US military scores own goal
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.
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.
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."