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Saturday, May 07, 2005
George Galloway poses with a picture of his 'friend' Saddam Hussein. [AP]
Baghdad blogger Salam Pax
In April, George Galloway told Iraqi blogger Salam Pax that regardless of the fact that around 80% of Iraqis want coalition troops to remain in Iraq for the time being;
I just want to be honest with you. You can not demand that our armed forces occupy your country - that's a matter for us. It's not a matter for you - it's a matter for us
Left by itself, this statement represents an ugly, but potentially consistent policy - the policy of narrow, national self interest being more important than defending human rights. It could be assumed, then, that Galloway's opposition to the Iraq war was based on the popular view that Blair's government was dishonest about its reasons for going to war, or that other issues were higher on the policy agenda than Iraq.
However, having won the seat of Bethnal Green and Bow at Thursday's election, Galloway's victory speech contradicted his comments to Salam Pax. He said:
Tony Blair, this and other defeats that New Labour have suffered are for Iraq. All the people you've killed, all the lies that you told, have come back to haunt you.
And in an interview with Jeremy Paxman, he said that the MP he defeated (Oona King), and all Labor MPs who voted for the war in Iraq had the blood of 100,000 mostly Iraqi dead on their hands. (This figure, often touted by the Left, is contested).
Galloway can't have it both ways. Either he considers the plight of Iraqis irrelevant to British foreign policy (as he told Salam Pax) or he ran his election on behalf of the people of Iraq. One or the other.
Is Galloway simply being logically incoherent here, or is this propaganda hiding a more sinister motivation?
When Galloway and his business representative in Iraq and political confidante Fawaz Zureikat were named in a list of beneficiaries of the UN oil for food scandal, in which Saddam Hussein's Iraq gave millions of dollars in secret kickbacks, Galloway said the following about Zureikat's donations to his (Galloway's) previous election campaign:
I don't know the exact figure, but he's one of the three biggest benefactors who are the Governments of the UAE, united Arab emirates and Saudi Arabia and Zureikat would be either second or third on that list. So he was a very generous donor to the campaign
In other words, Galloway's political career has been bankrolled by a number of Arab dictatorships.
Galloway's approach to the Iraq issue is callous, dishonest and opportunistic, and it should be recalled that Galloway, unlike the great majority of Iraqis, has been an avowed supporter of Saddam Hussein for many years.
As such, he may fairly be said to have on his hands the blood of the 400,000 Iraqis so far found in mass graves, those Israelis killed by suicide bombers sponsored by Hussein's regime, and many others who have died premature deaths because of Hussein's brutality.