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November 23, 2005


mark safranski

Given the tight mil-mil relationship with Qatar I find it more likely that the United States would bomb the BBC.

Take the obvious political axes being ground by the source into consideration here as the chances of the JCS signing off on this kind of move would be about zero. Qatar represents a critical investment by the DoD.


Given this story came from the same newspaper that also printed fake photos of British soldiers abusing Iraqis in the post Abu Gbraib days, I await more concrete sources being provided.

However, what was more interesting was former Frank Gaffney stating on BBC Newsnight last night, that he considered Al-Jazeera to be a legitimate target, irrespective of whether this report is true or not.


How many Al Jazeera correspondents have "accidentally" died at our hands? How inconceivable is it that we're doing it on purpose, accidentally?

I don't understand how truth, justice and the American way are furthered by attacking journalists who print things our government doesn't like. Would we want our opponents assassinating American journalists for the same reason? Cuba or Al-Qaeda firebombing Robert Novak? What kind of values are we promoting?

Or is it that Arab journalists aren't "really" journalists and their deaths don't count? This last conclusion is the one that seems inescapable to me, an Arab-American. Whether it's torture or targeted assassination, the message seems to be that Arab lives have no value.

I'm pretty fed up this morning. I'm living a cushy, privileged American life here in California whilst torture and chemical warfare go on in my government's name. I feel complicit. I feel like a German in 1940: prosperous, happy, and helpless in the face of evil. I'm beginning to understand how it was that so many stood by under the Nazis and let them commit genocide. I never could conceive of it before.

So I called my congresswoman before taking the 4 year old to his exclusive private pre-school. What the hell else can I do this morning? My country is betraying its best ideals, and I've got to write a couple of papers and buy some Beaujolais for tomorrow's dinner. God bless America, indeed.


Apparently the British government has threatened newspaper editors with prosecution if they dare publish details of the conversation in question. This suggests the report is accurate. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1649077,00.html

mark safranski

" I feel complicit. I feel like a German in 1940: prosperous, happy, and helpless in the face of evil. I'm beginning to understand how it was that so many stood by under the Nazis and let them commit genocide. I never could conceive of it before."

Lady, you need to get a fragment of an idea about what Nazi genocide and the Third Reich really was about before you make free with these kind of comparisons. Very few regimes in history are morally equivalent with Nazism.

The fact that you feel comfortable enough to make these statements in a public forum without any fear that the police are going to kick in your door tonight and drag you off to a camp in itself invalidates your argument.


Aha, the old "Nazism and the Holocaust were so bad that nobody can ever use them to compare" argument. Sorry, bud, I do understand how bad they were, and I will still make the comparison. We aren't there at the moment - we aren't sending people to the gas chambers inside the country. But I live in insulated privilege while my government is killing people, torturing people, and decimating the Constitution, and I just keep on. We all do - going about our business, rationalizing that there's nothing we can do, or those dangerous people deserve what they get, or the government isn't so bad, is it?

And as an Arab-American, I do think about the knock on the door. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm concerned. And very aware that everything I say or type on the internet is likely to be monitored.

I've checked out a book on Hannah Arendt this week, edited by an old friend who was her pupil at Chicago. I'll be rereading her over the Christmas break. If you want to say "never again" then you must study what happened, and consider that it is possible for it to happen again. Perhaps not in exactly the same form - but fascism can repeat itself, and I for one won't let a self-righteous bastard like you keep me from considering the possibility.

Happy thanksgiving, hope your gall bladder doesn't poison your digestion, Safranski.

mark safranski

My gall bladder is quite well, Leila and I'm already familiar with Hannah Arendt, thanks.

Your comparison is still ahistorical and your ethnicity is really quite irrrelevant to the merits of your case. Empty cant parroted from Left-wing chat rooms or emotional posturing does not impress me, reasoned argument does and you haven't made one as of yet. Not liking a government policy or even deciding it is immoral doesn't make it Nazism reified.

You want examples of Fascism in today's world Leila ? Try Syria. Or Libya. Or Egypt. Or Iran. Or movements like al Qaida and Hizb ut-Tahrir. They all come complete with a seething intolerance for political criticism and differing points of view

Kind of like the attitude you are demonstrating here with name-calling and ad hominem smears.


Just wanted to drop a note and let everyone know that a few Al Jazeera Staffers are blogging about this story. Check it out at http://dontbomb.blogspot.com


Getting back to the subject, I do not think it improbable that Bush made the statement, and made it seriously, without its becoming official policy. Bush has a record of making bold and/or simplistic proclamations which are later withdrawn or modified. For example, early in his administration he asserted in an interview that the US would use force to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. This departure from decades of studied ambiguity was promptly defanged by administrations representatives. Here, Blair or Bush's own advisors could simply have talked him out of it.

The more worrisome question, assuming the story is true (it has not been denied by the UK government and the administration's response was a non-denial denial), is whether someone suggested, as an alternative, to "accidentally" hit Al-Jazeera targets when it could be done under cover of regular combat. I would much prefer not to believe that, but given the administration's attitude towards Al-Jazeera and its willingness to bend rules to fight terrorism, I don't think we can rule it out.

Nur al-Cubicle

Mark Safranski, this ain't H-Diplo. Don't be so cranky and combattive with my homie, Leila, and your high-falootin' ad hominum dudgeon.

Hey I have to hand it to AJ CEO Waddah Khanfar. He got a plane and now he's standing in front of No. 10, knocking on the door and waiting for an explanation.

mark safranski

" this ain't H-Diplo"

Sadly, H-Diplo isn't what it used to be either.

the aardvark

Happy thanksgiving, everyone. I believe this conversation (not the one about al-Jazeera) has jumped the turkey.

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