Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Who will rid me of these meddlesome reporters?
Remember the stink last winter when CNN vice president Eason Jordan suggested at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that American troops were targeting journalists in Iraq? Eason tried to explain that he didn't think we were actually trying to kill reporters as such, only that we weren't being particularly discriminating about who got in the crosshairs with the result that too many journalists and other non-combatants were getting killed. But it was too late. A firestorm erupted in the press and on the blogs. Two weeks later, Eason was forced to resign.

At one point in the controversy, Ann Coulter lived up to her reputation as a verbal pyromaniac by saying, "Would that it were so!... That the American military were targeting journalists." She might have been closer to getting her wish than she knew.
PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.

But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.


Bush disclosed his plan to target al-Jazeera, a civilian station with a huge Mid-East following, at a White House face-to-face with Mr Blair on April 16 last year.

At the time, the US was launching an all-out assault on insurgents in the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

Al-Jazeera infuriated Washington and London by reporting from behind rebel lines and broadcasting pictures of dead soldiers, private contractors and Iraqi victims.

Sending out troops to kill reporters who give you bad press. I'm sure most politicians daydream about this sort of thing, but very few are clueless enough to say it out loud or actually make plans. The only politicians who go through with this sort of thing are tinhorn dictators from the worst sort of banana republics.

Bombing our ally, Qatar, would have been an act of war. Assassinating civilians for bad press would have been murder, pure and simple. Is congress going to look into this? This congress?! Let me rephrase that. Will Tom DeLay and Bill Frist look into this?

And if he had really done it? What effect would that have had on other critics? I'm sure it would have intimidated many into silence, or, at least, into thinking twice before criticising the Bush administration. There is a word that we all know that describes an act of violence intended to intimidate a whole group of people. That word is "terrorism."

I'm sure that Bush's people will either deny that this happened or say he was just joking. Henry II said he was only kidding when he sent four knights to assassinate Beckett. History still hasn't forgiven him. Most politicians know that there are some things that they can't joke about. Ann Coulter gets to say outrageous things because she is a court jester. Eason Jordan was not allowed to say outrageous because he was supposedly a serious executive. Jordan lost his job for his impolitic speech. Bush is also supposedly a serious executive, but will he face any consequences?

Along with his gulag of secret prisons, I can think of few things that so well illustrate how low Bush has dragged our country.

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