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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

So we see the return of the story about how Bush allegedly wanted to bomb the headquarters of the Al Jazeerah tv channel in Quatar. I don’t know whether or not this is accurate but there is something else I have been wondering about: why would he even consider it? I am just assuming from hearsay that al-J’s reporting of Western military effort is biased against the Coalition. But if that’s what was bugging Bush, he would have been singling out al-J rather unfairly, given that there are plenty of other tv channels that are not noted for their enthusiasm for the war in Iraq. Some of them rather closer to home too.
Ok, so perhaps he really is the kind of war-mongeringly thoughtless nutter that the anti-war likes to make him out to be. Despite being a fully committed pro-American über-hawk I cannot of course rule this out theoretically. Well, I’ll leave that to the theorists then.
Another possibility that also can’t be discounted is that he was joking. Who knows? He might have been discussing the difficulty of getting any kind of good PR, and after mulling over the frustration of al-J specifically, might have jested, “we should just bomb them!”. If that were the case I can also see why no one would want this published because it would appear rather immature to be making jokes like that in the midst of a war crisis. And that’s still an understatement.
But here’s my guess at what could have been the driving factor. Apologies for the fuzzy detail and I don’t have any links at present, but I remember there was a story about al-J paying insurgents to carry out attacks so they had some exciting material. Additionally there were a whole host of allegations about collusion between al-J reporters and insurgents. I don’t know if those stories ever really got substantiated, but it would be quite a serious situation if it were true. Perhaps Bush indeed suggested to Blair that bombing al-J’s HQ might be an option of dealing with the problem. To my knowledge nothing was ever done. So the problem I see for Bush in regards to this memo is that it shows he had evidence of al-J/insurgent cooperation and then did nothing about it. This would be a real damper in regards to his standing with more hawkish types. Remember of course when this supposed discussion took place, frustration and even anger was on the boil about Bush N’ Blair’s refusal to send enough troops in the right fashion to win in Iraq (see archives of timmyhawk and Weekly Standard ad nauseam). Bush and Blair may simply now be trying to avoid coming under even more pressure from within their own camps.
There is one final reason for suppressing the memo. It’s a memo of a confidential, i.e. secret, deliberation between heads of government. If such conversations can in future not take place because of an overbearing fear of unprofessional civil servants leaking anything that tickles their fancy, communication between our governments will become ever more difficult, and in consequence it will become evermore harder to act. Particularly damaging to the Government in times of war.
Well that’s my quid’s worth, we’ll see one day I suppose. We always do in the end.

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