Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Are Living in a Materiel World

On page 289 of Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens (he of the recent disheartening cancer diagnosis) spends some time charting his conversion from anti-war leftist to supporter of the military intervention that brought down the murderous Ba'athist regime in Baghdad.  Looking back on the sordid US-Saddam relationship, he notes:
It was true that Saddam Hussein had not long before employed poison gas against what President Bush insultingly called "his own" people, but it was likewise true that the war material for this outrage had been supplied by the Reagan administration.
This time, I suspect a proofreader's error of commission. I'm guessing, with absolutely no evidence to support my thesis, that Hitchens wrote "war materiel," and some scrupulously zealous but ill-informed editorial assistant, unaware that materiel means, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, "the equipment, apparatus, and supplies of a military force or other organization,"  mistakenly "corrected" the spelling.

Either that or Hitch was drunk again.