AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday in London, we bumped into George Galloway
outside of BBC studios and asked him about his thoughts on the Iraqi elections.
GEORGE GALLOWAY: They're a farce. They're rigged. An election
held under foreign military occupation is always, by definition, utterly
flawed. But one which is held in the kind of conditions in which this
one is being held is flawed beyond redemption. The facts are that it is
simply impossible to hold an election when there is a full-scale war going
on between the occupying armies and the resistance forces. The Sunni Muslim
population, which if you add the Sunni Kurds and the Sunni Arabs together,
is some 40% of the population, are deeply anxious about the way in which
the occupying forces are deliberately trying to divide the country along
confessional lines. The Sunni Arab population has boycotted the election
almost in their entirety. The Iraqis living outside for whom security
was not an issue, three quarters of them have voted with their feet and
boycotted the election. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters have
registered to vote and fewer still have cast their votes. So, this is
a festival, a farce that's been held to validate the American-British
invasion and occupation of Iraq. But it will not validate it, neither
in the eyes of the world opinion, nor, more importantly, in the eyes of
those Iraqis who are resisting the foreign occupation and the war will
go on, I'm sorry to say.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you see is going to happen, and what
are you calling for?
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Well, theres a very great danger of what I
call the Yugoslavization of Iraq, the petrifying of the population on
ethnic and confessional lines and the country beginning a process of breaking
up into three Iraqs which is itself pregnant with many real dangers for
the surrounding countries, not just Arab countries, but Turkey and Iran
and which could very well lead to fighting over oil resources, and spreading
of the conflagration which already exists there. We have a simple demand.
We say that the two leaders who caused this disaster cannot possibly be
a part of its solution. Bush and Blair and their forces will have to go
from Iraq. That is an absolute precondition for any resolution of this
conflict and they must talk with the resistance about how they're going
to do that, over what period of time, it would have to be a short period
of time. But Im sure it could be organized by agreement with the resistance
forces. That sounds far fetched today. But it will one day have to be
agreed. Just like the American forces had to withdraw from Vietnam, so
the American and British forces will have to withdraw from Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: And what about the population in Britain now? And
what about today? Here we are at the BBC, hearing all day the voices of
people talking about going to vote and how exhilarated they are.
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Well, we would like all the people of the Arab
world to be able to go and vote in democratic elections. That's why, if
we'd been alive, we would have opposed the British and French and other
European colonization of Arab countries where incidentally there was never
a single election held that could remotely be described as a free and
fair election, and it is why we're against all the dictatorships in the
Arab world, who rule the Arab world almost without exception, from the
Atlantic to the Gulf, mostly with the full support of Britain and the
United States. And we want democratic elections in Iraq, too, but these
are not democratic elections and these elections will solve nothing and
may even add to the problem. But in Britain now, 29% of the population
support the Iraq war, down from something like 68% at the height of the
fighting and the fall of the regime in Baghdad. That's a pretty spectacular
fall and it will fall further still.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, was it the Times of London, which
newspaper settled with you and apologized?
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Well, how long have you got? All of them have
settled and apologized, and The Daily Telegraph is the one I think
you refer to which was my biggest victory. They had to pay me 150,000
pounds in damages and 1.6 million pounds in damages.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Because they falsely claimed that I was in
the pay of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. The same kind of smear utterly
baseless, gigantic smear that they leveled at so many sections of the
anti-war movement. What they can't take, you see, is that we were right
and they were wrong. They were the bugle blowers for one of the most disastrous
foreign policy decisions ever taken by Britain or America, and I was amongst
those who was telling them that this is going to end precisely in the
way that it has ended, and they don't like that.
AMY GOODMAN: Your comment on the latest -- we know about the
Abu Ghraib prison scandal from U.S. soldiers. You have your own scandal
with British soldiers and then the Guantanamo prisoners returning home
here to Britain.
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Well, you see, the ironclad consensus of the
mainstream political parties, the front benches and the BBC and the other
mainstream media outlets like to reassure each other that this is conduct
unrepresentative of British occupation forces. But I'm sorry to tell you
it is entirely representative. When Britain suppressed the Mau Mau freedom
struggle in Kenya, they killed 100,000 Kenyans. Almost exactly the same
number of Iraqis have been killed in the war and occupation. They used
to cut off the limbs of Kikuyu tribes people and pin them to the wall
and take photographs of them. They used to pay British soldiers five pounds
per body for Kikuyu that they brought in. In Malaya when we crushed the
Malayan revolt for freedom, we killed 10,000 Malays. Ive seen pictures
of British soldiers holding the severed heads of Malay people for the
cameras. This is how all occupations end. These things don't happen because
the soldiers in question are American or British anymore than general
Sharon's army behaves as it does because it is Israeli, still less because
it's Jewish. They behave like that because they are occupying armies,
and all occupations end this way. They end in the demonization, the subhumanization
of the occupied people, a belief in the inherent superiority of the occupied
forces; otherwise, why should we be there reorganizing their societies?
And that inevitably leads when you're dealing with 17, 19, 21-year-old
young men with weaponry against helpless civilian populations, it always
ends in an Abu Ghraib.
AMY GOODMAN: British M.P. George Galloway. We were speaking
yesterday in London.