Tuesday, September 20, 2005

REVIEW: Hitchens - Galloway Debate the Iraq War


Christopher Hitchens - author, opinion writer for Slate and Vanity Fair

George Galloway - a British politician, and a Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow in East London.

Fact: Christopher Hitchens is a leftist. Fact: George Galloway is a leftist. Now that we have a few basic facts straight we can analyze this rather remarkable event.

The debate format is one I wish presidential contenders would use. Each man had a ten minute opening followed by a few questions by the moderator. Soon thereafter it became a free wheeling slugfest. Hitchens clearly has a way with words. He is an intellectual in the most annoying sort of way - he knows it. This, I say, as opposed to someone like Bill Maher who only thinks he is an intellectual. Galloway too, has a way with words, he is quick of mind and acid of tongue. George has a way of driving home a point with just a few words leaving everyone else speechless. I saw him take apart half a dozen US Senators a few months back. Senators are supposed to be America's master debaters. Some would mash those two words together and remove the "de". That would be much closer to describing the current crop of US Senators.

Hitchens, on the side for the war against Saddam Hussein, had facts on hand and scored several body blows that Galloway offered no response in defense of himself. This for instance: Hitchens referencing a recent trip Galloway made to Syria

To hear him speak, you would think, would you not, that he was a pacifist, that he defines himself as anti-war. Now how can this be said, in good conscience, by someone who has just, standing by the side of the dictator of Syria, on the 30th of July, referred to the 154 heroic operations conducted in Iraq by the so-called resistance, or the resistance that is run as we know by a senior bin Ladenist and by many of the former secret police of the Baathist regime? How can someone say, and say they're anti-war and they care about casualties that they praise the 154 operations a day?

And this:

Now among the people killed by these heroic operations, in Iraq, some of them run from Syria and paid for by the human toothbrush and slobbering dauphin Assad, Mr. Galloway's new pal. Among the victims of these, of these operations was specialist Casey Sheehan, who was trying to clean up the festering slum of what had once been called Saddam City, and was now known to us as Sadr City where the water-supply is coming back on, it's taking a while, because people keep blowing it up, but it's coming back on. Now I will put a simple moral proposition to you and see if I've phrased it alright. Is it not rather revolting to appear in Damascus by the side of Assad and to praise the people who killed Casey Sheehan, and then to come to America and appeal to the emotions of his mother?

Not only is Galloway opposed to American and British presence in Iraq he actively supports the terrorists. Galloway is a well spoken Michael Moore if you ask me.

Galloway had a few direct hits of his own that left me with questions to ask myself as a supporter of the war to remove Saddam Hussein. When asked when and if America will leave Iraq Galloway points to the large permanent military bases being built there. On the face of it George has a point.

On style and substance for debate scoring Hitchens wins hands down. This is true mainly because Galloway is guilty of lecturing, hollering really loud and spitting all over the microphone. George, as mentioned, scored points with truths and half-truths that without reasoned rebuttal would make it appear that Saddam Hussein and his dear sons were trying to their best for the people of Iraq if only it hadn't been for those nasty Westerners. Hitchens did a convincing job of pointing out just how bad the Hussein crime family really was.

For me the absolute highlight was when Galloway challenged Hitchens to acknowledge that Colin Powell was sorry for his UN testimony. Hitchens had this to say:

Amy Goodwin (moderator): Your response to Colin Powell saying that his UN speech making the case of weapons of mass destruction was a stain on his record. Just a minute response.

CH: Mmm, I don't give a damn about what Colin Powell thinks about anything. I never have, and I never will. I think he's, I've noticed that he's, having being for a long time, the most overrated public figure in the United States. He's running for the nomination to most overrated man in the world. But I don't really care.

On this I couldn't agree with Hitchens more. Powell, for my money, was the most ineffective Secretary of State we've seen in a long time. He may have been a good soldier but he was a not a good fit for Secretary of State.

The debate lost steam toward the end when the audience took to applauding and jeering all to often. It's just too bad we can't get any Americans to go toe to toe like this, after all it is America who is doing the heavy lifting in Iraq.

As we have heard before from the men fighting this war - we are winning on the battlefield, soon Iraq will be able to defend itself against a rather cowardly insurgency. But the media and people like Galloway are clearly winning the war against George W. Bush. This is as much the Bush Administrations fault as it is the media's. Just saying "we will be resolute and never waver" and "stay the course" is not enough any more. We need to hear a strategy to put the nail in it.



Timothy Birdnow said...

Great post!

Hitch is my favorite lib!