Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bombing al-Jazeera

Missing from the stories I saw yesterday regarding the alleged Bush-Blair conversation in which our dim leader mentioned a desire, whether seriously or as a joke, to bomb the headquarters of al-Jazeera in Qatar, was the US military's history of bombing al-Jazeera facilities. Al-Jazeera takes the threat seriously because in April 2003 the network's Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign, killing one of the network's journalists, and in November 2001 a US missile struck and destroyed the network's office in Kabul. Although either of those occurences could easily be explained away as unintended consequences of war, they have to be reconsidered in light of the President's reported comments.

Whether he was serious or not, with that history those comments were more than usually stupid, even for Bush. You don't joke about bombing the facilities of a network whose facilities you have a history of bombing. And of course, if you're the President of the United States, you don't seriously consider bombing the facilities of a press outlet. At least, that's a rule of thumb I think the first 42 US Presidents were able to pretty comfortably live by.
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