Tuesday, July 12, 2005

US military scores own goal

The BBC reports today that members of the US Air Force in Britain have been ordered to stay out of London, and indeed to stay outside the M25 motorway that encircles the city, in response to last week’s attacks on the tube and public buses.

I don’t know the source of this order (probably a local commander?), but whoever it came from, this strikes me as a very stupid decision that will turn into a PR disaster. Surely a simple, cautious reminder for airmen visiting the city to take extra care and be extra vigilant would have sufficed. At a time when Londoners are showing calm and resolve, going about their daily business despite the attacks, an outright ban on travel to London can only be met with contempt and disdain by the locals.

That, certainly, will be the case if the BBC has anything to do with it. The order was made the top story on the radio this morning (BBC Five Live), where listeners were being encouraged to call in their reactions to it. The BBC’s website has made the story second only to the naming of bombing victims, and does its best to portray the order as at least an act of hypocrisy, if not betrayal.

Details of the travel ban, enforced on Friday, emerged as US President George W Bush said the US would "not retreat in the face of terrorists" .

He said: "In this difficult hour, the people of Great Britain can know the American people stand with you."

The US military is hardly doing itself any favors by handing this kind of story on a silver platter to an already contemptuous British press.


Anonymous tired & excitable said...

And speaking of silver platters, how long has it been since a US spokesman in Britain got directly in the face of the Brit media and challenged them directly? It's hard to think of an easier of more satisfying target than the BBC, yet the State Dept time-servers in Grosvenor Square just sit and twiddle -- as they will do here.

Easier to do lunch with a "counterpart" and count the days left to the pension.

8:51 AM  

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