Perhaps one of the more entertaining items on TV last night, was coverage of George Galloway’s appearance before the US Senate investigation into corruption in the UN oil-for-food programme.
Whilst Galloway is well known in the UK, being one of the more memorable characters in British politics, he is pretty well unknown in the USA. He was previously a Labour MP in Glasgow, but following on from his two visits to Iraq during the period between the two Gulf War’s, where he attempted to highlight that sanctions only affected the Iraqi people, he vocally opposed the attack on Iraq and was thrown out of the party. He then set up his own party, and stood at the recent election in Bethnal Green, and beat the sitting Labour MP.
Although I don’t share his far-left politics, I do tend to find that he livens up British politics, and in some ways I was quite glad that he got back into parliament. It is fair to say he is vocally anti-war, and very forceful in his opinion. If the senate were expecting a quiet, intimidated, apologetic Galloway, they were sadly mistaken. What they got was Galloway attacking them “with both barrels”, in what the BBC has described as an “Explosive Showdown“. The US press were fascinated, some channels covering the whole appearance live. In fact the reaction of the US press has also been highlighted by the BBC.
To be honest, I doubt much progress was made in terms of the investigation, but the appearance certainly produced some good quotes:
“Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars? The answer to that is nobody and if you had anybody who paid me a penny you would have produced them here today.”
“I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns.”
“Senator [Coleman], in everything I said about Iraq I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 have paid with their lives, 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies.”
The interesting end to the session was when Senator Coleman said to the press that he didn’t think Mr Galloway had been a “credible witness”, and that if it was found he had lied under oath, there would be “consequences”. It is interesting to note that the last time someone tried to prove that Galloway had recieved money from Iraq, they lost in court… Round two of Galloway against the Senate, if it happens, might be interesting!