Pentagon sycophants

The first time I saw Christopher Hitchens was in the Blue Lion, the old Sunday Times pub on the Gray's Inn Road, having the top of his head kissed by Tony Holden. I imagine they thought we workaday hacks would be inspired by their relaxed bohemianism. Holden went on to dabble in royal biography; Hitchens, rather surprisingly, ended up in the US, kissing the arse of a president whose favourite sound is the crackling of flesh in official electric chairs.

None of this matters much until a good journalist such as John Lloyd ("George W Bush's unlikely bedfellows", 11 March) decides that the likes of Hitchens, Amis Jnr and Rushdie - who once picked up crumbs of socialism at Antonia Fraser's dinner table - have something to teach Europeans about Bush's war on terrorism. The trouble with this well-heeled trio of Pentagon sycophants is that they don't know the difference between Americanism - of which I am a lifelong paid-up member - and Bushism, which has spent much of the past few months dismantling civil rights in a country that practically invented freedom of speech.

Peter Dunn
Hexham, Northumberland

This article first appeared in the 18 March 2002 issue of the New Statesman, Far from the Promised Land