When journalists are a legitimate target?not journalists, but terrorists. But what if they had been journalists? Would they have been legitimate targets? According to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and NATO, the answer to that question could be yes (if Israel were not involved). This is from 1999.
Nato leaders yesterday scrambled to justify the bombing of Serbia's state television station in an attack which killed a number of civilian workers and marked a further widening in the scope of targets now considered legitimate.Read the whole thing.
The attack on the building in the centre of Belgrade - which contradicted an apparent assurance by Nato this month that only transmitters would be hit - was condemned by international journalists' organisations, representing both employers and unions.
Tony Blair, in Washington for Nato's 50th anniversary summit, insisted that bombing television stations was 'entirely justified' since they were part of the 'apparatus of dictatorship and power of Milosevic'. He added: 'The responsibility for every single part of this action lies with the man who has engaged in this policy of ethnic cleansing and must be stopped.'
At a heated press briefing at the Ministry of Defence, Clare Short, the international development secretary, said: 'This is a war, this is a serious conflict, untold horrors are being done. The propaganda machine is prolonging the war and it's a legitimate target.'
Admiral Sir Ian Garnett, chief of joint operations at the ministry of defence, said Mr Milosevic's 'propaganda machine consists of transmitters but also the studios from which the information is transmitted. That makes it part of the overall military structure. Both elements have to be attacked.'
Nato's military spokesman, Air Commodore David Wilby, two weeks ago described RTS, the Serbian state broadcasting station, as a 'legitimate target which filled the airways with hate and with lies over the years'.
By this standard, we should have destroyed al-Aqsa television completely regardless of who was inside, and during the next war with Lebanon, we should target Hezbullah's al-Manar network. Hmmm. Is the IDF listening?