What's Left? Galloway Versus
Hitchens; Progressives Versus Ourselves
Greg Palast, Sep 16, 2005
(Posted here by Wes Penre, Sep 15, 2005)
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
"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
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 questions.
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 Jerusalem."
After this effusive praise for Saddam, the two of you shared some
Quality Street chocolates and some funny stories about Winston
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 spree?
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
This is not about George, but about us. What's Left? Are we about
standing for the defenseless -- or the cruel and senseless?
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
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.
George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens
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.