George Galloway's latest outrage.

A wartime lexicon.
May 30 2006 3:59 PM

Furious George

Galloway preapproves the murder of the British prime minister.

George Galloway. Click image to expand.
George Galloway

In the current issue of British Gentleman's Quarterly, there appears an interview with somebody who could by no leap of the imagination be characterized as a gentleman. George Galloway is a man whose Catholic beliefs have not prevented him from expressing nostalgia for Stalinism and offering open support for the dictatorships of Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad. Evidence that this support has not gone unrequited has been presented by two investigations into the prostitution of the U.N. oil-for-food racket, one of them conducted by Paul Volcker for the United Nations itself and another conducted by a U.S. Senate investigations subcommittee. Scotland Yard's Serious Fraud Office is currently reviewing these reports, and I would be the last to prejudge the outcome of their inquiries.

Christopher Hitchens Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.

Galloway himself is not so averse to a rush to judgment. Asked by GQ if he would justify the suicide-murder of Tony Blair (with the tender GQ proviso that only the prime minister would be killed in this putative assassination) Galloway responded as follows:

Yes it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it, but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of people in Iraq as Blair did.

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The allusion to "the events of 7/7" is to the suicide-murderers who killed themselves and many others in an attack on the London transportation system on July 7, 2005. On that occasion, Galloway told the British House of Commons that Londoners had "paid the price" not of suicide-bombing but of British involvement in Iraq.

Much of the commentary that I read about this amazing statement seemed to conclude that Galloway had provided himself with enough "wiggle room" to avoid the charge of incitement or advocacy. And it is true that suicide-murderers do not require his warrant in advance to go about their work. (They tend to get his approval, or his defense, only after they have blown themselves up.) But if you examine his statement, and the statements that he has made subsequently, you will have an idea of the complete mental chaos that has overtaken a whole section of the "left" who regard Galloway as an anti-war champion.

If the killing of Blair would be "morally equivalent" to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis, then obviously it would be equivalent to something of which Galloway presumably strongly disapproves. In other words, it could not be "morally justified" at all, except by an utter moral cretin. And this is to say nothing of the unmentioned question: How right can it be to remove a thrice-elected head of government by any means other than an election? Galloway is a member of Parliament by the grace of an electorate in the East End of London but is widely regarded as a corrupt scumbag, an egomaniac, an apologist for tyranny, and a supporter of jihad. How would he phrase his complaint if someone were now to propose overruling his voters and offing him as the insult to humanity that he has become? I think I can hear the squeals of self-pity already.

The fascinated GQ interviewer then asked Galloway what he would do if he actually came to know about such a plot against Blair. Once again, Galloway appeared to have an evasion ready to go along with his endorsement. Would he alert the forces of law and order? "Yes. Such an operation would be counter-productive because it would just generate a new wave of anti-Arab sentiment [and] … new draconian anti-terror laws." I have to say I admire his cool use of the term "operation," which is the word that he and his admired "insurgents" in Iraq have long used for their beheadings, car bombs, mosque detonations, and school burnings. And I further note the firm way in which he condemns the possible murder of an elected prime minister—lest it increase "anti-Arab sentiment." I thought Galloway objected to the association of Arabs with terrorism. Who said anything about an Arab doing this hypothetical deed?

Apparently not much liking the publicity he got for this (and apparently being unable to claim that he hadn't said any of it), Galloway made another shift on the night of May 26 and invoked a remark made by Cherie Blair, the prime minister's wife, in 2002. Like her, he grandly announced, "I understand why such desperate acts take place and why those involved might believe such actions to be morally justifiable." Cherie Blair had not said anything of the sort. What she said was, "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress."

So, here is what it comes down to. George Galloway says that the murder of an elected prime minister would be "morally justifiable." He is not brave enough to call for it, but he does preapprove it. He finds room for criticism of the murder only because it might occasion a backlash. And he then tries to hide behind the skirts of a woman who he has just told us ought in all justice to be a widow! That he does this by deliberately misquoting her is a mere coda to an almost incredible catalog of indecency.

It was a busy week for Galloway. He went to Cuba and publicly embraced Fidel Castro on television, saying that the aging caudillo was a "lion" in a political world populated by "monkeys." The main distinction between Castro and his neighbors, however simian some of them might be, is that he is the only one left in Latin America and the Caribbean who does not submit himself for election. This seems to be the difference that appeals most to Galloway. In both Britain and America, this fawning and cowardly and sinister jerk is considered a hero of the "anti-war" movement. He is, in fact, an excuse-maker for totalitarianism and an apologist for nihilistic religious violence. How long before the democratic left starts to refuse him a platform and make him stand on his own? Some of us will be watching.

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