September 20, 2004

Pulling No Punches

A British ambassador tells us what he really thinks about Bush:

ROME (Reuters) - Britain's ambassador to Italy has called President Bush "the best recruiting sergeant" for al Qaeda, Italian media reported Monday.

The comment, made at a closed-door conference at the weekend, was denounced by one leading Italian newspaper editor, who issued an open letter snubbing the veteran ambassador, Sir Ivor Roberts.

Roberts was quoted as telling an annual Anglo-Italian gathering in Tuscany: "If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it's al Qaeda."

Corriere della Sera newspaper said Roberts also told the meeting of British and Italian policy-makers: "Bush is al Qaeda's best recruiting sergeant." ...

Somewhere, those comments left scorch marks, and they were supposed to be off the record. Whole new window into diplomacy as we know it. Now let's wait and see if Britain will sack the ambassador, as both Canada and Germany did with members of their government staff who made statements that were rather less scathing about Bush.

Blair's going to have fun with this, though. He could sack him, and tick off everyone in Britain who hates the Iraq war, and him for getting them into it. He could try to soothe the notoriously vain and testy Bush adiministration, hoping it will blow over and he won't have to do anything. He could put off action until after the U.S. election. Or finally, he could move the ambassador to a country that isn't part of the Coalition of the Bribed, and 'served' by a press that would make Rupert Murdock proud. We'll see.

The only other interesting question is how long it takes the Freepi to turn this into damning proof that the British aren't *really* our allies, and possibly traitors besides. Let the countdown begin.

Posted by natasha at September 20, 2004 11:05 AM | International | Technorati links |