Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fight to the last drop of other people's blood

He's "ready to fight to the last drop of other people's blood." Surely that must be a reference to George W. Bush, right? Wrong! It's MP George Galloway refering to Christopher Hitchens.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear an American representative say such a thing about the President? Unfortunately, you'll never hear them speaking truth to power. Nowadays, if you want to hear someone speak the unvarnished truth about American leadership, ironically, you have to look to Scotland for those words.

Last Friday, a Scotsman squared off against a fellow Brit in a no-holds-barred grudge match. Meeting at Baruch College in New York, they debated the war in Iraq. Besides the above-referenced quote, the audience was privy to ad hominem remarks like, "What you have witnessed is something unique in natural history — the first ever metamorphosis of a butterfly back into a slug," when Galloway inferred about Hitchens that, "the one thing a slug leaves behind it is a trail of slime." Not to be undone, Hitchens claimed of Galloway that, "The man's hunt for a tyrannical fatherland never ends. The Soviet Union let him down, Albania's gone. Saddam's been overthrown. But on to the next, in Damascus."

Such pearls are rarely heard spoken by Americans. But Galloway honed his oratory in the British Parliament, and Hitchens is a socialist turned neo-conservative who is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair and a political analyst oft-featured in American periodicals & TV. shows. Hitchens challenged Galloway to a debate after his testimony before a Senate committee accusing him of complicity in the oil-for-food controversy.

The normally unflappable Hitchens showed up at the debate looking unkempt with his tousled hair and unbuttoned shirt. On the other side of the stage, Galloway showed up in a perfectly tailored suit. However, betraying appearances, Hitchens went barb for barb with Galloway, giving away little ground. Nonetheless, Galloway got the better of Hitchens, as one would expect from someone competing from the high ground.

Regardless of which side of the Iraq War argument you're on, you're bound to find the debate at once entertaining and enlightening. For those who prefer listening to reading, you can hear a recording of the debate online. Alternatively, you can read the transcript. Those who were fortunate enough to catch it on CSPAN, you witnessed the first time the network could compete with reality TV villains like Omarosa and Jerri.

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