Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Norman Geras on George Galloway. posted by leninStarting a new series...
Like the Private Eye sketch only funny. Today on NormBalls, we consult the doyen of "liberal Marxism", Norman Geras , on the notorious cigar-chomper, George Galloway:
George Galloway denies any distinction between war and what some of us call terrorism, other than that one is ordered 'by men in suits', the other 'by men in sandals'. And so blowing up a bus full of schoolchildren isn't terrorism, it's just 'a grisly aspect' of revolutionary insurgency.
This, in reaction to an interview with Galloway conducted by Tim Adams of The Guardian.
Oddly enough, Galloway does not say this - the interviewer says this for him. Galloway, for his part, says:
"'Well, occupation is ugly, resistance can hardly be pretty. I never called on people to fight. But I never had any doubt that they would either.'"
"'Innocent civilians were killed. That was vile. But we still kid ourselves that acts ordered by men in suits is war. And that the same acts ordered by men in sandals is terrorism. There is no distinction.'"
To this latter, Norman Geras retorts:
This is similar to the can't-be-choosy option made famous by John Pilger. Here, then, is something to think about. What would these two have to say, do you reckon, to the suggestion that their logic might just as well be reversed so that from now on the US and Britain (etc.) at war may just freely target civilians? I'm predicting neither of them would approve. It's a hunch based on what they already think about civilian casualties provided these are inflicted by the 'right' countries, and even when not deliberately.
Norman Geras does not provide a single atom of evidence that either Pilger or Galloway have ever considered it correct that the Iraqi resistance or anyone else "may just freely target civilians". This is for the perfectly excellent pragmatic reason that he is making it up. Neither Galloway nor Pilger have ever suggested such a thing. Geras avers that those who opposed the war but will not oppose the Iraqi resistance in similar terms are "essentially know-nothings when it comes to the moral questions of the just war." But since he has mistaken their elementary moral stance, it does not quite sit well for him to be so aggressive.
He also complains, in a linked piece , that those who refuse to condemn Palestinian terrorism "without scare-quotes and unconditionally" are a "disgrace" "to a great historical ideal." Since he is advancing himself as an apologist for liberal imperialism, I wonder if he has any questions about his own fidelity to that "great historical ideal" or if, perhaps, he can bring himself to condemn US massacres in Iraq "without scare-quotes and unconditionally". Of course not. Bush is there to democratise the region, Blair is an avowed opponent of tyrants (except when he's not) and the (vastly greater) terror perpetrated by the "coalition" is meant well. Who but a "know-nothing" could think otherwise? It's a sad end for a sad end.