Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera HQ in Doha, Qatar?

The British newspaper The Daily Mirror just broke a story based on a “Top Secret” Downing Street memo: In April 2004, when Tony Blair visited Washington, Bush proposed bombing the Doha, Qatar, headquarters of the al-Jazeera news network. Blair talked him out of it, pointing out that such a bombing would spark revenge attacks. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16397937%26method=full%26siteid=94762%26headline=exclusive--bush-plot-to-bomb-his-arab-ally-name_page.html:

I don’t know what to think. I’m willing to believe almost anything of Bush at this point, but this is really over the line. Is it possible he really meant it? That he would contemplate using deadly force against a civilian news agency in a friendly country? :eek:

Assuming he did, does anyone care to defend the propriety of such a course of action?

Assuming for a moment that Bush was serious and not just joking (I tend to think its one of those half serious/humorous thing…‘come the revolution we’ll shoot all the lawyers’ or musing about how nice it would be if someone wacked the IRS…), we’d need to know WHY Bush was serious about bombing the thing. Unless you assume Bush does things for completely irrational reasons (or that he’s insane), the evidence isn’t really that strong that Bush randomly wacks anyone who disagree’s with him/the US…or France would be a smoking hole in the ground and we’d have troops in Belgium. :wink:

So…WHY would Bush want to seriously bomb al-Jazerra? Because of its anti-US rhetoric? Lots of foreign news sources have anti-US rhetoric. Because of its following in the Arabic world? There are several news sources in the Arabic world who are just as popular. Perhaps because there was some indication of a link between AJ and the insurgents in Iraq…or between AJ and AQ? Well, that would be a viable reason to take it out if so. But since we have no idea its hard to even debate if Bush was serious or not.


:dubious: Why would that be a viable reason to take it out?

That Daily Mirror article is atrociously written. I have no idea what is going on. What does the memo actually say? Is it available to see? Are there any available quotes from it? The answers to these might be somewhere in the article, but damned if I can work it out…

If it had direct ties to AQ? I’d say that would make it a military target (if you could prove it). I can’t think of anything else that would make it a legitimate target…so I tend to think Bush was joking about it and Blair was playing along. Certainly I don’t see Bush as one to be swayed from what he thinks is right…even if he’s wrong. The logic by Blair that bombing AJ would spark reprisals is pretty weak…compared to the reprisals of taking out the Taliban/AQ in Afghanistan taking out a AJ is pretty small potatoes. This isn’t even counting Iraq.


If you could prove it, simply publishing the proof would accomplish a lot more than bombing a-J’s HQ. And would also be the more ethical course.

Thank God it’s not your say, then. Take a look at this:

Cite. Al Jazira could be broadcasting 24-hour pro-al Qaida propaganda, which is not remotely what they do, and still be an illegitimate target. As long as they are not contributing to concrete military action and their destruction offers no concrete military advantage, bombing them would be a grave breach of international law.

Perhaps it would, perhaps not. You are splitting hairs on a speculation. You asked me how it could be a viable target, and I told you. If there was a direct link between AJ and AQ, AJ would become a viable military target. How we went about taking it out (or even if we did) are another kettle of fish.

The point though is we have zero idea even if Bush was serious. If he was serious we have zero idea WHY he felt we should bomb AJ. Seems kind of an off hand way to go about discussing something this serious with an ally to my mind…thus I’m back to ‘he was joking’. Perhaps Bush needs to work more on his punchlines…or maybe carry a sign saying ‘For the humor impaired: I’m being funny (well, I’m trying to be at least)’


No, it wouldn’t. See post #7.

Yes it would…depending on how you define ‘direct link’. You guys seem to be definining it in a different way than I meant it.

I never said that simply broadcasting propaganda would be enough. Here is what I was getting at by ‘direct link’: ‘As long as they are not contributing to concrete military action and their destruction offers no concrete military advantage, bombing them would be a grave breach of international law.’ Notice the qualifiers you used there? Now…take them out, add things like ‘covert financial support’ and ‘use of AJ facilities and information sources’, plus a dollop of ‘use of AJ as cover for AQ operatives’ and you will see what I meant by ‘direct link’. Again, its pure unmitigated speculation…but it would make AJ a valid military target.

Seriously, in future, ASK me to define what I mean instead of assuming you know and then going off.


Quatar has one of the most US friendly regiemes in the ME. Their airfields/ports/etc. were heavily used during the Iraq invasion. If we thought that Al-Jazeera had Al Queda ties, we’d almost certainly ask the Qutar gov’t to investigate instead of just blowing up buildings and killing a bunch of random jornalists, alienating an important and friendly ally, further pissing off the Arab world and maybe getting an Al-Queda agent or two if they happen to be hanging out in the Al-Jazeera buildings on that day. We’d loose the chance to investigate, since it’s unlikely we’d uncover any living suspects from the rubble, Qutar would be unlikely to allow any US agents in to interrogate any other terrorist suspects, and Al-Jazzerra would be up and running again in a few weeks anyways.

Bush was joking.

Everything you say in the first paragraph is true – but how does the second paragraph follow?

To put all this in context – from the Daily Mirror article:

Furthermore, U.S. forces have been accused of targeting al-Jazeera in the past:

I believe The Daily Mirror has a reputation that would make The Thieves And Whores Daily look respectable by comparison.

Do you have any kind of proof that this occurred? Do you know of any ideological link between al Jazira and al Qaida that would make this possible? If not, your arguments are pure nonsense. No matter what ill-informed picture you have of al Jazira’s actual, recorded activities, these activities could in no way make it a legitimate target.


And, relevance? Remember, respectability and credibility are two different things.

uh? You want me to cite a reputation?

Well allright then…

Er…do you know what ‘pure speculation’ means? BG asked what would be grounds for a military strike at AJ…I speculated on what I thought would make up those grounds. I then said (repeatedly) that this was speculation and that I thought Bush was joking. Seriously…did you actually read what I wrote?


Because he wouldn’t gain anything and loose a lot from attacking Al-Jazerra. I don’t like Bush, but as xtisme said, he wouldn’t have to just be incompetant to come up with this plan, he’d have to be insane. I don’t think Bush is insane, so he must have been joking or running his mouth off, or someone is misconstruing the contents of the memo which, as far as I can tell, only a few people have actually seen.

If the memo is actually made public, there might be more to say, but as it sits any debate would just be built on speculation on top of heresay.

That’s not speculation, that’s “if my uncle had ovaries, he’d be my auntie”.

I’m just pointing out that bombing al Jazira for any of its primary activities would be a grave breach of international law, and that in order to get around that, one would need speculation atop speculation atop speculation, in which al Jazira, no real fan of al Qaida, is in fact some kind of spy network pinging terrorist communications across the ether.

That is, your speculation is bizarre and pointless. It is not proven that Bush wanted to bomb al Jazira, but there is no vaguely possible set of facts in which such a bombing would be acceptable. Your speculation just serves to muddy the waters.

Get a ouija board and tell it to Tareq Ayyoub (see second quotation in post #12).