When George Galloway Channeled Rocky Marciano by Dave Zirin

Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington

by Dave Zirin

Folks – this is a review of badass British anti-war MP
George Galloway’s new book ‘Mr. Galloway Goes to
Washington.’ Galloway is about to embark on a tour of
the United States to build momentum for the September
24th anti-war demos in Washington DC and the Bay Area.

[Follow the National Tour through it’s Daily Blog]

For more information on the tour dates and on the book,
please visit the George Galloway National Tour website.

When George Galloway Channeled Rocky Marciano
By Dave Zirin

“I TOLD the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims,
did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the
world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no
connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to
your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the
atrocity on 9/11. I told the world, contrary to your
claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British
and American invasion of their country, and that the
fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end,
but merely the end of the beginning. 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–1,600 of them American soldiers sent
to their deaths on a pack of lies.”

When British antiwar leader and newly elected Member of
Parliament George Galloway hurled these words at Sens.
Norm Coleman and Carl Levin last spring, the cheers
were audible from Brooklyn to Baghdad. Finally, Capitol
Hill’s bloody lies had been exposed for the
congressional record. Finally, after two years of the
“opposition” Democrats doing little more than
“reporting for duty”, we got a taste of what real
opposition sounds like. Finally, if but for a brief
moment, the masters of war were humbled.

And now, finally, we have a book by Galloway himself,
Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington: The Brit Who Set
Congress Straight About Iraq, that tells the story
behind the smackdown. His inspired polemic arrives in
time for Galloway’s antiwar tour of the U.S., during
which he will be speaking with everyone from Jane Fonda
to Cindy Sheehan, during the buildup toward the
national September 24 antiwar demonstrations in
Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

GALLOWAY’S BOOK is divided neatly into three parts. The
first, titled, “Saddam and Me” is a biting 50-page
refutation of Galloway’s pro-war critics. Their
repetitive slander is that he spent the 1990s on Saddam
Hussein’s payroll.

This galls Galloway because, as he writes, “In
parliament, on television, in the press, and at public
meetings, I have carpet-bombed the record of Saddam
Hussein, both before and since I met him for the first
time in 1994. But what I said on the occasion of that
early visit to Baghdad has made it much easier ever
since for my enemies to grotesquely caricature my
views. ‘Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your
indefatigability.’ How many times have I had those
words rammed down my throat by people with not a
scintilla of my record on human rights and democracy in
Iraq? How much do I regret the potential for damage in
that brief statement? How long have you got?”

As the White House devised plans to depose Saddam and
occupy Iraq, Galloway was a useful foil–a bogeyman to
make people believe that to oppose the war was to side
with Saddam. In U.S. Senate hearings about graft in
Iraq’s oil-for-food program, they painted Galloway as a
corrupt “Saddamist” who belonged not in parliament, but
prison.

Galloway’s answers to these charges set up the book’s
second part, when he goes before a U.S. Senate
subcommittee to both clear his name and take the
offensive.

Galloway’s strategy reflected the bruising world of the
British parliament, as opposed to the cigars and
backslapping of the U.S. Congress. “As a former boxer,”
he wrote, “I thought of it this way: I must be neither
Muhammed Ali nor Mike Tyson; I must aim for Rocky
Marciano. Remorseless. Blow after blow after blow.”
Galloway started throwing haymakers as soon as he
stepped off the plane, saying, “I come here not as the
accused, but as the accuser.”

This second section also describes Galloway’s
now-famous run-in with former leftist-turned-imperial
court jester Christopher Hitchens. Hitch attempted to
heckle Galloway at the pre-hearing press conference,
shouting, “Tell us about the suicide-murderers, Mr.
Galloway, that your friend Saddam was paying for.”
Galloway responded by bellowing over the cameras,
“Christopher, your hands are shaking. Go and have
another drink…You are a drink-sodden, former
Trotskyite popinjay.” (Note: I do not know what a
popinjay is, but have decided to now work it into all
insults hurled at the right wing. Also the ‘Popinjay’
and Galloway are scheduled to square off in a debate at
the New York stop of Galloway’s tour.)

After Hitchens tottered off, Galloway was ready to face
the dreaded Senate subcommittee.

THE SETTING was almost cinematic. On one side was
Galloway, the pugnacious, scruffy MP. On the other,
Coleman, the Republican senator from Minnesota who
always has a tan and frosted hair as if he were really
the senator from the great state of Tahiti.

The world then witnessed the difference between
political debate and political arrogance, and a Capitol
Hill throttling not seen since the days of Alexander
Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

Galloway’s opening remarks are worth quoting at length:
“I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of
times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is
Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give
him maps the better to target those guns…I was an
opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and American
governments and businessmen were selling him guns and
gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy
when British and American officials were going in and
doing commerce…

“Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the
policy that you promoted. I gave my political life’s
blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the
sanctions on Iraq, which killed 1 million Iraqis, most
of them children, most of whom died before they even
knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other
reason other than that they were Iraqis with the
misfortune to be born at that time. I gave my heart and
soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did
commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your
case for the war was a pack of lies…

“Have a look at the real oil-for-food scandal. Have a
look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad,
the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq’s wealth
went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton
and other American corporations that stole not only
Iraq’s money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

“Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the
newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in
this committee. That the biggest sanctions-busters were
not me or Russian politicians or French politicians.
The real sanctions busters were your own companies,
with the connivance of your own government.”

Galloway then describes that moment when Coleman and
Levin realized they had nothing more to gain by
continuing questions, other than a more thorough public
humiliation. “As noon neared,” he writes, “the two
Senators ran out of questions. In the boxing ring,
there comes a point when you see the light die in the
eyes of your adversary. It is a moment when one knows
that one’s opponent no longer wishes to be there, knows
that he cannot prevail.

“Thus, it was with Senator Coleman. In the absence of a
bell to save him, Coleman threw in the towel. Not since
Marciano flattened the horizontal chump Don Cockell had
there been a massacre like it. But this time, the
British guy won.”

The last third of the book is the actual transcript of
Galloway’s testimony. Unlike just about every
congressional transcript since 1789, this actually
makes for compelling reading, as you can almost feel
Coleman’s flop sweat dampen the pages.

Altogether, Mr. Galloway Goes to Washington is a
brilliant dose of earned political arrogance. Every
page holds the simple message: we are right, they are
wrong. We stand with George Galloway, Cindy Sheehan and
the people of Iraq. They stand with George W. Bush,
Norm Coleman, and the people of Halliburton. Buy 10
copies of this book and give them to friends and
family, knowing that they will relish fighting the good
fight by the time they turn the last page.

For more information on the tour or the book, please
visit the George Galloway National Tour site.

To email this author reply at dave@edgeofsports.com

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