What's Left? Galloway Versus Hitchens; Progressives Versus Ourselves
Man, it just felt so good watching George Galloway rip Senator Coleman an extra exit hole. In May 2005, you'll remember,
while most American politicians were mincing and cowering, the Honorable Member of the British Parliament, George
Galloway, told a panel of stunned US congressmen:
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people
paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded,
many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies."
It was one hell of a performance.
Tonight, Galloway will launch his American tour, a kind of extended curtain call to his US Senate debut, starting with a
Punch-and-Judy show with Christopher Hitchens in New York.
In May, our Bush-kissing Congressmen could only respond to Galloway's challenge with dusty old smears and lame-ass
But before we rally 'round this stand-up guy from Britain, we should ask him a few questions of our own.
Honorable Mr. Galloway, you met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in 1994 and said, "Sir, I salute your courage, your
strength your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until
After this effusive praise for Saddam, the two of you shared some Quality Street chocolates and some funny stories about
In 1990, Saddam executed a troublesome reporter, Farzad Bazoft, of the Observer newspaper of London. You complained
about it at the time. Some time later, Saddam finished off about 100,000 Shi'ites and Kurds.
My questions are, "Are Quality Street chocolates your favorite brand? And did you forget the name of the reporter that
Saddam executed? And how is it that you found the courage to challenge a bunch of US Senators but became such a pussy
cat when confronted with a man whose killing spree easily exceeds theirs?"
And when you were challenged on your arse-licking praise of the dictator, why did you prevaricate and obfuscate by
saying the worshipful words were for the Iraqi people, not Saddam. In fact, your words were very specific: "Your
Excellency, I thought the president would appreciate to know that even today, three years after the war, I still meet
families who are calling their newborn sons Saddam."
I have to say, Mr. Galloway, you are a charitable man with a big heart. But the charity is for whom? You founded
something called the Mariam Appeal, which raised cash on your solemn promise that, "The balance after Mariam?s hospital
bills have been paid will be sent as medicine and medical supplies to the children she had to leave behind." But little
of the money seems to have gone there, isn't that correct, Mr. Galloway? It seems that nearly a million dollars can't be
accounted for. And the diversion of most of the money was, you said, for "emergency" purposes. Was one of those
emergencies the payments to your wife?
And the source of nearly half a million dollars of that money, Honorable Sir, came from a trader in the corrupt
Oil-for-Food program. The payment was equal to the profits earned by this oil trader who was blessed with discount oil
from Saddam. Is that correct?
So if we add it up, Mr. Galloway, while you were railing about medicines denied Iraqis by Messrs. Bush and Blair, you
were taking money skimmed from the program earmarked to pay for those medicines. And other moneys donated for medicine
for Iraqis you and your group also skimmed off for "legitimate expenses" of yours, is that correct?
George Bush took money from unnamed Persian Gulf sources, as you apparently have. Should I question him, or simply ask
him if his purposes were "legitimate" or an "emergency"?
And might I have a copy of the financial records of your "charity"? You promised to make them public but the records now
seemed to have disappeared into Jordan. Would you mind retrieving those?
And why did you tell the US Senate the British Charity Commission "recovered all money in and all money out ... they
found no impropriety"? I have read their findings. In fact, the Commission excoriated you for failing to record where
your million came from and where it went. And they recovered none of it.
I remember when Paul Wolfowitz told the US Congress the war in Iraq would not cost taxpayers one penny. Wolfowitz avoids
prosecution for perjury because he did not testify under oath. Did you lie in your testimony because, as a foreign
legislator, Mr. Galloway, you are immune from prosecution for perjury?
And when you said, "The Arabs must have a mentality that says, I want to be like Hizbollah." Sir, you mean the Hizbollah
that took hostages in Lebanon and guns from Reagan, or the Hizbollah who joined Argentine military Fascists on a killing
And why have you ducked, for two months, my request to answer questions?
Friends and comrades, this is not about George Galloway. He's just another self-promoting fart. Six months from now,
even his smell will be gone.
This is not about George, but about us. What's Left? Are we about standing for the defenseless -- or the cruel and
A couple of months after the invasion of Iraq, I was in Los Angeles and some drunk accosted me, saying, "George Bush was
right about everything he said about Iraq!" -- weapons of mass destruction, the al-Qaeda connection and more. It was
Christopher Hitchens, "debating" me, and furious. His confusing our President's assertions with reality was a verbal pie
he threw in the air and caught on his face.
He was flustered not because I disagreed with him -- he enjoys that, being the look-at-me bad boy -- but because I
agreed with him: Saddam was a monster and Iraqis, overwhelmingly, wanted him gone.
But I could not, like Hitchens, shill for Mr. Bush's war of "liberation." I could see where it would end. When a snake
devours a rat, it doesn't liberate the captive mice. The mice are "saved" -- for lunch.
But it is not good enough for the Left to oppose Mr. Bush's re-colonization of Iraq. We needed to have actively
supported Iraqis fighting to remove their Mesopotamian Stalin. And now, we'd better come up with something a little less
nutty than a recent suggestion by one otherwise thoughtful writer that we, "unconditionally support the insurgency" of
berserker killers and fundamentalist madmen. If that's the Left's program for Iraq, count me out.
We can't define ourselves as the "anti-Bush," blindly supporting those he opposes, and thereby letting the nitwit
Napoleon in the White House pick our enemies for us. Nor can our revulsion for Bush's horrors throw us into the arms of
swamp-things like George Galloway.
Don't get me wrong. Unlike Hitchens, I cannot support the Prevaricator-in-Chief, the President who ordered Cindy
Sheehan's son, Casey, to march to his death in Najaf. But I'll be damned if I'll cheer some rich white Brit-hole who
brings joy to those who killed him.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Subscribe to his
commentaries at www.GregPalast.com