April 1, 2003

more on the peter arnett firing (via the black table).

he has a column today in the UK rag, the mirror. Excerpts from the piece:

"I am still in shock and awe at being fired. There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming out from Baghdad. They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems.
Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television; that the US war timetable has fallen by the wayside.
The right-wing media and politicians are looking for any opportunity to be critical of the reporters who are here, whatever their nationality. I made the misjudgment which gave them the opportunity to do so. I gave an impromptu interview to Iraqi television feeling that after four months of interviewing hundreds of them it was only professional courtesy to give them a few comments.
I don't want to give aid and comfort to the enemy - I just want to be able to tell the truth.
During the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, I entered a US-held town which had been totally destroyed. The Viet Cong had taken over and were threatening the commander's building so he called down an artillery strike which killed many of his own men. The Major with us asked: "How could this happen?" A soldier replied: "Sir, we had to destroy the town to save it." The Bush and Blair administration does not want that label stuck on this war, it is a liberation for them. But the problem is US Marines at checkpoints are suspicious of every man, woman and child because of the suicide bomb.
We know the world, including many Americans, is ambivalent about this war and I think it is essential to be here. I'm not here to be a superstar. I have been there in 1991 and could never be bigger than that. Some reporters make judgements but that is not my style. I present both sides and report what I see with my own eyes.
But I want to tell the story as best as I can, which makes it so disappointing to be fired."

Many of us out here are also disappointed by your firing. Stay in Iraq and keep "telling the story as best" you can.


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