George Galloway Is Gruesome, Not Gorgeous
Now, watch me debate him.
Change only the name, and this is flat-out Bin-Ladenist hysteria. (It also fails to mention the fact that even Saddam Hussein's constitution recognized that Iraq was a state of Arabs and Kurds. There are at least 1 million Kurds in Baghdad alone, and I doubt that the ancestral Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Russians, and Druse of Jerusalem consider themselves members of "the Arab nation.") As for the "operations," they may not amount to 145 per day, but they have included the demolition of the U.N. and Red Cross offices in Baghdad, the deliberate murder of schoolchildren, the video-slaughter of journalists and aid workers, the leveling of Shiite mosques, and the assassination recently of Sheikh Omar Ibrahim al Duleimi, a Sunni cleric who opposes the coalition presence but who urged his followers to vote in the upcoming elections. I might add that the "operations" have also included the killing of hundreds of American soldiers, including Spc. Casey Sheehan, who died in the successful attempt to bring order and water to Sadr City, and over whose graves Galloway invites us to shed the tears of the crocodile—and then to capitulate to the killers. No shame. No shame at all.
Thus, and thanks in part to Eve and Jane, the "anti-war" movement has as its new star a man who is openly pro-war, but openly on the other side. A man who supported the previous oppressors of the region—the Soviet army in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq—who supports its current oppressors—Bashar Assad and his Lebanese proxies—and who still has time to endorse its potential future tyrants in the shape of the jihadists in Iraq and elsewhere. Galloway began his political life as a fifth-rate apologist for the Soviet Union, but he has now diversified into being an apologist for Stalinism, for fascism, and for jihadism all at once! All this, and Jane, too. One's cup runs over.
There has been a real question as to whether or not Galloway does all these favors to despots for free. A shallow and superficial press has allowed itself to be used as his megaphone and has allowed him to change the subject by means of tirades of abuse that are considered brilliantly apt and witty. At www.hitchensweb.com, you will find a compilation of the hard evidence that he has very good reason to try and change this dangerous subject; you will also find a great deal more chapter and verse about the record and the true opinions of this disgusting figure.
Galloway's preferred style is that of vulgar ad hominem insult, usually uttered while a rather gaunt crew of minders stands around him. I have a thick skin and a broad back and no bodyguards. He says that I am an ex-Trotskyist (true), a "popinjay" (true enough, since its original Webster's definition means a target for arrows and shots), and that I cannot hold a drink (here I must protest). In a recent interview he made opprobrious remarks about the state of my midriff, which I will confess has—as P.G. Wodehouse himself once phrased it—"slipped down to the mezzanine floor." In reply I do not wish to stoop. Those of us who revere the vagina are committed to defend it against the very idea that it is a mouth or has teeth. Study the photographs of Galloway from Syrian state television, however, and you will see how unwise and incautious it is for such a hideous person to resort to personal remarks. Unkind nature, which could have made a perfectly good butt out of his face, has spoiled the whole effect by taking an asshole and studding it with ill-brushed fangs.
I shall be debating him in public in New York on Wednesday Sept. 14, this time on a fair field with no favor. The event will be widely accessible via television and radio, and I do urge you all to tune in and watch the fun.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.
Photograph of George Galloway by John D. McHugh/AFP/Getty Images.