Friday, 8 November 2002

Bush fights for another clean shot in his war

by Robert Fisk

"A clean shot" was The Washington Post's revolting description of the murder of the al-Qa'ida leaders in Yemen by a US "Predator" unmanned aircraft. With grovelling approval, the US press used Israel's own mendacious description of such murders as a "targeted killing" – and shame on the BBC for parroting the same words on Wednesday. How about a little journalistic freedom here? Like asking why this important al-Qa'ida leader could not have been arrested. Or tried before an open court. Or, at the least, taken to Guantanamo Bay for interrogation.

Instead, the Americans release a clutch of Guantanamo "suspects", one of whom – having been held for 11 months in solitary confinement – turns out to be around 100 years old and so senile that he can't string a sentence together. And this is the "war on terror"?

But a "clean shot" is what President Bush appears to want to take at the United Nations. First, he wants to force it to adopt a resolution about which the Security Council has the gravest reservations. Then he warns that he might destroy the UN's integrity by ignoring it altogether. In other words, he wants to destroy the UN. Does George Bush realise that the United States was the prime creator of this institution, just as it was of the League of Nations under President Woodrow Wilson?

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