General Vince Brooks’ view that journalists should not be in Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel appeared to be supported by a contentious leader in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph – which earlier withdrew its correspondent from Baghdad.
The Telegraph said there was strong evidence to show those journalists were being used as “human shields” as Saddam’s loyalists retreated to buildings they thought least likely to be attacked. “It may be even that the regime is using the Palestine Hotel as its last refuge – in short, journalists are, unintentionally, helping Saddam.”
Incensed Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said: “That’s a really dangerous and unhelpful thing to write. Editors may have their individual reasons for not wanting to have kept reporters in Baghdad, but when they are operating in conditions of incredible danger, to start writing leaders saying that leaves you to wonder at their motives.”