Alexander Cockburn, 1980:
if ever a country deserved rape it's Afghanistan. Nothing but mountains filled with barbarous ethnics with views as medieval as their muskets, and unspeakably cruel too…
Alexander Cockburn, 1993, on the death of Irving Howe, whose Steady Work, World of Our Fathers and Trotsky biography are still very much worth reading:
Alexander Cockburn: A Few Tasteless Words about Irving Howe: The slush about Irving Howe is ankle-deep. Tributes have run in The New York Times… New Republic, Newsday, The New Yorker and The Nation itself… a column on Howe in The Washington Post by E.J. Dionne, surely the most overrated political commentator of the late twentieth century, except for Sid Blumenthal, Joe Klein, Michael Kramer, Mark Shields and Charles Krauthammer, who, be it noted, is against intervention in Bosnia.
Howe's prime function, politically speaking, in the last thirty years of his life was that of policing the left on behalf of the powers that be… an assiduous foot soldier in the ideological Cointelpro campaign to discredit vibrant political currents electrifying America and supporting liberation movements in the Third World…. In his later years he would be wheeled onto the Op-Ed pages to announce what "the left" thought of Dukakis or Clinton, but by that time his prime sociological significance was as a magnet for money from the MacArthur Foundation…. Contrast Howe's unappetizing curriculum with the honorable career of Dave Dellinger, whose fine autobiography was just published and who, unlike Howe, has been a positive force down these tumultuous years.