Startling new revelations have surfaced on the heels of news reports that President Bush had to be talked out of bombing the Arabic television station al-Jazeera, which has its headquarters in Doha, the capital of Qatar, a country considered a U.S. ally.
Newly uncovered documents reveal that at the same time he was considering bombing al-Jazeera, Bush was proposing additional air strikes on other “unfriendly” targets around the globe, including Paris, Caracas, Moscow and San Francisco.
According to the declassified memos, at the same meeting with Tony Blair where bombing al-Jazeera was discussed, Blair had to fight vigorously to deter Bush from attacking additional targets.
In fact, as the report notes, “Bush was most intransigent regarding San Francisco. He felt that America would be much stronger and more unified without a city full of ‘Hippie, dope-smoking liberals.’” Mr. Blair had to use every ounce of his persuasive abilities to turn Bush away from this idea.
When challenged about his willingness to bomb his own citizens, Bush argued for leveling San Francisco by declaring, “They’re not Americans. They’re Californians. There’s a huge difference.”
There was some give and take during the lengthy and sometimes heated discussions. At one point, Blair conceded the possibility of allowing the U.S. to destroy Paris if the other targets were spared. “This would be the least of all evils,” Blair is recorded as saying.
In the end, Bush was talked out of bombing any of the chosen sites. He did leave open the option of placing San Francisco under martial law until the conclusion of hostilities in Iraq.