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Justin time


I emailed Justin Vaisse last night and received the following reply, which I reproduce in full:


1/ Translation of the excerpt is OK, except for the last 2 paragraphs:

"Without going that far, Richard Sambrook, a BBC star raised the stakes" [in this acception, it is not "raised the stakes", it is simply "confirmed and gave additional information"] . Another journalist in the room, giving other examples including the Palestine hotel incident, said he was quite satisfied that here, in Davos, the magnitude of this phenomenon would be recognized [or "acknowledged"], since it is well-known within the journalistic community but not beyond.

David Gergen, the moderator, was taken aback [I generally took my notes in French but here I wrote the English expression "flabbergasted"], and could not manage to move beyond that subject."

2/ Eason Jordan made it clear that it was in no case the policy of the Army or the Pentagon or any institution to target journalists; he said that incidents were due to individuals. But he said that it happens in a certain environment, in a climate of tension vis-à-vis the journalists because of the war, where "Rumsfeld sets the tone" in his public comments. "That is unhelpful," he commented. He also said that some in the journalist community think that some in the armed forces deliberately target journalists. He  didn't think that himself but did notice a very high level of animosity of some soldiers, esp. young one, towards the journalists, including American ones (not to speak of Al Jazeera reporters).

This view was widely shared by other journalists (who had been reporting from Iraq themselves) I've talked to in the room after the session.

Justin Vaisse

This adds considerably to our sense of events, and I greatly appreciate Justin's quick response.

I'll leave it for others to decide whether this follow-up supports Eason's Jordan's own various "clarifications." Certainly, it raises a new question regarding the supposed role of Don Rumsfeld in "setting the tone" for the actions of soldiers on the ground. Reading Vaisse's account, I can better understand why Americans in the room—even those opposed to the Admininstration's Iraq policies—were so outraged by Jordan's comments.

I'm sure mine is only the first of many inquiries Justin will be receiving in the days to come.

Posted by Rodger on February 8, 2005 at 07:13 AM | Permalink


Do you think that "climate" might have something to do with CNN's smearing of the entire military with Abu Ghraib??

Posted by: Spear Shaker | Feb 8, 2005 12:02:43 PM

Don Rumsfeld sets the tone? I know he thinks most journalists are, how shall I say it, STUPID and useless as teats on a boar hog, but I'm hard-pressed to remember Rumsfeld ever actually killing a journalist or even expressing the desire to kill one.

Posted by: OCBill | Feb 8, 2005 2:20:23 PM

"...I'm hard-pressed to remember Rumsfeld ever actually killing a journalist or even expressing the desire to kill one."

As I recall, Rummy prefers his journalists parboiled.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 8, 2005 2:23:52 PM

Give one instance where Sec. Rumsfeld said anything that could be remotely construed as encouragement for soldiers, "especially young ones" to target "journalists" with extreme prejudice and without justification.

FROM THE BLOGDESK: Just to be clear, I'm not accusing Don Rumsfeld of anything. (He used to be my boss, as a matter of fact, and I've always had the greatest admiration for him.) I don't have the sense that Justin Vaisse is blaming Rummy either. We're just reporting on what Justin says he heard Eason Jordan say at Davos. But I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a response from him.

Posted by: Esbiem | Feb 8, 2005 4:22:26 PM

Hmm, shouldn't the journalists be asking themselves why soldiers have a high level of animosity towards journalists? Shouldn't they be looking for the root causes and how journalists have caused this animosity?

And if it were Rumsfeld "setting the tone", wouldn't it be the most senior and closest to Rumsfeld with the animosity, not the youngest in the field?

Posted by: Kevin Murphy | Feb 8, 2005 4:31:00 PM

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