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Showing posts from September, 2005

More of Hitchens

'Galloway is a hot, blustering bully - but I'm staying on his case until the very end'

By Christopher Hitchens

The experience of spending some hours on a public platform with George Galloway is disappointingly similar to the experience of watching him on al Jazeera, or on Syrian state television. One learns exactly nothing that one did not already know.

When addressing audiences in the Middle East, his metaphors of martyrdom and rape, and his celebration of the "resistance" forces are a little more florid, perhaps, but I shall have to concede that even in New York he has the nerve to tell an audience that the atrocities of September 2001 were essentially the fault of the United States itself. That was not his finest moment - and nor was it by any means his lowest one - but I began to see again his essential appeal, which is an utter indifference to embarrassment.

It had taken me some time to bring him onto a fair field with no favour. After his loud and rude refusal …

Galloway v Hitchens

The Brawl at Baruch
Galloway vs. Hitchens


Although I left 90 minutes into the Galloway-Hitchens debate, I feel pretty confident that I had taken in the high points, such as they were. The event succeeded more as theater than as education, with both characters playing to the gallery and practically imitating themselves.

The basic problem is that a debate over the war in Iraq is a little bit like debating whether the earth is round or flat, or as Galloway put it, "Is there any sentient being on this planet who still believes that this war was just and necessary?" Apart from the inner circles of the Bush administration, Hitchens and the odd band of his admirers drawn to the debate, that is.

In his opening 20 minute presentation, Hitchens made the case for how much the better the world is since March 2003, when the USA invaded Iraq. This was basically a rehash of an article he wrote for the hardcore neoconservative "Weekly Standard" that can be read here:


All about the Galloway smoking gun

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Note: Palast and Cindy Sheehan will be speaking at the Operation Ceasefire concert sponsored by DC Anti-War Network and United for Peace and Justice -- all day and night at the Washington Monument.

by Greg Palast

During his debate with Salman Rushdie at the recent Edinburgh TV Festival, someone asked George Galloway if television should broadcast an adaptation of Rushdie's novel, "Satanic Verses." According to Rushdie, Galloway replied, "If you don't respect religion, you have to suffer the consequences."

Holy Jesus! This was, unmistakably, an endorsement of the death-sentence fatwa issued against Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Add this endorsement of killing for God to Galloway's notorious opposition in Parliament to a woman's right to choose abortion, and you get yourself a British Pat Robertson. What next? Will he be "saluting the…

For Argument's Sake: Amartya Sen's new book

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen's new book claims that debate has always been a vital part of Indian culture

DEBATER: Sen sees dissent as part of India’s democratic character

Back in November 1998, I stood in line outside the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford University to hear Amartya Sen—who had just won the Nobel Prize in economics—talk on "Reason Before Identity." A long queue of students were waiting for admission; and I had to cram into one of the uncomfortable seats upstairs. Sen, in his heavy academic robes, began brilliantly, with a joke about how he had just been pestered by a dim-witted immigration official at Heathrow Airport who couldn't grasp the notion that an Indian like Sen could be the Master of Trinity College at Cambridge University. From then on, things went downhill. As Sen began unraveling his theories of personal identity, I realized that I disagreed with everything he said. Within a few minutes, I wanted to leave. Only the suspicion that …