BOMBING AL-JAZEERA….Did George Bush seriously suggest that coalition forces should bomb al-Jazeera headquarters because he was unhappy over their coverage of the siege of Fallujah in 2004? Christopher Hitchens describes just how loony the thought is:
The state of Qatar, which though a Wahabbi kingdom has a free press and allows women to run and to vote in elections….It has also been the host of United States Central Command….It is the site each year of a highly interesting and useful conference, co-sponsored by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution….Its emir has been a positive help and supporter to many democrats in the region. Bombing or blowing up the Al Jazeera office would involve hitting the downtown section of Doha, the capital city of a friendly power. It’s difficult to think of any policy that would have been more calamitous.
OK, agreed. But did Bush suggest it? The two guys who leaked the contents of the incriminating memo are currently on trial in Britain, and the New York Times buries the following confirmation in its report:
Peter Kilfoyle, a legislator from Mr. Blair’s Labor Party, said he…had tried to publicize the document in the United States in 2004.
Mr. Kilfoyle said in a telephone interview that he and [Tony] Clarke had hoped to influence the 2004 presidential election by sharing information from the document with John Latham, 71, a British citizen with connections to the Democratic Party.
The Guardian has more details on the Kilfoyle/Latham connection, and it all sounds pretty lame to me. Are these guys seriously saying that they couldn’t figure out any way at all to safely get a photocopy of this document to an American newspaper? Why? Were they afraid no one would be interested? Sheesh.