An anonymous comment at Filing Cabinet of the Damned has this to say about the cartoon riots:
"I see two sides:
1) the drawing of Mohamed is against their religion and we should respect that.
2) any cartoon with a bomb in it is at least a little funny."
Just as Lennon needed McCartney, Christopher Hitchens needed Alexander Cockburn nearby in the pages of The Nation to keep him honest. His support for the Iraq invasion, leaving the Nation in a snit, the apparent breakdown of his Built-in Bullshit Detector, the booze, cigarettes and Vanity Fair were starting to wear Hitchens down. The Onion summed it up in their 2003 story "Christopher Hitchens Forcibly Removed From Trailer Park After Drunken Confrontation With Common-Law Wife" : "We're down at the old Hitchens place probably twice a month at least," said Sgt. Wilson Vernon, the first of three officers to arrive at the scene. "Once his blood's up, old Hitch can get meaner than a three-legged coon hound. From what the neighbors told us about this latest incident, Noreen was all worked up, accusing him of drinking and womanizing. He was angry with her refusal to acknowledge that there is ample evidence to make a case for prosecuting Henry Kissinger as a war criminal. She just kept shouting, 'No, there ain't!'"
It looks to me like Ol' Hitch took a nap, showered, shaved, and found his voice again with his take on the cartoon riots, "The Case for Mocking Religion" :
"How appalling for the country of the First Amendment to be represented by such an administration. What does he [the White House spokesman] mean 'unacceptable'? That it should be forbidden? ...."
"Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent. This current uneasy coexistence is only an interlude, he seems to say. For the moment, all I can do is claim to possess absolute truth and demand absolute immunity from criticism. But in the future, you will do what I say and you will do it on pain of death...."
"The question of "offensiveness" is easy to decide. First: Suppose that we all agreed to comport ourselves in order to avoid offending the believers? How could we ever be sure that we had taken enough precautions? ... We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt."
".... Second (and important enough to be insisted upon): Can the discussion be carried on without the threat of violence, or the automatic resort to it? ... I went on Crossfire at one point, to debate some spokesman for outraged faith, and said that we on our side would happily debate the propriety of using holy writ for literary and artistic purposes. But that we would not exchange a word until the person on the other side of the podium had put away his gun. (The menacing Muslim bigmouth on the other side refused to forswear state-sponsored suborning of assassination, and was of course backed up by the Catholic bigot Pat Buchanan.)"
"... civil society means that free expression trumps the emotions of anyone to whom free expression might be inconvenient. It is depressing to have to restate these obvious precepts, and it is positively outrageous that the administration should have discarded them at the very first sign of a fight." -- from Slate magazine
See also: Secrets of the Cartoon War, The Cartoon War Begins , Eek! A T-Shirt Slogan! My Eyes! My Eyes!