Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Smackdown! British pol mops up floor with Norm Coleman

In Britain, where they still have a working press and MPs rough up the prime minister with questions every single day, politicians learn how to spar. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), the empty suit who took Paul Wellstone's seat, found this out today to his chagrin after charging George Galloway, an MP from Bethnal Green, of taking bribes in the UN Oil for Food Smokescreen Scandal.

Galloway preparing to eviscerate Coleman in Senate committee hearing
Photo from Times Online
After sitting through one and a half hours of testimony against him, the British politician went on the attack. He delivered a blistering indictment of Coleman, Senate Republicans, the Iraq war, Abu Ghraib, Rumsfeld, neocon websites, Halliburton, and the rest of the Bush Administration. In the words of the BBC, he displayed none of "the forelock-tugging deference to which senators are accustomed."

He said "lie" and "pack of lies," repeatedly. He said "steal." He said "puppet regime" and "war crimes." He said, "Now, I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice." Sentence after beautiful sentence rolled off his tongue in a beautiful Scottish burr. His closing statement:

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today.

Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Halliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer. Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government.

Read the transcript here or watch the video. Democratic candidates and elected officials, please pay close attention; it is possible to speak the truth in Washington.
UPDATE: The Guardian reports that just before the hearing, Galloway had a few words for pro-war writer Christopher Hitchens, whom he called a "drink-soaked former Trotskyite popinjay."


W.C. Varones said...

If the world listened to Kofi Annan, the UN would never do anything.

Alna Dem said...

Score. Kofi Annan is no hero of mine.

And let the record state that I supported military action against Iraq back when I believed the story on WMDs and the reporting in the NYTimes (thanks, Ms. Miller) and Colin Powell at the UN. I didn't support the way they did it, the rush, the thin ground troops, the diversion from Afghanistan, the lack of post-invasion planning. And when I found out they lied through their teeth I was really pissed.

Alna Dem said...

P.S. I don't like Chirac, either.

TBV. said...

Mr Galloway's speech is one of the best I've heard. Gotta admit, this has helped the anit-war campaign a great deal.

I was pro war too until the real reasons came out, now I'm beginning to lose interest in the whole thing.

Dave K.