Many of you have probably heard or read about Jon Stewart's August 25th interview of Christopher Hitchens on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Video clips of the interview can be found on the CommonBits website (courtesy of Crooks and Liars) and on The Daily Show's official website.
In the interview, Stewart does a wonderful job articulating many Americans' frustration with how the current administration has dealt with the war in Iraq. A transcript of the most important part of the interview was done by Wonkette and has been widely circulated around the internet. Being a former college newspaper editor who once evoked campus outrage when being too precise in the transcription of an interview, I decided to fix up Wonkette's text using the recording of the show I have on my DVR. What follows is my best transcription of Jon Stewart and Christopher Hitchen's exchange:
Jon Stewart: The people who say we shouldn't fight in Iraq aren't saying it's our fault. That is the conflation that is the most disturbing to me --
Christopher Hitchens: Don't you hear people saying we've made them nastier?
Stewart: I hear people say a lot of stupid [bleep]. But what I'm saying is, there is --
Hitchens: You promised me you'd never say that.
Stewart: There is reasonable dissent in this country about the way this war has been conducted, that has nothing to do with people believing we should cut and run from the terrorists, or we should show weakness in the face of terrorism, or that we believe that we have in some way brought this upon ourselves. They believe that this war is being conducted without transparency, without credibility, and without competence --
Hitchens: Well I'm sorry, sunshine, I just watched you ridicule the President for saying he wouldn't give a --
Stewart: No, you misunderstood why --
Hitchens: a timetable. You said [unintelligible] --
Stewart: That's not why I ridiculed the Pres. . . What I ridiculed the President was, He refuses to answer questions from adults as though we were adults and falls back upon platitudes and phrases and talking points that does a disservice to the goals that he himself shares with the very people he needs to convince.
[Audience erupts in applause]
Hitchens: [barely audible] You want me to believe that you're dying to be his side...
Hitchens: [gestures to the audience] There you go! You did it again! . . . C'mon c'mon [gesturing to Stewart to display Hitchens' book] . . . get it done and delivered.
[Audience still applauding, eventually dies down]
Hitchens: You want me to believe that, really, you're secretly on his side -- you just wish he was more persuasive. You want me to believe that.
Stewart: I secretly need him to be on my side. He's too important and powerful a man not to be.