5 June 2006). "The Hell of War". Slate. Retrieved 1 February 2007.
- Rybczynski, Witold (10 April 2006). "Wowie Zahawie". Slate. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Landsburg, Steven E. (17 April 2006). "Clueless Joe Wilson". Slate. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (19 March 2007). "So, Mr. Hitchens, weren't you wrong about Iraq?". Slate. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Hitchens, Christopher (5 July 2007). "Iraq Flexes Arab Muscle". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007. (originally published 1976)
- Hitchens, Christopher (1 August 2008). "Believe Me, It's Torture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Hitchens, Christopher (2 July 2008). "Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- God Is Not Great : Is Religion Child Abuse : Page 220
- God Is Not Great : Is Religion Child Abuse : Page 222
- Miller, Lisa (29 November 2008). "No God – And No Abortions". newsweek.com. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Preview Subtitles for Newsnight: Paxman Meets Hitchens: A Newsnight Special". TV Guide & Subtitles. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
- Hitchens, Christopher (2 January 2005). "Why we should put an end to the death penalty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Anthony, Andrew (13 November 2010). "Christopher Hitchens: 'You have to choose your future regrets'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Hitchens, Christopher (6 November 2006). "Don't Hang Saddam: Why the dictator shouldn't get the death penalty". Slate. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "YOU SAID YOU WANTED A REVOLUTION: 1968 and the Counter-Counterculture". hoover.org. Hoover Institution. 29 July 1998. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Page 571 of the book titled "atheism" by By George H. Smith. Page 571
- Hitchens, Christopher (29 August 2005). "Another disgusting religious practice". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (24 January 1994). "The Myth of Gun Control". The Nation. Retrieved 1 June 2005.
- Julian Brown (13 December 2015), Hitchens on Gun control opponents, retrieved 25 May 2016
- Christopher Hitchens (3 March 2004). "The Married State". WSJ.
- Richard Miniter (16 December 2011). "Christopher Hitchens, As I Knew Him". Forbes. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
- Lichtblau, Eric (17 January 2006). "Two Groups Planning to Sue Over Federal Eavesdropping". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "Statement – Christopher Hitchens, NSA Lawsuit Client". Aclu.org. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (7 August 1999). "Gov. Death". Salon.com. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
- "Christopher Hitchens thinks the Ohio vote was stolen". dailykos.com. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- "Christopher Hitchens vs Al Sharpton - Is god great? ". Google. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Hitchens, Christopher (May 2007). God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve Books. p. 283.
- Hood, John. "Hollowed Be Thy Name". The SunPost. Archived from the original on 21 May 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Staff (12 March 2004). "Scarborough County Transcripts". MSNBC. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- "Godless Provocateur Christopher Hitchens Pledges Allegiance to America". Holidaydmitri.com. 1 May 2007. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Craig, Hitchens ask 'Does God Exist?'". Whittier Daily News. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
- Applebaum, Anne (4 February 2006). "Cartoon Debate". Slate.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (22 October 2007). "Defending Islamofascism". Slate. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Safire, William (1 October 2006). "Islamofascism Anyone?". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
- lexi.net (2 June 2006). "Fronter Centre for Foreign Policy interview". Fcpp.org. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "God Is Not Great". Slate Magazine. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "Romney's Mormon Problem". Slate Magazine. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- "Why Women Aren't Funny". Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- "Who Says Women Aren't Funny?". Retrieved 17 January 2019.