Christopher Hitchens does his version of the standard Bush administration Look How Great Iraq Is And That's Why We Must Stay The Course Even Though We Don't Call It That Anymore stump speech:
...I am glad that all previous demands for withdrawal or disengagement from Iraq were unheeded, because otherwise we would not be able to celebrate the arrest and trial of Saddam Hussein; the removal from the planet of his two sadistic kids and putative successors; the certified disarmament of a former WMD- and gangster-sponsoring rogue state; the recuperation of the marshes and their ecology and society; the introduction of a convertible currency; the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan (currently advertising for investors and tourists on American television); the killing of al-Qaida's most dangerous and wicked leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and many of his associates; the opening of dozens of newspapers and radio and TV stations; the holding of elections for an assembly and to approve a constitution; and the introduction of the idea of federal democracy as the only solution for Iraq short of outright partition and/or civil war....
There's one odd item in there -- "the introduction of a convertible currency"? Come again?
Let's see: You live in Baghdad so you're dodging suicide bombers, juggling multiple ID cards so you can pass as Sunni or Shiite as necessary to survive a checkpoint, you have less electricity than you had under Saddam -- and you're supposed to be happy about the ability to engage in currency trading? Really?
Why did he throw that in? I have a guess as to why he threw in that plug for the Kurds (along with two others in a column of fewer than a thousand words) -- I think history will show he's an Armstrong Williams for Kurdistan, i.e., a paid (if ideolgically predisposed) flack. He sure does talk about the Kurds enough, and he makes sure everyone knows he wears a Kurdish flag in his lapel.
But what about the currency? Well, maybe he's now flacking for BetOnIraq.com, the U.S.-based Iraq-currency trading company that advertises heavily on right-wing Web sites. Would you put it past him?