Original cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Galloway is just as he is on TV: a medium-sized, but big-voiced Scots-Irishman.  He was applauded on almost every point, and was brought back to bigger applause after he concluded his remarks.

And that makes him all the more attractive and dangerous depending on who is looking at him, because some of Galloway’s past actions have been pretty controversial.  Yet one could not not like him.  

Look, I have already heard it all about how we shouldn’t be there in Iraq; I really know the drill.

However, the difference, I believe, is that Galloway tonight called for the anti-war movements in both Britain and the United States to unite, starting with the big anti-war rally in D.C. next weekend.
I had hoped Galloway would say something about how Katrina also impacts national policy in the U.S.  But that wasn’t his job last night, although he has on other occasions spoken at length on the catastrophe.  Fresh from his debate with Christopher Hitchens several days ago, Galloway said the longer we tarry in Iraq, the worse it is going to get.  The very worst scenario he foresees: a Sunni-Shiite war to the teeth that will suck in every Muslim country in the Mideast, and will plunge the rest of the world in economic and environmental chaos.

Here is a video link to the Hitchens-Galloway dustup, called The Grapple in the Apple:  http://play.rbn.com/?url.demnow/demnow/demand/2005/sept/video/grapple.rm

According to the Telegraph.co.uk, Galloway descended to the lowest common denominator sparring with Hitchens.  Gary Younge from the Guardian said:

If there was light amid all this heat it shone not from their well-rehearsed and familiar arguments, but from their mis-steps. Galloway learned the hard way that four years after the attacks on the twin towers there are still some things you cannot say about September 11 that are common currency in Britain just a few months after the July 7 bombings.

“You may believe they came out of a clear blue sky,” he said to a chorus of boos and single-finger gestures. “But they came out of a swamp of hatred created by us.” Hitchens replied: “You picked the wrong city to say that in, and the wrong month.”

But it was Hitchens who made the greater gaffe when he implied, to howls of disbelief, that race played no part in those who perished in Hurricane Katrina, and that George Bush could not have helped the victims because he was obstructed by state officials. At this point he might have taken his cue from [Sonny] Liston, who spat out his mouthpiece as the bell tolled for the seventh round against Muhammad Ali, declaring “That’s it”. But he soldiered on. Having lost the audience he then turned on them. “I’m just reminding you that you’re on telly,” he said. “I just hope your friends and relatives aren’t watching.”

Galloway won on points. Sadly, by the end of the night, few could remember what the point was.

Greg Palast, however, had some questions of his own to ask of Galloway:

So if we add it up, Mr. Galloway, while you were railing about medicines denied Iraqis by Messrs. Bush and Blair, you were taking money skimmed from the program earmarked to pay for those medicines. And other moneys donated for medicine for Iraqis you and your group also skimmed off for “legitimate expenses” of yours, is that correct?

George Bush took money from unnamed Persian Gulf sources, as you apparently have. Should I question him, or simply ask him if his purposes were “legitimate” or an “emergency”?

And might I have a copy of the financial records of your “charity”? You promised to make them public but the records now seemed to have disappeared into Jordan. Would you mind retrieving those?

Ahem!  Bring out the sawdust, there’s blood on the floor again…

Yes, there is a smell to Galloway; he keeps playing it fast and loose, but so far, no one has been able to finger him and make the accusations stick.  See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Galloway#Corruption_allegations

I wish the wingnuttery didn’t have to find some way to be in the audience but they were, as well as outside the Union.  One particular fiend tried to disrupt a couple of times, but Galloway has the chops to either engage or drown him out.  And Jane Fonda, scheduled to introduce Galloway, could not attend due to her recovery from hip surgery, which probably disappointed them even more.

You can see the Galloway-Hitchens debate on C-Span on their BookTV webpage.  Check the C-Span website or your local listings for repeats.  Galloway’s tour schedule is at http://www.mrgallowaygoestowashington.com/.

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