July 06, 2004

Letter to the Paper XXV

Tim Blair has a good article on Robert Fisk's latest outrage, the 'outing' of Saddam's judge after he promised not to tell. I put in my two cents in comments:

The idea that some other outlet violating their word by identifying the judge relieves Fisk (and everybody else) from keeping it just doesn't fly at all and is not normal journalistic practice. I remember in NYC that when certain black media outlets identified the Central Park jogger victim by name, other outlets didn't go along with it.

The time to dissent from a "no identifying" agreement is before you agree to it. The Independent just blew its credibility for anybody considering talking to them anonymously regarding any subject. Their word is worth nothing. They should be ejected from the courtroom, along with every other outlet that violated their word.

That being said, the judge shouldn't be anonymous in the first place. The only reason he needs anonymity is that taking his life is a wartime objective for an international rebel force trying to destabilize Iraq and destroy any chance of a stable, free future for the people. Saddam should have been held for a further amount of time until it was safe to try him without such extraordinary measures.

Let's not forget why Saddam's being tried in such an unsafe environment. France and its lackeys pushed for a fast transfer of sovereignty. The Red Cross said that the US couldn't keep him. And if the Iraqi transitional government kept him without charging him, they'd have been constantly pilloried as an illegitimate, undemocratic tyranny.

The international community outside the Coalition of the Willing forced us to this place where the only practical and humane solution was to ask news outlets that the judge have his identity remain secret for the time being. For their ankle biting and elbow-in-the-ribs obstructionism, they too deserve condemnation. They simultaneously want all the I's dotted and t's crossed without any shortcuts without giving the people doing the actual work the time necessary to set things up right. That's shameful and the end result may be a dead judge. I wonder if Chirac will visit his grave?

HT: Damian Penny

Posted by TMLutas at July 6, 2004 08:30 AM