The Times, London, Nov. 20: The death of four journalists in Afghanistan, confirmed late yesterday, highlights the deadly risks that war reporters routinely take as part of their job. It is glibly said, on the occasion of war, that "truth is the first casualty." This is not necessarily true, but what certainly is the case is that the free flow of information, the sole means of offering an additional and independent perspective view on events, is a precious commodity and one that should be defended.
The truth is that while war reporting is often portrayed as a glamorous profession, it is, always, dangerous work conducted in the most miserable of conditions.
Low-key courage: It is a strange war indeed where more journalists seem to have been killed than, so far, either American or British soldiers. Seven reporters have been killed inside Afghanistan so far and, unfortunately, it would be no surprise if more followed. It takes a special kind of low-key courage to look this sort of desolate death in the face. Those who have it deserve to be remembered with a special respect.
Il Messaggero, Rome, Nov. 21: The decision to once again declare a price on Osama bin Laden's head, a bounty as high as $25 million for whomever takes him dead or alive, has appeared to many Europeans to be the sign of a typically American mentality, an attempt to force Texan customs on an entirely different world.
Even Tony Blair turned up his nose when Bush used the expression "dead or alive," explaining that the "prince of terror" should receive a trial similar to that of Milosevic.
But, given the traditions and reality of Afghanistan, the American approach seems more realistic, even if it is a realism as harsh as the conditions in which the Afghan people live.
Tribes: The bounty offer is not aimed toward individual Afghans but toward the heads of the tribes and groups that returned to power in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime.
The goal is that of effectively enlisting these armed factions, even as they carry on a bloody rivalry, and offering a hefty compensation to those that may get their hands on the body of the man that hit the heart of America.
Among Europeans the doubt remains: is it really to the Americans' advantage to allow a billion-plus Muslims to see photographs similar to those that showed Che Guevarra's body laid out in a little morgue in Bolivia? Those images of a man martyred in the name of revolution became an explosive icon.