- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

JERUSALEM — In his most inflammatory outburst yet on the invasion of Iraq, the controversial British member of Parliament George Galloway has sought to justify lethal attacks on British troops on the grounds that the rebels “are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.”

Mr. Galloway described the insurgents as “ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons,” but who were still managing to defeat the world’s only superpower.

The member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow denounced those Iraqis who had joined the security forces as “collaborators” and said it was “normal” for them to be targets for suicide bombers — who have killed hundreds of them.

Mr. Galloway’s remarks, contained in a series of interviews broadcast by three Arab television stations after a recent visit he made to Syria, were more provocative than the comments that led to his expulsion from the Labor Party in 2003.

In what the party interpreted as incitement to attack British forces, Mr. Galloway said at the height of the American-led invasion in March 2003: “Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?”

In an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera late last month, Mr. Galloway accused President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair of being terrorists for launching an invasion that cost civilian lives.

“It is not the Muslims who are the terrorists,” he said. “The biggest terrorists are Bush and Blair.”

Mocking America’s military capabilities, he said the superpower was being defeated by a “ragtag army of lightly-armed soldiers in sandals.”

“[The Americans] can control the skies if they don’t come within range of a rocket-propelled grenade,” he said. “But they cannot control one single street in any part of occupied Iraq. … With 145 military operations every day, they have made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it.”

Eric Joyce, a Labor member of Parliament who served as a major in the army, led a chorus of criticism of Mr. Galloway.

“Passing comments like these puts the lives of British soldiers at risk and devalues the lives of British soldiers,” he said.

Eric Moonman, a former Labor member of Parliament and ex-serviceman, said the comments ought to be investigated by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin.

“Galloway’s remarks border on the unstable,” he said.



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