Hitchens’ good war — against Pat Buchanan

Writing in Newsweek, Christopher Hitchens takes aim at Pat Buchanan’s new book, “Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War.” Hitchens levels several damning criticisms, including this one about Buchanan’s view of the Holocaust:

As the book develops, Buchanan begins to unmask his true colors more and more. It is one thing to make the case that Germany was ill-used, and German minorities harshly maltreated, as a consequence of the 1914 war of which Germany’s grim emperor was one of the prime instigators. It’s quite another thing to say that the Nazi decision to embark on a Holocaust of European Jewry was “not a cause of the war but an awful consequence of the war.” Not only is Buchanan claiming that Hitler’s fanatical racism did not hugely increase the likelihood of war, but he is also making the insinuation that those who wanted to resist him are the ones who are equally if not indeed mainly responsible for the murder of the Jews! This absolutely will not do. He adduces several quotations from Hitler and Goebbels, starting only in 1939 and ending in 1942, screaming that any outbreak of war to counter Nazi ambitions would lead to a terrible vengeance on the Jews. He forgets — at least I hope it’s only forgetfulness — that such murderous incitement began long, long before Hitler had even been a lunatic-fringe candidate in the 1920s. This “timeline” is as spurious, and as sinister, as the earlier dates, so carefully selected by Buchanan, that tried to make Prussian imperialism look like a victim rather than a bully.

Newsweek also has video of Hitchens talking about the book and a reaction from Buchanan.

Also, in the same issue, check out Evan Thomas’ article on the uses (and misuses) of the appeasement card by American presidents and Jon Meachem riffs on Churchill.