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Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2001 / 6 Kislev, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- Diplomats say the cutest things.

Recently, Secretary of State Colin Powell asked on Northern Alliance rebels not to enter the Afghan city of Kabul. He wanted them to encircle it, not invade it, so diplomats could huddle and handpick the country's next leaders. Naturally, freedom fighters ignored him, and quickly occupied the town. The episode was revealing: Diplomats often act as if they're the key players in creating peace and democracy, but in fact, warriors do the heavy lifting.

Diplomats enter the picture only when the battlefield victor needs to set conditions for peace. The Northern Alliance, unlike say southern Afghan tribes, has earned the spoils of war, including a share of power, because it has fought on our side from the start. Other groups that wish to participate in post-Taliban government need to start fighting the Taliban right now.

Because those who choose to sit on the sidelines while others fight will seal their post-Taliban fate -- and not even Colin Powell will be able to help them.

The BBC World Service, once set the global standard for journalistic excellence, has decided not to describe Usama bin Laden as a terrorist because, quoting deputy news director Mark Damazer, "However appalling and disgusting (the September 11 attack) was, there will nevertheless be a constituency of your listeners who don't regard it as terrorism. Describing it as such could downgrade your status as an impartial and independent broadcaster."

Now, I'm sure a few cannibals listen to the BBC, along with racists, rapists, and even nude auto mechanics, but I doubt the BBC gives them veto power over its news presentation. Mr. Damazer seems to think the BBC will surrender its objectivity if it acknowledges an indisputable truth that murder is evil, and mass murder profoundly so. This decision makes the BBC a joke.

I mean, how much would you trust an organization that lacks the brains or courage to distinguish between a political disagreement and the unprecedented slaughter of innocents?

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