01 Jun 2003 Thank You, Brave Eason! by Geoffrey Moore
After Saddam Hussein’s fall, CNN’s chief news executive Eason Jordan confessed to covering up 12 years of atrocities perpetrated by the Iraqi government. Over the course of his 13 trips to Iraq, he claimed he grew increasingly distressed by the things he saw and heard.
Jordan, however, said says he didn’t say anything at the time because he feared for the lives of the Iraqis on CNN’s Baghdad staff.
Jordan told of the government-sponsored abduction and torture of an Iraqi cameraman employed by CNN who refused to confirm Jordan was a CIA spy. Jordan was personally told by Saddam’s son Uday of his plans to assassinate two of his brothers-in-law and King Hussein of Jordan. Jordan felt a “moral obligation” to tell King Hussein (the King dismissed the notion). How courageous! But the brothers-in-law, who returned to Iraq months later, were assassinated.
Jordan also said he sent reporters to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq despite threats by the Iraqi Information Minister. They were later presented with evidence from the Kurds – including videotaped confessions – that Iraqi officials did plan to have them killed.
It’s very considerate of Jordan not to want to expose his staff to danger, but it is a good thing others didn’t use his caution as an example.
For example, thank goodness that the three men who provided the information of the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his inner circle on the night of the initial bombing weren’t so considerate. Hussein may not have been eliminated that night, but that one act could have successfully ended Operation Iraqi Freedom almost before it began.
We can all be glad that the Iraqi lawyer known as Mohammed also wasn’t held back by fear. He learned where PFC Jessica Lynch was held and made several six-mile treks to a Marine checkpoint from the hospital – drawing the maps and blueprints that eventually led to her rescue.
Let’s be glad that the other brave servicemen and women of the coalition forces of Operation Iraqi Freedom did not share Jordan’s reservations. They put themselves in harm’s way to do the right thing.
What makes Jordan’s revelations even sadder is that – while we were preparing for war – CNN gave a disproportionate amount of coverage to anti-Bush, er, anti-war rallies. Never let facts get in the way of a good story, right Eason?
After it was safe to do so, Jordan revealed how awful he felt for keeping these stories quiet. Perhaps the Iraqis could learn a thing or two from his courageousness and heroism. Thank you, brave Eason! Now, let’s commence to rounding up all of Hussein’s thugs and give the Iraqis the ability to determine their own destiny.
I’m perhaps most shocked that Jordan’s confession was published in the New York Times. It is so shocking to because I would have figured it would detract from their coverage of our allegedly failing post-war policy in Iraq.