Alexander Cockburn, RIP

Alexander Cockburn, one of the best and most courageous writers of our time, has passed away after a two year fight with cancer.  I was a huge fan of his writings from the Kosovo/Serbian war onwards. He saw through and skewered the Clinton/Albright BS on that disgraceful, unprovoked NATO aggression as well as anybody.  I met him at an FFF conference in 2008.  He was a superb speaker, with a rare combination of wit, grace, and insight.  Shooting the bull with him after his talk, I realized that he was as jovial in person as he was in print.

It always riled me that the mainstream American media lionized his fellow Brit, Christopher Hitchens – who ditched his principles and became a bloodlusting warmonger – and often ignored Cockburn, who never flinched after 9/11.  I had hoped that as time passed, Cockburn would reap more of the laurels he richly deserved.  Unfortunately, any literary justice for Cockburn will arrive posthumously.

Along with his excellent co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair, Alex ran the zesty, world-class hell-raising website, Counterpunch.  That was one of the few websites that welcomed my hardline views as the war on terror mushroomed and ravaged Americans’ rights and liberties.  I especially appreciated that Counterpunch did not balk at humorous riffs that made other editors I dealt with cringe, if not moan.

In his writings, Alex fought doggedly to make the world a fairer and more peaceful place.   That is a legacy that will inspire other writers and activists long after his passing.

Jeffrey has a nice  tribute to Alex here.

James Bovard


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7 Responses to Alexander Cockburn, RIP

  1. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit July 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    That is incredibly sad – I didn’t even know he was ill and will miss his writing a lot! 🙁

  2. Jim July 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Agreed. He did some of the best hell-raising and butt-kicking on foreign policy….

  3. W Baker July 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    One of my Sunday morning habits was to surf over to Counterpunch to read Cockburn. Disappointment was rare because I not only got Alex’s Swift-like poignancy, I usually got a double-dose of Cockburns with Patrick’s fine reporting from the middle East.

    Reading Jeffrey St. Clair’s announcement this past week left me gutted.

    Alex was always kind to me with the few emails we exchanged over the years. (Exchanged makes me sound his equal. There was none of that. I just asked the occasional question or made a comment or two.)

    He always struck me as a gentleman. Which, incidentally, might go some way in explaining why the common press and publishing industry ignored him in favor of the buffoon Hitchens.

  4. Ken Kraska July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I liked his anti interventionist stance on foreign policy issues but on everything else Cockburn was a pretty typical Cultural Marxist IMHO.

  5. Jim July 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Cockburn’s Counterpunch site did some of the best reporting on civil liberties.

  6. Jim July 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Wes, thanks for the recollection on Cockburn. Yep – the contrast between how the media treated him vs. Hitchens was appalling.

    In the retrospectives I have seen on his career, the mainstream comments seem to be skipping the fact that Cockburn and Counterpunch were dead right from 9/11 onwards as far as the US’s disastrous foreign interventions.

  7. Claire August 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    RIP. I also had no idea he was ill, let alone dying. May Counterpunch live long.