Hitchens rants about Al Qaeda in Iraq, misses point

Over at Slate, Christopher Hitchens has only nasty things to say about those of us who keep harping on the difference between Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in Iraq.

As the title of his piece suggests, Hitchens thinks we're trafficking in "foolish myths." But that term could be applied to his own critique. If I've cut through Hitchens' verbiosity correctly--and I'm not entirely sure I have--this is his gist: if you harp on AQ-AQI distinctions, you are, basically, a defeatist who A) thinks it's generally pointless to fight terrorist organizations and B) doesn't fully recognize just how nasty AQI is.

Allow me to propose a third option, Chris: you could also C) dislike the fact that the Bush Administration routinely conflates the two groups in an attempt to rewrite history and paint the Iraq War as a logical and necessary response to September 11. Consider this chestnut from the president's July 10 speech in Cleveland, uttered in reference to the ongoing carnage in Iraq:

The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is the crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children, many of whom are Muslims, trying to stop the advance of a system based upon liberty.
Even if that were true today--and the president himself has acknowledged it's not--it wasn't then.

When Hitchens' outrage is justified, I'm a big fan. This isn't one of those times.

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