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The Galloway/Coleman Oil-For-Food Showdown.

Today, George Galloway gave his testimony before Norm Coleman's Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations.

georgegalloway.gif

Galloway's primary purpose was showing off for his far left-wing constituents back home. He clearly wanted people to view this as a neoconservative witch hunt in the same vein as the Army-McCarthy hearings, but it did not come off that way at all.

These hearings, meanwhile, could be and should be Norm Coleman's national coming out party, if the media would just cover the hearings.

senatornormcoleman.gif

Each of the television networks incessantly interrupted and injected their own commentary, highly irritating, or breaking away entirely. This was compelling television, and none of the C-SPAN networks even covered it.

Some background on Galloway:

"Sir, I salute your courage, your strength." So said fawning then-British Member of Parliament George Galloway to Saddam Hussein on one of his pre-war visits to Iraq to praise Saddam and pick up a check. All together, through a college friend of his Palestinian wife, Galloway, a former MP for a constituency in his native Glasgow, is thought to have persuaded Iraq's erstwhile president to siphon around £375,000 ($700,000) per year out of the oil for food program -- to keep him in custom designer suits, nice cars and a driver. He denies these charges.

gallowayhussein.gif

The only true disappointment of the recent British parliamentary election was the George Galloway's narrow victory over Oona King in East London. Of course, this makes Galloway an instant hero on the far left.

UPDATE:

Powerline blog points us to Mary Katherine Ham's live-blogging of the entire hearing.

Also, the democracy guy blog agrees that it was frustrating trying to watch the hearings on television.


UPDATE 2:

It is interesting that the American left is finally discovering the Oil-For-Food scandal, but only when it might somehow make Bush or the United States look bad. Afterall, a TEXAS oilman must be buddies with President Bush, right?

Wrong.

BayOil's David Chalmers, who has been indicted by the United States government (see the full indictment here, in .pdf format, from more than a month ago, before Senate Democrats conducted their own "investigation"), gave 1,000 dollars to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in June of 2000.

The alleged illegalities in the Chalmers indictment also date back to before President Bush took office, and went on until directly prior to the beginning of the war. The Senate's report details the connections further (.pdf). The David Chalmers corruption indictments ought to serve as proof that the U.S. is holding its own accountable to justice, which is far more than some countries can say (ahem, Russia, ahem, France).

It is unfortunate that some American liberals, who have almost unanimously ignored the entire Oil-For-Food scandal until today, now cheer for George Galloway just to score political points against Republicans. Read the comments on Kevin Drum's site, and you'll see exactly the kind of stereotypical "blame America first" comments that are keeping Democrats in the electoral minority.


UPDATE 3:

This post just mentioned on CNN's Inside Politics. A moderate thrill.

You can go watch the video over at Dem Bloggers, if you're interested. Nothing all that spectacular, honestly.


UPDATE 4:

The Scotsman (via Instapundit) wasn't buying what Galloway was selling:

GEORGE Galloway yesterday failed in his attempt to convince a sceptical US Senate investigative committee that he had not profited from oil dealings with Iraq under the UN’s controversial oil-for-food programme.

Despite a typically barnstorming performance full of bluster and rhetorical flourishes, the former Glasgow Kelvin MP was pinned down by persistent questioning over his business relationship with Fawaz Zureikat, the chairman of the Mariam Appeal - set up to assist a four-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukaemia.

And it was a Democrat senator, Carl Levin, rather than the Republican committee chairman, Norm Coleman, who gave him the hardest time as Mr Galloway sought to turn the tables on his inquisitors, leaving him no closer to clearing his name than when he took his seat in front of the sub-committee of the Senate’s homeland security and government affairs committee in Washington.

Time and again, Mr Levin questioned him, requesting wearily that he deliver a straight answer to a straight question. But Mr Galloway could, or would not.

Levin, as someone against the war and highly critical of the President, was able to "play McCarthy" for a little bit without coming off as hypocritical or overbearing. Coleman, it seemed, did everything he could to avoid a shouting match with Galloway; rather, the Minnesota Senator dissected Galloway with the serene surgical dexterity of a former prosecutor (a job he held at one point).

UPDATE 5:

Galloway says that the worst day of his entire life was the day the Soviet Union fell. His existence since that dreadful event has involved the pathetic search for an alternative fatherland. He has recently written that, "just as Stalin industrialised the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq's own Great Leap Forward."

-The Weekly Standard.

