Bad Dictator Analogies

Christopher Hitchens’ historical analogy—Saddam is to Osama as Stalin is to Hitler (or should it be “as Hitler is to Stalin”?)—is more than a bit strained. But if the comparison is valid, then it follows that invading Iraq in response to 9/11 was like invading the Soviet Union in response to Nazi Germany’s aggression against Czechoslovakia. Christopher also knows better than to accuse me of endorsing, as he puts it, “any policy that can be guaranteed as a painless victory in advance.” As he well knows from our conversations at the time, I was (and remain) an avid supporter of the war in Afghanistan, which—given the Soviet and British experiences in that country over the years—was by no means foreseen (by me, him, or anybody else) as a sure thing.