RR: Christopher, I'm not sure that I buy the idea that these attacks are a sign that we're actually winning the war on terror. I mean, how many more victories like this do we really want to endure?
CH: Well, it depends on how you think it started, sir. I mean, these movements had taken over Afghanistan, had very nearly taken over Algeria, in a extremely bloody war which actually was eventually won by Algerian society. They had sent death squads to try and kill my friend Salman Rushdie, for the offense of writing a novel in England. They had sent death squads to Austria and Germany, the Iranians had, for example, to try and kill Kurdish Muslim leaders there. If you make the mistake that I thought I heard you making just before we came on the air, of attributing rationality or a motive to this, and to say that it's about anything but itself, you make a great mistake, and you end up where you ended up, saying that the cause of terrorism is fighting against it, the root cause, I mean. Now, you even said, extraordinarily to me, that there was no terrorist problem in Iraq before 2003. Do you know nothing about the subject at all? Do you wonder how Mr. Zarqawi got there under the rule of Saddam Hussein? Have you ever heard of Abu Nidal?
Note Hitchen's "answer" to the first question. He tosses in a kitchen-sink-full of examples of Islamic extremism that have little to do with our current predicament. He failed to note that prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi operated out of Northern Iraq, where Saddam had no control. As bad as Abu Nidal was (he died in 2002, before the invasion), He was hardly the reason we invaded Iraq. That occurred because of the "grave threat" posed by Saddam's large collection of chemical and biological weapons and his drive to get nuclear weapons.
Christopher Hitchens is a follower of "they hate us for our freedom" school of thought. "We know very well what the 'grievances' of the jihadists are. The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London." He should read Robert Pape, who argues convincingly that their grievance is actually foreign military occupation.