Christopher Hitchens is debating George Galloway in New York tonight, and oh how I wish I could be there. The brawl will be aired live, though, right here according to Hitchens. What might we expect from this affair? Something like this:
My old friend and frequent critic Geoffrey Wheatcroft once tried to define a moment of perfect contentment and came up with the idea of opening a vintage wine while settling down to read an undiscovered work by P.G. Wodehouse. Another comrade identified bliss with writing or reading very hard in the afternoon, knowing that someone really, really nice was coming to dinner. I, too, have a taste for the simpler pleasures. Can I convey the deep sense of delight that stole over me when I learned that George Galloway and Jane Fonda were to go on an “anti-war” tour together and that the idea of this perfect partnership had come from Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues?
The pure silliness and risibility of the thing would have been quite beyond one’s power of invention. And, oh, just to be present when they finally meet. Jane can shyly tell George, who yells daily about the rape of Jerusalem by Zionism, of the brave days in 1982 when she and Tom Hayden went to entertain Gen. Sharon’s invading troops in Lebanon. He can huskily and modestly discuss (he says he’s a great admirer of her role in Barefoot in the Park) his long record as one of Britain’s leading pro-life politicians, and his more recent outrage at the judicial “murder” of Terri Schiavo.
Jane Fonda, who the last I heard was in the throes of a post-orgasmic spiritual transfiguration, was a byword for ditziness even on the left when I was young, and she now issues apologies for her past politics almost as rapidly as Barbarella changed positions. Galloway, however, is nothing if not grimly consistent.
Here, just for an example, is what he said as recently as July, after speaking at the Al-Assad Library in the Syrian capital of Damascus, about the host after whose foul dynasty that library is named:
We covered the whole world in 60 minutes. I was very impressed by his knowledge, by his sharpness, by his flexible mind. I was very, very impressed. … Syria is lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her President.
Thus, and thanks in part to Eve and Jane, the “anti-war” movement has as its new star a man who is openly pro-war, but openly on the other side. A man who supported the previous oppressors of the region—the Soviet army in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq—who supports its current oppressors—Bashar Assad and his Lebanese proxies—and who still has time to endorse its potential future tyrants in the shape of the jihadists in Iraq and elsewhere. Galloway began his political life as a fifth-rate apologist for the Soviet Union, but he has now diversified into being an apologist for Stalinism, for fascism, and for jihadism all at once! All this, and Jane, too. One’s cup runs over.
The debate is tonight at 7:00 EST.