In speaking of Christopher Hitchens, the current situation reminds me of a quotation from Orwell he brings up in his excellent book Why Orwell Matters. This quotation comes from Orwell’s 1945 work Notes on Nationalism and is eerily prescient:
The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States.
Indeed, these words are perhaps more true now than they were 60 years ago, although sadly it seems that these foolish “intellectual pacifists” are no longer the minority. It appears as though the idea that George W. Bush is no better than Saddam Hussein, that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were no different that the beheading of non-combatant prisoners, and that democracy is no better than tyranny.
Such an attitude is simply beyond disgusting.