Was it worth it? (20/5/2003)

20 May 2003

Was it worth it?



Channel 4 News

So the war may not be over, we don't yet know where Saddam is, his government may still control parts of the country. But this does feel like the day on which his regime crumbled.  After all the arguments about whether this war was justified, do you think it has been worth it?  Published: 09-Apr-2003 By: Channel 4 News  ... Details for both e-mail voting and phone voting here. Anyone can vote and it only takes a few seconds: http://www.channel4.com/news/2003/04/week_2/09_vote.html


Only in parts of the British and the US media is yesterday's image of the toppling statue, in front of at most a few hundred people, likely to eclipse the brutal reality of this war.  The unprovoked attacks on journalists in Baghdad and the heart-rending stories and images of civilian casualties coming out of Iraq's hospitals make it inevitable that the world-wide repercussions of the war on Iraq will be disastrous.

The passionate reaction of Spanish journalists to the killing of their colleague in Baghdad (see below), is yet another reminder to those of us outside the Middle East of the anger, pain and humiliation Arab journalists and citizens must be feeling.  Meanwhile, 'The United States on Wednesday warned countries it has accused of pursuing weapons of mass destruction, including Iran, Syria and North Korea, to "draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq." ' US To Iran, Syria, N Korea: 'Learn From Iraq', Reuters, 4-9-3
Spanish journalists snub Straw
Journalists walk out of press conference in protest at deaths of Baghdad reporters
Ciar Byrne
Wednesday April 9, 2003

[image] Show of support: journalists protest outside the US embassy in Madrid

Spanish journalists today snubbed Spain's prime minister and Britain's foreign secretary in protest at the death of the Spanish TV cameraman who was killed by a US tank shell in Baghdad.

At a speech at Madrid's senate today, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar expressed his condolences for Jose Couso, a journalist working for Spanish TV network Tele 5 who was killed at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, and for Julio Anguito Parrado, a Spanish journalist killed on Monday when an Iraqi missile hit a US military base south of Baghdad.

However, between 30 and 40 journalists present boycotted the speech by downing their cameras, microphones and notebooks and standing in stony silence.  Also today about 20 Spanish journalists walked out of a press conference in Paris with Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio, after just one question.

A colleague of Couso at Tele 5 asked Ms Palacio about reports that US forces had declared the Palestine Hotel a military target 48 hours before the blast that killed Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk.

The hotel has been the centre for most of the foreign media in the Iraqi capital throughout the war.

Ms Palacio was evasive, referring the questioner to comments by the Spanish defence minister, Federico Trillo, who recommended last night that Spanish journalists should leave Baghdad because the city had grown too dangerous.

But she said Spain was determined to press the US for a thorough investigation, saying: "I've been told there circumstances that were at the least surprising."

Mr Aznar was targeted again in the afternoon in the lower chamber of Spain's parliament as he arrived for a weekly question-and-answer session with the opposition.  A dozen photographers, who usually gather round to film him taking his seat, suddenly turned their backs on the prime minister and held up enlarged photos of Couso. Opposition politicians clapped at the gesture.  Hundreds of journalists also protested on outside the US embassy in Madrid.

Mr Straw declared today he was "very concerned" about the killing of journalists in Iraq and said he would demand a detailed account about US attacks on the Palestine Hotel and the offices of two Arabic television stations in Baghdad.

"I haven't had a detailed report but I'm going to ask for one this morning about the precise circumstances of these deaths," Mr Straw said.  "Of course, I'm very concerned indeed about the deaths of the journalists, as I am about the deaths of all innocent people in this conflict," he added.

The US military has given differing accounts of why one of its tanks fired on the journalists' hotel, initially suggesting there was enemy sniper fire coming from the building, and later claiming enemy binoculars had been spotted.  However, journalists on the scene yesterday said they had not heard any gunfire coming from the hotel and one Associated Press photographer questioned how the military could have seen enemy binoculars and not journalists' camera lenses.
It may well be that if Saddam's regime falls there will be dancing on the streets of Basra. But then, if the Bush regime were to fall, there would be dancing on the streets the world over. - Arundhati Roy http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,927712,00.html

from Schnews:  The Labour Party have a Freepost address, which means they have to pay the postage on anything you send them. Please don't send bricks or heavy phone directories to: The Labour Party, FREEPOST LON 10417, London, SW1P 4UT. All the local party offices also have freepost addresses that can be found on election leaflets

'Mark Seddon, a member of Labour's National Executive Committee, claimed such donations were causing Labour to lose members amid criticism from the grassroots that the party was now "in the pockets of the powerful and the rich".   He told the Today programme: "In any other country I think a government minister donating such vast amounts of money and effectively buying a political party would be seen for what it is, a form of corruption of the political process." ' http://ngin.tripod.com/030403c.htm


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