Tuesday’s story in the Daily Mirror that detailed what was allegedly in a Top Secret British security memo got me thinking: Is this the first time someone suggested bombing al Jazeera out of existence? I had a hunch that it had been talked about, on some level, and made its way up to the President, who was probably keen on the idea, personally.
Coworkers told me I was on another planet – there is absolutely no way that the President would ever consider bombing within a friendly country. This just made me even more determined to check out my gut feeling. So I did what determined-but-lazy people do. I did a Google search.
Sure enough, a search for “bomb al Jazeera” led me to this article, written in September 2003 by Frank Gaffney, in which he recommends “taking out” al Jazeera “one way or another.”
Who is Frank Gaffney? Well, he’s a former Undersecretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan, and was a part of the Project for a New American Century with Cheney, Rumsfeld and the gang. He’s still described as a Pentagon advisor.
Of course, this proves nothing. But it does at least show that the idea to bomb al Jazeera out of existence wasn’t an idea that had never been discussed on some level by people with influence. It had been discussed, and probably had been discussed within the Pentagon, via the prodding of Frank Gaffney.
Maybe he was told he was insane and the idea was never mentioned again. But just as likely is that he called up his friend Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney and told them his thoughts, as he is free to do as a Pentagon advisor. After that? Who knows. But is it entirely implausible that Cheney or Rumsfeld then told the President, who then mentioned it to Tony Blair? Maybe the President was serious when he told Blair, maybe he mentioned it as a joke, maybe he said it faux-jokingly and hoped Tony would tell him it was a great idea.
Anyway, I’m all Googled out. But if any of you citizen journalists want to do some legwork on your own, post your findings in the thread below, and maybe together we can figure this out.