Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Amanpour smacks-down Blitzer

Christiane Amanpour, one of my favourite journalists (she kicks the living daylights out of her American colleagues) has done it again. She speaks the truth! Blitzer had just finished announcing Kofi Annan's reaction to the killing of the 4 UN observers. It was clear from his tone that Blitzer thought Annan was overreacting and somehow prejudging. Well, Christiane Amanpour had just left the Israel/Lebanon border and had occasion to actually observe Israeli attacks near the UN base. Here's Amanpour giving some much needed context to AIPAC-lobby-friend-Blitzer:
BLITZER: Let's bring in Christiane Amanpour. She's back here in Jerusalem with me. Just came back from the border. You were close to Khiyam, this location where the United Nations observer force was based that was targeted. In the original statement put out by UNIFIL, they claimed what?
AMANPOUR: That it was aerial bombs that hit a patrol base. And they also said that UNIFIL had reported 14 incidents of close firing to that base throughout this afternoon. And we certainly remember that last night when we were at the border there -- and it's just across from Matula (ph), where the CNN position is. We reported last night a massive increase in the amount of air power and of artillery power. So, you know, this is happening in an area where there was a huge amount of activity.
And I think, you know, when you read the secretary-general's very strong statement, number one, there's --
four people are dead, so this is deplorable for U.N. observers. When he says, "apparently deliberately targeting," he then goes on to say the General Alam Pelligrini (ph), who is his force commander there, had been in repeated contact with Israeli officers through the day on Tuesday, stressing the need to be careful about that position. And, I mean, you know, these things when we talk to the military up there, the Israeli military, they tell us over and over again that they're doing their best to avoid civilian or other untouchable targets and they say that in war, there is misidentification of targets and misidentifying the enemy and mistakes. I mean, they're open about it.
And, you know, I was talking to former Israeli minister Yossi Sarid, who, as you know, was one of the founders of the Peace Camp. He was a former minister. And he says -- and like many hear in Israel say -- that they, obviously, support the strong response to the killing of their two soldiers. But he said to us the
United States should be aware that it should really try to help Israel by restraining it because Israel, in his words, doesn't know when to stop. So this is an issue that is concerning people here.

[Blitzer quickly corrects Amanpour's use of the word "killing" when she meant to say "kidnapping"]
BLITZER: The kidnapping, Yossi Sarid being a very doveish politician here in Israel.
AMANPOUR: And the killing of the others.
Amanpour has done two important things here: she points out that (a) Annan had every reason to suspect that the bombing of a UN site was deliberate, and (b) that not every Israeli thinks this massive killing of Lebanese is somehow good for peace or good for Israel. You and I might take that for granted but it's an attitude that many don't hear much about in North America. Anyway, here's where the Blitzer/Amanpour thing gets really good:
BLITZER: You know, Kofi Annan is the top diplomat of the United Nations, the secretary-general. Normally, diplomats when they have these kinds of incidents, they respond with diplomacy. They are -- diplomatically, it has to be investigated. For him to make this serious accusation, as smart as he is, knowing the ramifications of what he was saying, you have to presume he has got other information beyond what's in the statement.
AMANPOUR: And he's called for an investigation and you know he has called for a cease-fire in all these past days since this has exploded.
BLITZER:
But he's come up with a conclusion before the investigation.
AMANPOUR: He says apparently.
BLITZER: Yes, well, that's serious ...
AMANPOUR: He's calling for an investigation.
BLITZER: But that's a pretty serious accusation. It's a ...
AMANPOUR:
Four of his people are dead.
Yes, Wolf. Four of his people are dead. God, I hope someone posts a clip of this because you have to have seen Amanpour's face when she said this. I'm totally in love with this woman.

To borrow from Dr. Strangelove..."Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

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