Having belatedly been able to listen to the ‘Grapple in the Big Apple’ I don’t see much point in offering a ‘scoresheet’ or any other ‘verdict’ on what was, on the whole, a fairly predictable affair.
I tend to agree with this point made in The Independent: This was a mismatch because Hitchens is a thinker and writer. He is also a debater, but not a politician or campaigner. Galloway, as Ms King tells me, is a trained stump orator with a killer instinct.
Perhaps the only amendment I would make to that statement is to alter the last two words to – with an instinct for admiring killers.
The point I would like to make is that in New York Galloway made no attempt at all to hide his support and admiration for the Ba’athist-Islamist ‘resistance’. It was rather revealing that Galloway even took offence when Hitchens listed some of the crimes of that ‘resistance’ including the blowing up of the United Nations building and other murders. By listing just a few of the crimes, Hitchens was, according to Galloway, “sinking further into the gutter” presumably because he was ‘slandering’ the good name of the ‘resistance’.
What can we make of this? Has Galloway now internalised his own lie and started believing his own rhetoric about the killers not targetting “their own”? Has he now actually convinced himself that those responsible for the mass murder of schoolchildren and labourers are in fact progressive socialists searching for a peace-loving homeland of freedom? What other possible objection could Galloway have to the mentioning of some of the ‘acts of resistance’?
Its interesting that in the many column inches devoted to the debate (I think all the broadsheets have run something) little is made of the fact that the recognised and celebrated leader of Britain’s anti-war movement is now openly and proudly supporting and indeed admiring those who are slaughtering innocent Iraqis every day in their self-declared struggle against democracy and self-rule for the Iraqi people.
Is this not worthy of some consideration in the media? After all, here is a man who large chunks of the media have built up as an “outspoken critic of the war”, a “maverick” and “colourful character” to be turned to for opinion and soundbites on the issue of Iraq now freely admitting what his critics have charged for years – he is not anti-war but simply on the other side.
Will we hear of any discomfort or disassociation from those, pacifists or mainstream anti-war people, who marched behind Galloway and applauded him on the big Feb 15 demonstration? Will those who were duped into believing Galloway was speaking for them now come out and say he no longer does?
I don’t believe for one minute that those thousands who marched behind Galloway on Feb 15, including many friends, all now join in him in supporting those who blew up schoolkids as they were handed sweets in the street. But why are they so shy about saying so?
Gene adds: For readers who normally skip the comments (and why would anyone do that?), I recommend making an exception for an eloquent comment here by “Fimani-la” (who served with the British army in Iraq) at September 16, 4:41 pm.