"Any fight you're going to have eventually, have it now... We should pick the time, not them".
...And a belated happy new year to Chris Hitchens, who I'm starting to suspect is neither misguided nor a deluded optimist, but rather a brutal psychopath and a raving homicidal maniac.
The subject matter is, of course, the hated Iranian regime: aggressions and provocations by, and the tonnage of bombs we will have to drop on the Iranian populace in order to bring them the joy of freedom.
Today's tipple is Johnnie Walker Black Label, and the crimes of the mullahs - or the Revolutionary Guard, as Hitch now terms the Iranian regime - they go into countries where they're not wanted, arm violent insurgent groups and militias, shoot protestors in the streets, send death squads to the other side of the planet, seek nuclear weapons and they torture, rape and disappear prisoners. "The existence of such regimes is incompatible with us," Hitchens says, with a straight face.
Fear not, though - Chris has the solution...
"...If there is going to be a confrontation, we should pick the time, not them... They’ll say I’m asking for war, but I’ll say no. I’m not. I’m recognizing that someone is looking for war. We should be firm enough to say “Alright.” We didn’t look for it. We’ve tried everything short of war for a long time. Everything..."
Reel your eyes back into their sockets, folks, because Hitchens is actually contending that the Iranians - whose experience of war in the last five decades was fending off a western-backed assault from our previous intolerable modern Hitler, Saddam Hussein, at the cost of half a million lives - are gearing up to make war upon their neighbours. This aggression will not stand, man.
Sharp-eyed readers will note that we, the injured and passive western democracies, have actually attacked, invaded and currently occupy the territories immediately to Iran's west and north, not to mention bombing Yemen to their south. If we include the Israelis in our thinking - and we really should - we can add Lebanon, Gaza and Syria to the list of local countries we have been forced to attack.
Should we mention that two of the US presidential candidates threatened to attack Iran with nuclear weapons during the recent primaries; and that prominent public figures have been calling for war with Iran for most of the decade?
Still, let us not forget that the Iranians are warmongering, irrational lunatics who cannot be deterred.
Other readers might notice that our attempts to democratise Iraq and Afghanistan have been a long, outrageously expensive and horrifically bloody nightmare, and that Hitchens is one of the few commentators who has refused to budge an inch from his previous, lunatic aggressiveness. Thank God, Hitch knows how to avoid a re-run of our hideous failures...
"(We'll say) ...We're not going to stay. We're handing the country over to you. We're not occupying... (Earlier) ....How many Iranian dissidents are going to be nationalistically upset by an intervention that comes in and removes the Revolutionary Guards?"
How many indeed? Perhaps our troops will be greeted with flowers and our not-occupation will pay for itsnotself during this hypothetical war, in which we might as well clad our soldiers in natty white uniforms with red crosses on the front. Where these soldiers are going to come from is another matter, but not one that I expect to trouble Hitchens' fevered dreams of explosions and righteous violence.
Note: Comments are off because Haloscan are demanding payment, and I'm a skinflint. Can't work out how to enable the blogger comments again without utterly knackering my template, so if any readers can suggest a workaround by email, I'd be grateful...