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Galloway v. Hitchens

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  • Galloway v. Hitchens

    Actually sounds pretty good. Maybe the Florida-Tennessee game will be a blow-out.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

  • #2
    Bump. How many folks will be having debate-watching parties? Beers, brats and Hitchens on a Saturday night. Good times.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.


    • #3
      Hitchens lays down a little smack:

      George Galloway Is Gruesome, Not Gorgeous
      Now, watch me debate him.

      By Christopher Hitchens
      Updated Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005, at 9:01 AM PT

      My old friend and frequent critic Geoffrey Wheatcroft once tried to define a moment of perfect contentment and came up with the idea of opening a vintage wine while settling down to read an undiscovered work by P.G. Wodehouse. Another comrade identified bliss with writing or reading very hard in the afternoon, knowing that someone really, really nice was coming to dinner. I, too, have a taste for the simpler pleasures. Can I convey the deep sense of delight that stole over me when I learned that George Galloway and Jane Fonda were to go on an "anti-war" tour together and that the idea of this perfect partnership had come from Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues?

      The pure silliness and risibility of the thing would have been quite beyond one's power of invention. And, oh, just to be present when they finally meet. Jane can shyly tell George, who yells daily about the rape of Jerusalem by Zionism, of the brave days in 1982 when she and Tom Hayden went to entertain Gen. Sharon's invading troops in Lebanon. He can huskily and modestly discuss (he says he's a great admirer of her role in Barefoot in the Park) his long record as one of Britain's leading pro-life politicians, and his more recent outrage at the judicial "murder" of Terri Schiavo.

      Jane Fonda, who the last I heard was in the throes of a post-orgasmic spiritual transfiguration, was a byword for ditziness even on the left when I was young, and she now issues apologies for her past politics almost as rapidly as Barbarella changed positions. Galloway, however, is nothing if not grimly consistent. Here, just for an example, is what he said as recently as July, after speaking at the Al-Assad Library in the Syrian capital of Damascus, about the host after whose foul dynasty that library is named:

      We covered the whole world in 60 minutes. I was very impressed by his knowledge, by his sharpness, by his flexible mind. I was very, very impressed. … Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her President.

      Not that the Syrian people had any say in their good fortune, in being passed from the rule of a megalomaniac father to a feeble son. And not that anyone in Syria is permitted to disagree when Galloway comes to give one of his speeches. More serious still, it had been on the preceding Feb. 14 that Rafik Hariri, a former elected prime minister of Lebanon, was murdered by a bomb of military-grade force. The U.N. investigator of this odious crime, Detlev Mehlis, has since caused the arrests of four senior pro-Syrian Lebanese officers. This week, he travels to Damascus to pursue his inquiries to the source. Bashar Assad, who had been planning to fly to address the United Nations, has decided not to show his weak, slobbering face in New York after all. All or most of this was known or at the least seriously suspected when Galloway went for his asshole dialogue with Assad in July, and also delivered an asshole monologue of his own. Indeed, the outrage in Lebanon had already led to a Syrian "withdrawal," even though Syria still does not recognize the existence of Lebanon as a state. Galloway publicly deplored this withdrawal, saying that Syria's presence in Lebanon was "legal," which it was not after the Taif Accords of more than a decade ago, and adding that "the beneficiary from the absence of Syria is the US and Israel."

      Fawning on dictators, posing and posturing for a state-controlled press in front of a coerced audience, managing to overlook the existence of death squads and torturers, and praising the invasion and occupation of neighboring states—this is the same George Galloway who in 1994 flew to Baghdad and addressed Saddam Hussein in the following terms, commiserating with him on his failure to annex the Arab and Muslim state of Kuwait:

      Your Excellency, Mr. President, I greet you in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq. … I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.

      Now, you can be a flatterer of dictators and murderers and still—just about—be a pacifist, or "anti-war." But here is what Galloway said about the car bombers and beheaders and suicide fanatics of Iraq, again this July 30 at the Al-Assad Library, as broadcast by Syrian state TV and by Al Jazeera the following day. He informed the Arab world:

      Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners—Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. Some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters …

      As for the jihadist and Baathist resisters: They "are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day."

      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, 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 is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent books include Love, Poverty, and War and Thomas Jefferson: Author of America.
      June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.


      • #4
        It was pretty good theater if you are interested and want to watch.
        June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.


        • #5
          Cruising for a bruising

          Gary Younge
          Friday September 16, 2005


          Like a boxer bigging himself up before a fight, George Galloway said that he was not in the slightest bit nervous about his forthcoming debate with Christopher Hitchens on whether the Iraq war was justified and necessary. "He's all washed up, like Sonny Liston," said the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
          But in his prime even Liston had attributes that would make his opponents tremble. "He was the big black Negro in every white man's hallway, waiting to do him in," wrote Amiri Baraka in praise of Liston. "A heavy-faced replica of every whipped-up woogie in the world ... finally here to collect his pound of flesh."

          And so it was (melanin content notwithstanding) that Hitchens, who supports the war, stood outside Baruch College, looking for a hallway to lurk in. With just minutes to go he was still handing out leaflets denouncing Galloway. "There'll be no courtesies and no handshakes," said Hitchens, laying the ground rules for minimum civility.

