After noting the London Sun's prank a few weeks ago, I had all but dismissed British MP George Galloway from my mind as merely the latest incarnation of anti-Americanism in European government. Sure, he was on the list of Saddam's 'brib-ees,' but that was being investigated, and I was withholding judgement until the verdict was made clear (though, with the UN's stonewalling, it might be long in coming). It didn't occur to me that the MP might be fool enough to document his employ in the service of the dictator for all to see - much less to try and sell it as a memoir. But, it seems, that is just what the fool has done.
The early chapters are filled with clouds of hazy Lennonist idealism, with vague talk of 'justice' and (with no irony) the declaration that "My flag is red, my country is the future." This is all unconvincing. When Saddam arrives in Galloway's story, however, we begin to hear the MP's authentic voice.And this is all in his own book! It's as if Neville Chamberlain continued to vouch for Hitler's regime even after Hitler had invaded, conquered, been rebuffed, and been defeated - 'Oh, come on, lads; he wasn't that bad! Actually, he was quite in the right, if I may say so, and shame on you for opposing him."
The extent of totally discredited Ba'athist propaganda on display here is staggering. All those who, in the past, have denied that Galloway has mutated into a Saddamist will simply have to recant when they read this book. For example, Galloway actually refers to the Shi'ites Saddam murdered in the 1980s as "a fifth column" who actively undermined the Iraqi war effort in the interests of their country's enemy." Nobody outside Saddam's squalid regime used this terminology; it was purely a justification for the mass slaughter of the dictator's enemies. It has been extensively documented that very few Iraqis supported Iran. They were killed because they opposed Saddam, not because they backed Iran, and Galloway must know it.
How about the passage where Galloway defends Saddam's claim to Kuwait, describing the province as "clearly a part of the greater Iraqi whole stolen from the motherland by perfidious Albion"? What about the fact that Galloway repeatedly refers to Saddam's statements and actions as coming from "the Iraqis", as if Saddam was their legitimate representative rather than their oppressor?
Take a look at Galloway's statement that, "In my experience none of the Ba'ath leaders have displayed any hostility to Jews." This beggars belief: the Ba'athists had publicly hanged Jews, and the Iraqi newspapers (all Ba'ath-sanctioned) were filled with insane ranting against global Jewry. In all his many visits to Saddam's Iraq, did he not pick up a single newspaper?
Or how about Galloway's claim that Saddam's mass murder of democrats, Kurds and other anti-Saddam forces in 1991 was a "civil war" that "involved massive violence on both sides"? Again, only Ba'athists have ever used this language or narrative.
When Galloway is shown the vast scale of Saddam's palaces, he replies, "Our own head of state has a fair bit of real estate herself". Yes, but British people are not - to use Galloway's words - "dying like flies" on the streets outside. The most bizarre example of Galloway's moral relativism is when he says, "Saddam was a ruthless and cruel man who thought little of signing the death warrants of even close comrades. In this regard he was little different to the leaders of most regimes: we just don't know it in our own countries yet." As if Tony Blair is about to start gassing the SWP and the Tories. As if George Bush is going to start building mass graves in California.
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