Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Scoring the Galloway-Hitchens smackdown

I was disappointed by the Galloway and Hitchens debate, which I managed to tune into after 45 minutes of effort. I get the impression it was Freeped; one commentator characterized the Hitchens partisans as a "claque" operating more or less robotically. This certainly sounds like the very (un)Free Republic. The invective was colorful, of course, as both men are accomplished rhetoreticians. It was even intelligible, since Hitchens was reasonably sober, but the content was lean. I didn't catch the opening (and had to break off before the end), but infer that Hitchens started the insults and even leafleted the audience ahead of time with inflammatory statements. What we learn is that Hitchens is a hypocrite and that Galloway is, in a word, Irish. These facts could have been stipulated. If it were an honest debate, Hitchens would have acknowledged that Galloway won a court case for libel on the issue of accepting bribes from Saddam and has clearly been the target of false attacks. Galloway would have stipulated that no matter what the causes of 9/11, ramming jets into civilian buildings is not a reasonable tactic. Hitchens would have acknowledged that the US supports lots of dictatorships, including Saddam in his salad days, and never sees a need to intervene unless Eleventh Amendment to the Bill of Rights, the right of oil companies to make a profit, is under threat. Galloway would have stipulated that we have to hold national liberation armies accountable under the rules of war for atrocities against civilians. And so on. From my standpoint, Hitchens almost automatically loses any debate. This is a man who entered the coup against Clinton by accusing a personal friend of a serious crime and later refusing to stand behind it, leaving the indelible impression that he had betrayed a friend to serve in a political hit; this treason, so reminiscent of Winston and Julia in 1984, has apparently made him lovable to the modern right. But I think the big losers in the debate were the people who invested time in listening. Me, for example. Post-debate: The post-debate may be the best part, though there were audio problems, including a sound system unplug "in the melee." For a moment, I thought this was a real melee, but no. 63,000 people on the webstream. promises to do some fact-checking. Side-note: This was the first Internet site that was Patrioted; interesting that the Justice Department evidently backed off. Update: If you can stand to use Freeper resources, it's supposedly archived at this URL. It should also be up at KPFT Houston. And I would revise my guess on the Hitchens claque from Freepers to LGFers. LGFers are adolescent Freepers. LGFers, from their comments, were clearly in the Chat Room and will be defacing's boards for weeks or until the next hate-object is waved before them.
Actually, Galloway's Scottish. But your points are otherwise taken. ;-)
Oh, I know about Galloway, and knew *someone* would make that comment.

His mother is Irish.

But being Irish is more than a matter of residence or genetics. To be Irish is to have been occupied by a foreign power for hundreds of years, to have been subjected to genocidal policies such as those that cause the Potato Famine, and to refuse to give up the dream of self-determination. All great people are just a bit Irish.
Ah, and a fine broth of a boy you are, me lad.
The Independent has an enjoyable account of the cage match.
I live in England (and I'm Irish BTW), and you should know that Galloway is commonly regarded here as a loathsome loudmouth. He is completely wrong on most issues. For example, in comparing/identifying the Easter Rising 1916 with the terrorist murdering of children in Iraq (I'm thinking of a recent suicide bombing), he could only fool knee-jerk anti-American Marxists.

I've just listened to the debate on the BBC, and it seemed to me that Hitchens tried to address serious issues, while Galloway just shouted like some drunk in a pub.
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