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 May 2005 11:32 AM

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Comments

Norm Coleman is awesome! He is a man who speaks the truth! Of course that is my opinion, but if I were to select someone to speak for me...I would think Norm coleman could do the job! I hate when the media breaks in and starts debating before the media debate should even be allowed to begin!... simply said, Who cares what the reporters think? I want to hear what is going on! Not what they think! Sorry I think I must be having an attack of main stream media Rage!!... After that Bill Moyers article, I am trying to accept my position as a radical right winger! Imagine what it would be like if the media allowed us to form our own opinions? Without their interuptions during important news moments...Thanks WILLisms.com for allowing my frustrations on the MSM to be vented!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 17, 2005 11:56 AM

It's stunning that CSPAN didn't cover this!

I always liked Coleman. I just hope that he isn't a high profile target for the national Democratic party in the next election cycle.

Posted by: Scott Ferguson at May 17, 2005 12:13 PM

Hello! Norm Coleman is obviously a threat to that liberal thing the media has going for it! It is the natural way to approach the medias way to cut off the truth! Interupting only makes sense. If you can't hear it perhaps you won't believe it!

Posted by: Cindy T. at May 17, 2005 02:23 PM

You guys on crack or what ? Galloway tore Coleman to shreds, I don't think that was quite the plan when they invited him for a hearing.

I'm all for being positive and all that but sometimes you just have to get your head out of the sand for a moment to take a quick peek at what's happening in the real world around you.

The reason the networks broke in all the time was because they're not used to having someone on their cameras that calls a spade a spade.

Posted by: Fritz Spitz at May 17, 2005 03:57 PM

Galloway made a fool of himself and was caught in several embarrassing contradictions. He didn't tear anyone to shreds. That's ridiculous.

Posted by: Will Franklin at May 17, 2005 04:08 PM

Galloway's credibility is very suspect if you ask me!... He even said he has never even owned a bottle of oil? What the heck is that suppose to mean? You know my head might be in the sand, But where the heck are those peoples heads who would believe Galloway? ...Hmmmmm... Interesting! By the way is it true WILLisms.com was mentioned on CNN today?

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 17, 2005 04:15 PM

A little observation from a Brit. There are many points on which George Galloway's character could be debated. However, to date all legal proceedings on this matter have failed to show any convincing evidence to support the claims.

Please believe me when I say that Mr Galloway is really not Mr Popular over here. He has so many enemies within both Parliament and the Press that I'm really at a loss as to how he finds enough time to annot them all. If there was any substantiated evidence on this it really would have been used by now. Maybe if the US was more willing to play the rols of team member on a few key issues rather than always that of team leader this kind of embarrassment might not have happened - after all, no one over here is surprised by what he did or saids and yet the only emotion portrayed by the committee was, in some cases, close to shock.

This last point is, I hope you understand, just an objective observation. But if you are not careful it could easily sow the seeds of complete isolationism for the US. You see, if your Government is pass such a judgement on a foreign national (especially from an allied nation), without following recognised legal processes, then you will find yourself with even fewer true friends than you can currently lay claim too. No rational person, from either side of both the Pond & the Political Divide wants to see that happening.

Posted by: Mark at May 17, 2005 05:46 PM

Thanks for your well-reasoned thoughts, Mark. Today's hearing, though, was precisely about giving Galloway a chance to state his case for the record.

Posted by: Will Franklin at May 17, 2005 05:50 PM

With friends like him. who needs them.

Posted by: Walter at May 17, 2005 06:10 PM

It was barrel not bottle, apparently you could not understand his Scottish accent. I didn't watch CNN, but from reading the transcripts his oratory was elequent. I do not suppose it will change anyones mind on the situation, nor do I believe that was his purpose. I imagine his purpose was more in vindication of himself and his beliefs.

Posted by: May B at May 17, 2005 06:12 PM

Thank you for clearing that up for me. I still think he has some explaining to do. Don't you? He and Saddam were pretty close...Kind of makes him have some credability issues, especially with all the innuendos... I would be interested in knowing a little more.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 17, 2005 06:31 PM

Correction... credibility Sorry about that!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 17, 2005 07:53 PM

You should be thrilled to have CNN mention your blog. After all they have a couple of people employed that are fairly conservative! WILLisms.com is a very good blog! One of the best in my view.

Posted by: Ishka at May 17, 2005 08:03 PM

Unusual and rather strange that Americans are questioning him for this! What are the British thinking?

Posted by: Betty at May 17, 2005 08:16 PM

I think Galloway could use a Baath!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 18, 2005 12:05 PM

As usual, you cons are congratulating yourselves for being uninformed. Galloway is no Baathist, nor an apologist for Sadaam- but that wouldn't matter to you anyway. Happy spinning!

Posted by: Steiny at May 18, 2005 07:20 PM

I hope Steiny is right for Galloways sake!...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at May 18, 2005 09:19 PM

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