Tuesday, June 14, 2005

“This was worse than Nick Wapshott being stuck on the QE2 on September 11”

From The Times Online (UK), a book extract from CHRIS AYRES’ “War Reporting for Cowards”:

«“Well, it’s your call,” said Ben. “No one’s going to second-guess you.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Can I, er, sleep on it?” “Of course,” said Ben, sounding surprised. “And keep the stories coming.”

“OK, CHRIS,” he said. “You ain’t gonna like this one bit, but I have orders. I have no choice. You understand?”

I stared at the captain’s lean, muscular face, and wondered what could possibly call for such a melodramatic opening.

“Yes,” I said slowly. “I understand.”

“What kind of satellite phone do you have?” asked Buck. The phone was still in my hand. I looked at it.

“It’s a Thuraya,” I said.

“I’m going to have to take it,” said Buck. “I have orders to confiscate all Thuraya phones being used by media representatives.”

My jaw slackened in a visual cliché of surprise. “I need your phone,” reiterated Buck.

“Are you serious?” I asked. “Why?”

I could tell that the question irrita- ted him. Warriors don’t ask for orders to be explained. He turned to the Marine behind him.

“Staff sergeant,” he said, “did the order for the phone ban give a reason?”

“It says the French sold the codes of the phones to the Iraqis, sir,” came the reply. “It means the enemy can trace the signals, sir.”

“There you have it,” said Buck.»

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