Tuesday, October 25, 2005

New rule

Despite rumors that it's merely a "technicality," a perjury accusation actually is a big deal. Well, at least if you're a foreigner.

A U.S. Senate subcommittee report Monday accused British Parliament member George Galloway of perjury and obstruction of criminal proceedings in relation to his bombastic testimony in May regarding Iraq's oil-for-food program and the Iraq war. The Justice Department will decide whether and how to pursue the case after reviewing the evidence amassed by subcommittee chairman U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and others.

For his part, Galloway said he's "begging to be prosecuted for perjury" and vowed to hop on the next flight to America to defend himself. A trial would be a good way to hold Galloway accountable or to let him clear his name, depending on what the facts reveal. Other considerations might lead the Justice Department to put the case on the back burner, though, as a U.S. perjury prosecution of a sitting British MP who's a vocal opponent of the Iraq war could further inflame British public opinion against the war.

To head off angry comments, I'll note that, yes, perjury is a serious criminal charge, and that holds true across the political spectrum. It'd be nice to see politicians be consistent on that point.

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