September 11, 2004


"Why dismiss what Jemaah Islamiah says?" writes Meg Lees staffer Gary Sauer-Thompson. "What they say is rational." Compared to the rest of GST's vile nonsense, he has a point:

The consequences of blowback this time is that it is the Indonesians rather than Australians who have suffered the most. That is the tragedy.

Nice bloke. Maybe heíll go on a local killing spree to correct that international suffering imbalance. (To cheer yourself up after reading Gary, check out Currency Ladís examination of the minor party war and Professor Bunyipís superb guide to terror reactions.)

Still on the subject of tragedy and the irrational, hereís Matt Welch:

I haven't written about the two French journalists being held hostage in Iraq, partly because the story affects us very personally -- they are colleagues and e-mail correspondents of Emmanuelle's, belonging to an online group of global French freelancers she founded a couple of years back. Emmanuelle has been anguished about their fate for weeks.

So why not write about it here? Because, unlike in November 2001, when her colleague Johanne Sutton was murdered by the Taliban, the whole us vs. them solidarity, where the Western world was square against the savages trying to kill us, has eroded to the point where you can be reliably sure that as soon as you write the word "French" the kowardly keyboard warriors are gonna come out and type "good riddance" and worse anonymously in the comments section of personal websites of the victims' personal relations. And sure enough, that's exactly what's happened.

To adapt a phrase, these people aren't pro-war, they're on the other side. Of basic human decency.

Heís right. Rail against the French government all you like (and I will), but calling for the deaths of French journalists in Iraq is as sickening as any blood-lusting howl from Jemaah Islamiah.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 11, 2004 12:35 AM

Given the latest threat to Italy says that in return for meeting the kidnapper's demands, they'll give information (where the bodies are buried? if they're still alive?), I'm not hopeful.

Remember these were Aid workers. From an organisation that had been in Iraq even before thw war, and so had an "in" with the Ba'athists.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at September 11, 2004 at 12:56 AM

And by my last sentence I meant that it was probably not Ba'athists who did this deed. Not that the victims were in any way connected with Saddam's tyranny. These were people genuinely trying to do good.
Cross fingers they'll end up safe and sane.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at September 11, 2004 at 12:58 AM

Sorry, I'm not buying all of Matt's line. First off, the Western world was not solidly with the U.S. in November 2001. That is historical revisionism. I'm looking at actions of what countries and people did, not mouthy platitudes or empty votes that weren't followed up on.

Secondly, what I've seen said about the French journalists reflects on the French government, not the reporters... that maybe, just maybe, the French government will finally freaking wake up. Of course there are yahoos that will make insane comments like he mentions. And of course there are insane books that tell you how to murder the President. Just be sure not to draw the line too close to your side, Matt.

Posted by: ken at September 11, 2004 at 02:56 AM

When did Matt Welch turn into Andrew Sullivan?

Posted by: Steve in Houston at September 11, 2004 at 05:31 AM

Given the anti-American comments made not just by French government officials, or even the French people, but precisely by FRENCH JOUNALISTS, don't expect for a gnat's heartbeat that Americans are going to watch this episode with the two journalists with anything less than a "what goes around, comes around" grin.

Sorry pal. If you want me to be all verklempt, you're going to have a long wait. Very real Americans have died because of the behaviors of French government officials, French businessmen AND French journalists.

Posted by: paul a'barge at September 11, 2004 at 06:28 AM

No, Matt has a point. I've seen too many cowardly online assholes express joy and derisive laughter at the thought of French journalists being kidnapped by terrorists. This isn't an "I told you so" sort of thing, these are people who laugh loud and hatefully.

Fuck that. There's no excuse. Adding "...but the french government waa waa waa" is a sad little fig-leaf defense of the indefesible. It isn't okay for EuroJerks to cheer for the death of Americans because they don't like the Bush administration, it's not okay for us to savor the death and misfortune of French individuals because of Chirac or his policies.

Posted by: Sortelli at September 11, 2004 at 08:09 AM

I have to agree. The French government behaving like a bunch of assholes does not give free license to the rest of the world to do the same. Chirac himself can go twirl on a bayonet, but I don't wish any ill will on the journalists.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 11, 2004 at 08:41 AM

I agree that there is no excuse for the behavior of some in gloating over this. Comments made about the French government are as fair game as their comments about us, however.

But to Matt's other points again, not that many were with us in action in November 2001. France and Germany went to Afghanistan ONLY after all the heavy lifting had been due by the U.S.

Posted by: ken at September 11, 2004 at 10:20 AM

I feel bad for the French journalists because they are being used as pawns in the long-standing Gallic tradition of bribing its way through trouble in the Middle East.

I feel bad for them because if the Philippines hadn't capitulated so quickly to kidnappers, that tactic might not be nearly as attractive as it is right now and those guys have been caught up in it as well.

I don't know who Emmanuelle is, but I'm assuming her anguish isn't any greater than that of the families of the Nepalese workers who were beheaded because they had the nerve to help build roads and power plants and such.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at September 11, 2004 at 11:05 AM

The French journalists capture has had a unifying affect on muslim/christian relations in France.I read about Muslims coming out to protest and show their solidarity to their country.That and the muslim journalists honest appraisal of muslim terrorists being a shame are hopeful signs.Perhaps the tide is starting to turn against the islamo fascists within the muslim world.I hope so.

Posted by: gubbaboy at September 11, 2004 at 11:59 AM

What sort of articles did these French journalists write? Were they the usual "humiliation is torture", "brave Iraqi resistance", "Americans are all war criminals", "Ask why terrorists hate you" Al-Jazeera propoganda? If so, good riddance to bad rubbish, and I hope they die screaming.

Posted by: Clem Snide at September 11, 2004 at 04:18 PM

Clem, that's a pretty fucked up idea. No one should die for articles they write. Not Nazis, not Communists, not French journalists, not you, not me. Whatever those articles said.

Posted by: tom beta 2 at September 11, 2004 at 07:03 PM

Gee, Clem, way to be an asshole. Me? I don't care for a lot of what many journalists, French and otherwise, have written on subjects pertaining to Americans, the War on Terror, and September 11th. But you know what? I save my death wishes for the terrorists. They're the ones who decided to kill innocents because they don't like the way the world is run, and they'd have done so even if every journalist in the world was behind George Bush 100%.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 12, 2004 at 01:45 AM