Friday, May 26, 2006

Galloway's Dangerous Mind

George Galloway, Britain's outspoken anti-war parliamentarian, has proclaimed that a suicide bomber would be morally justified in blowing up Prime Minister Tony Blair. In an interview for GQ, Galloway said such an attack "...would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq."

Despite the fact that nearly every public statement he makes argues vigorously to the contrary, I'll take what Galloway says seriously. In doing so, I quickly arrive at the conclusion that his reasoning is spectacularly flawed.

First, on the most basic level, it presupposes that murder for the purposes of revenge is itself "moral", a supposition that is disputed by the laws of nearly every state on the face of the earth. His position further requires that suicide bombing, specifically, be considered an acceptable form of revenge.

Second, his argument rests on the notion that Blair deliberately targeted innocent people for death (i.e., the sole purpose of the action was to kill innocent people) instead of ordering military actions that resulted in civilian casualties. Even if one goes so far as to agree with the morality of revenge killing, there could be no other moral justification for using a deliberate act of terrorism except to counter another deliberate act of terrorism. That said, Galloway often refers to the Iraq War as an "illegal war" because it violates the Geneva Conventions. Those same Geneva Conventions expressly forbid acts of "terrorism". You can't have your crumpet and eat it, too. If the war is immoral because of the "terrorist" tactics of the coalition members, how could it possibly be moral to use those same tactics? One could conceivably argue that it would be smart, but certainly never moral.

Third, his justification for the immolation of the Prime Minister is entirely divorced from the effect such a drastic action is likely to have. An act of murder can be moral if it is committed in self-defense. The philosophical basis for this reasoning is that the act of killing the perpetrator protects the victim or intended future victims from harm. Such a thing could never happen in this case. If Tony Blair runs afoul of a few ounces of C-4, the war in Iraq won't stop. The interim administration would most certainly maintain Britain's involvement in the war. Furthermore, the atrocity of assassinating the Prime Minister would likely lead to Britain taking a harder line on the war in Iraq rather than a softer one. There is every reason to believe that the assassination of Blair at the hands of a suicide bomber would actually result in more Iraqi deaths in the long run, not fewer. All other considerations aside, for this reason alone, such an act would be immoral.

George Galloway is not only a moral midget; he's also a fantastic hypocrite. His association with, and admiration for, Saddam Hussein is well documented. Does Galloway also maintain that his Baathist friend deserves assassination? Certainly all of the qualities he attributes to Blair are present in Saddam in abundant quantities. No matter. Galloway is also close with Fidel Castro, whom he called a "lion" in the midst of political "monkeys" only yesterday, before sharing a misty-eyed embrace with El Hefe.

Apparently abysmal human rights records and hands drenched with the blood of innocents only matter when the guilty party is one of Galloway's political enemies. Otherwise, it's just another day spent curled up at the master's feet.

Update: Andrew Sullivan has nominated Galloway for a richly-deserved Michael Moore Award, given for "divisive, bitter and intemperate anti-war rhetoric."
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