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Galloway's Way

A fiery Brit speaks truth to power, much to the Senate's surprise.

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If you would like a role model on how a manly person should act in front of politicians and the media, I highly recommend the Honorable George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament.

A Senate subcommittee out to discredit the United Nations made the mistake of inviting Galloway to appear before its members. They had smeared him. Accusing a man of serious wrongdoing without a shred of evidence is a smear job, plain and simple. Senator Norm Coleman, like most senators, is used to people either fawning or being timidly evasive. Galloway landed on him like a rattlesnake.

Coleman had dredged up the old accusations that Galloway made money off Iraqi oil or was otherwise receiving money from Iraq. The Christian Science Monitor had taken a run at him and was forced to admit that the documents it had based its story on were forgeries. The British Daily Telegraph ran the same charges that Coleman had dragged out and lost a libel suit. It's too bad U.S. senators have immunity from libel and slander suits.

At any rate, Galloway laced into them: "Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader, and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one -- and neither has anyone on my behalf."

Galloway had led a campaign to get the sanctions lifted from Iraq and also strongly opposed the war against Iraq. In the good old corrupt United States, where dishonesty and deceit and greed have become the norms, it's inconceivable to many people like Coleman that anybody would do anything just because he or she believed in it.

Galloway picked their report to pieces. It claimed he had had "many meetings with Saddam Hussein." He had, in fact, only two, and he pointed out that that was the same number that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had during the Reagan administration. The difference, he said, is that Rumsfeld was there to sell Saddam guns, and he, Galloway, was there to promote peace and persuade Saddam to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to come in.

He then pointed out that he had been an opponent of Saddam when the U.S. was his ally, an ally that made excuses for the gassing of Kurds, blaming those deaths on Iran.

Another blunder he pointed out was that the committee claimed its documents (provided by the infamous Ahmad Chalabi, who has boasted of having deceived the United States about weapons of mass destruction) were current, while the Daily Telegraph's libelous story was based on documents dating to 1992-1993. Galloway delighted in putting this lie to rest. Both sets of documents covered the same period, and there wasn't even an oil-for-food program in 1992-1993, he said.

After exposing their errors, Galloway laced into the senators, pointing out that 100,000 people, including 1,600 Americans, have died because of "a pack of lies" spread by Coleman and his neocon allies. He pointed out that during the 14 months the U.S. was in charge in Iraq, $8.8 billion went missing and is still unaccounted for. He pointed to the corruption of the American corporations.

The slimy Coleman tried to save face afterward by telling the press that Galloway wasn't "a credible witness." The hell he wasn't. It's Coleman and his subcommittee who lack credibility, not to mention ethics or a sense of justice.

Follow the example of a brave man: Don't let politicians or the media browbeat you, intimidate you, or lie about you. Tell the truth, and don't sugarcoat it. The world needs more Galloways and far fewer Colemans.

Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Syndicate.

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