          What had been billed as "the grapple in the Big Apple" in the end owed more to pugilism than polemics, with jibes, like jabs, missing more often than they landed, and many a blow below the belt.

          Hitchens berated Galloway for his "sinister piffle", congratulating him on "being 100% consistent in [his] support for thugs and criminals" and declaring: "The man's search for a Fatherland knows no ends." Galloway branded Hitchens a hypocrite and "a jester at the court of the Bourbon Bushes". Describing Hitchens' journey from the left to the right, Galloway said: "What we have witnessed is something unique in natural history. It's the first metamorphosis of a butterfly back into a slug." In the heat of battle the fact that butterflies come from caterpillars did not temper the applause from the audience, roughly two-thirds of whom backed Galloway.

          Having both torched the moral high ground, they would both later claim it as their own. At one point Galloway told Hitchens "Your nose is growing," only to deride his opponent for his "cheap demagoguery". Hitchens scolded the jeering audience for their "zoo-like noises", only to say that Galloway's "vile and cheap guttersnipe abuse is a disgrace".

          In a debate that drew as much from the culture of the playground as the traditions of parliament, no hyperbolic stone was left unturned.

          In response to one of Galloway's answers Hitchens said: "Beneath each gutter there's another gutter gurgling away." Galloway later shot back: "You've fallen out of the gutter into the sewer."

          When they last met, just before Galloway testified before the Senate in May, he called Hitchens a "drink-sodden former Trotskyist popinjay". Hitchens replied "You're a real thug, aren't you?" Four months later, the level of debate didn't get much more sophisticated than that.

          If the tone was emblematic of the divisive rancour that has made public discourse in general, and the Iraqi debate in particular, so uncivil, the venue was equally symbolic. For when historians come to judge Wednesday's event the first question they might ask is why in a city the size of New York, two British polemicists were needed to conduct it.

          The "sold out" sign on the doors of Baruch College spoke volumes about the thirst for open public debate on the issue, and the rarity of home-grown voices who might quench it. For a subject that is often discussed but seldom debated, the talent had to be imported.

          Hitchens, who has lived in the US for some time and acquired dual citizenship, occasionally interchanged "I" for "we" - meaning Americans. But this was a very British affair: the raucous knockabout of two men who both learned their craft at party conference fringe meetings, rather than setpiece primetime deliveries to televised party conventions.

          If there was light amid all this heat it shone not from their well-rehearsed and familiar arguments, but from their mis-steps. Galloway learned the hard way that four years after the attacks on the twin towers there are still some things you cannot say about September 11 that are common currency in Britain just a few months after the July 7 bombings.

          "You may believe they came out of a clear blue sky," he said to a chorus of boos and single-finger gestures. "But they came out of a swamp of hatred created by us." Hitchens replied: "You picked the wrong city to say that in, and the wrong month."

          But it was Hitchens who made the greater gaffe when he implied, to howls of disbelief, that race played no part in those who perished in Hurricane Katrina, and that George Bush could not have helped the victims because he was obstructed by state officials. At this point he might have taken his cue from Liston, who spat out his mouthpiece as the bell tolled for the seventh round against Muhammad Ali, declaring "That's it". But he soldiered on. Having lost the audience he then turned on them. "I'm just reminding you that you're on telly," he said. "I just hope your friends and relatives aren't watching."

          Galloway won on points. Sadly, by the end of the night, few could remember what the point was.

          Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005
          June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.


          • #6
            Who got ownd?
            When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."


            • #7
              I'm certain Hitchens skewered him.

              Not that I'd expect any of the resident lefty mimes to admit it.
              And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

              -The Artist formerly known as King in KC


              • #8
                QUOTE(Damtoft @ Sep 19 2005, 06:36 PM) Quoted post

                I'm certain Hitchens skewered him.

                Not that I'd expect any of the resident lefty mimes to admit it.

                I'm certain that both sides will claim victory in this glorious encounter.


                • #9
                  Hitchens comments on the debate:


                  His final comment is one of the reasons I appreciate Hitchens even when I disagree with him:

                  "On Wednesday night in Manhattan, however, he made the mistake that all demagogues and bullies make, and forgot that he was on television and on the record, and sought only to please his own section of the crowd. He answered questions with crude abuse. I have plenty of time and patience to spare on this, and was addressing myself to a larger audience, and I never ask a question to which I don't know the answer. So we shall see, shan't we?"
                  "I am for truth no matter who says it. I am for justice no matter who it is for or against."...Malcom X


                  • #10
                    I watched it over here and it was what I expected. Verbal boxing from 2 Brits abroad bellowing much about nothing i.e. Gorgeous George was his usual manic Marxist self while Hitchens was his usual smug condescending self.

                    I think the most amazing thing about this 'debate' was that these two deranged anarchists actually disagree on something.

                    It was the equivalent of Don Zimmer and Dusty Baker having a debate at Busch Stadium about whose theory of the Cubs finishing in front of the Cardinals was best, in front of a crowd of Cardinal supporters.

                    Entertaining but utterly useless.