Nearly a year and a half after the U.S. invaded Iraq, we rejoin Tariq Ali and Christopher Hitchens for part two of a debate on whether the Bush administration should have attacked Iraq. We last spoke to these two former political allies in December, 2003. Today we return to the debate to examine the U.S. presidential race, the predictions of Richard Perle, the status of the Iraqi resistance and why Hitchens supports Paul Wolfowitz. Ali is the author of Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq and Hitchens is the author of A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq. [includes rush transcript]
It has been just under 19 months since the US invasion of Iraq began. And while Iraqi officials and the Bush administration speak of January elections, the situation on the ground remains deadly. Just after midnight local time, US forces struck the city of Falluja in multiple missile attacks. Al Jazeera reported from the city that at least 6 Iraqis were killed including at least 4 members of the same family. In an earlier attack, a US bombing destroyed one of Falluja"s biggest restaurants, leaving 2 guards dead. The US military said it was targeting a gathering of supporters of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. An Iraqi journalist in the city disputed the claim. Earlier, US troops fired on a car on the main highway between Falluja and Ramadi, killing five members of the same family traveling in the vehicle. The dead included a woman and child. Meanwhile, a blast occurred near the US consulate in the southern city of Basra, wounding at least one Iraqi. The explosion targeted a foreign company specializing in protecting oil pipelines.
This weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on resistance-held cities in Iraq until after US elections in November. The paper cites concerns by the White House that such offensives could effect the outcome of the elections. One senior administration official said, "When this election’s over, you’ll see us move very vigorously."
Last December, Democracy Now! hosted a debate on Iraq between two veteran Iraq observers: Tariq Ali, author of Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq and Christopher Hitchens, jounalist and author of A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq. Today, we revisit that debate. We are joined in our New York studio by Tariq Ali and in our Washington DC studio, by Christopher Hitchens.
- Tariq Ali, author of several books including "Bush in Babylon: The Recolonization of Iraq." He is also the editor of New Left Review.
- Christopher Hitchens, columnist with Vanity Fair and author of several books including "A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq" and the new "Blood, Class and Empire: The Enduring Anglo-American Relationship"
- Excerpt From Friday’s Presidential Debate between President Bush and Senator John Kerry discussing the Iraq invasion