Monday, April 18, 2005

George Galloway Butts Heads With The Baghdad Blogger

I draw your attention to this without (with great difficulty) editorial comment...

The "Baghdad blogger" was at the event to make a film for Newsnight, and he managed to snatch a brief interview with Mr Galloway before the Respect candidate dashed off to his meeting with the lawyers.

"I know who you are," said Mr Galloway, warily eyeing Mr Pax, whose weblog gave the world an insight into the lives of ordinary Iraqis in the run-up to the US-led invasion.

Mr Pax wanted to know why Mr Galloway wanted the immediate withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq.

"I really don't think we are going to agree on this. You supported the war and I opposed it," said Mr Galloway.

"You welcomed the invasion of foreign armies into your country. I opposed it. So we are not going to agree on this, which is why I didn't think it would be productive to have a discussion with you and I do have to go now."

But Mr Pax - whose real name has never been revealed - pressed the point.

Galloway: "I just want to be honest with you. You can not demand that our armed forces occupy your country - that's a matter for us.

"It's not a matter for you - it's a matter for us. Now I think there are millions of people in this country who think the war was illegal, was wrong shouldn't have happened and should be immediately withdrawn from. We are entitled to that point of view and we are."

Mr Pax "shouldn't have supported" the war in the first place, added Mr Galloway.

But Mr Pax countered that would be tantamount to supporting the continuation of a regime like Saddam's.

Galloway: "We are not going to agree on this. You are a supporter of the war. You are a supporter of the occupation and I am an opponent. Your family joined the puppet government."

Pax: "We are helping to build the new Iraq."

Galloway: "That's your point of view, it's not our point of view and you are entitled to your opinion, and I welcome you to London, and I am entitled to mine - and let's see what the British people think."

And with that, Mr Galloway really was gone.

Meanwhile, back in the meeting room, Respect's chairman John Rees and the two candidates Mr Galloway had been sharing the platform with, got on with the more mundane task of launching the party's manifesto.

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