Its motto is “we get both sides of the story.”

For the al-Jazeera satellite TV network, the other side of the following story may amount to nothing but shameful propaganda.

Today, some U.S. soldiers from a combat support regiment went astray and ran into an Iraqi ambush.

Some were killed, and the rest taken prisoner.

Al-Jazeera broadcast pictures of their bodies on the side of the road and interviews with four men and a woman with footage from state-controlled Iraqi television. Each was interviewed individually and gave their names and their home states. They spoke into a microphone labeled “Iraqi Television,” and appeared distraught, wounded and bleeding.

A pool of journalists from BBC Arabic formed al-Jazeera five years ago. The Emir of Qatar and other Arab moderates continue to foot the bill. They had the gumption and foresight to recognize that a free press would better serve their own interests, and the interests of the Islamic world.

In the years since, al-Jazeera’s record has been hit-and-miss. It often risked shutdowns to air stories about the corruption of government officials in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and elsewhere.

It’s also been fomenting hatred throughout the Middle East with gratuitous pictures of dead Palestinian babies and other carnage. Since 9/11, it’s continued to broadcast potentially harmful videotaped statements by Osama bin Laden.

Lately, the question has arisen as to what role al-Jazeera coverage would play in the Iraq war.

Will it feed the Islamic world a fair presentation of events as they unfold, or serve as a mouthpiece for the Iraqi regime?

Granted, CNN, Fox, and the rest are certainly guilty of spinning the war for U.S. public consumption

But you’ll never see the U.S. military drag scared, bloodied Iraqi prisoners of war in front of the cameras. The U.S. media feeds Americans pictures of our G.I.’s handing out peanut butter, shaving kits, and new threads.

By choosing to air the images of U.S. POW’s, Al-Jazeera sunk to new levels of journalistic integrity.

Not to mention that its outward collaboration with the Iraqi regime is despicable at best.

In the long run, this type of blood-in-the-streets propaganda serves no one’s best interests in the Middle East.

If al-Jazeera wants to continue with its rendition of the war in Iraq, then we have a “target of opportunity” for the next salvo of Tomahawks.

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