A British reporter says a U.S. journalist in Baghdad told him she wants to see more Iraqis die so President Bush will be thrown out of office in November.

Toby Harnden, Middle East correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph, said he engaged in the conversation while taking a break by the pool at the Al-Hamra Hotel in the Iraqi capital.

In an opinion piece for the Spectator magazine of Britain, Harnden said at poolside he “was accosted by an American magazine journalist of serious accomplishment and impeccable liberal credentials.”

The American journalist told Harnden she had been disturbed by his argument that Iraqis were better off now than under Saddam Hussein.

Harnden said he heard from her the usual “script” from antiwar activists, “no WMD, no ‘imminent threat’ (though the point was to deal with Saddam before such a threat could emerge), a diversion from the hunt for bin Laden, enraging the Arab world, etc.”

But the American then came to her point, Hernden said.

“Not only had she ‘known’ the Iraq war would fail but she considered it essential that it did so because this would ensure that the ‘evil’ George W. Bush would no longer be running her country.

“Her editors back on the East Coast were giggling, she said, over what a disaster Iraq had turned out to be. ‘Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out.'”

“Startled by her candor,” said Herndon, “I asked whether thousands more dead Iraqis would be a good thing.”

The British journalist said, “She nodded and mumbled something about Bush needing to go.”

He then suggest to her that by this logic another Sept. 11 attack, on about Sept. 11, would be perfect for pushing up John Kerry’s poll numbers.

“Well, that’s different ? that would be Americans,” she said, haltingly, according to Harnden. “I guess I’m a bit of an isolationist.”

In his column, Harnden then commented on the “moral degeneracy of these sentiments,” concluding with:

“Whatever we thought about the war before it was launched, it is imperative that the forces of Arab nationalism and Islamism that now threaten to destroy Iraq are defeated. If America fails in Iraq it will be all of us in the West, not just Bush, who will suffer. But those who would be most in peril, of course, would be the Iraqis, who deserve better than to have their country treated as an electoral playground by the American Left or Right. To wish otherwise is as sick as the grins on the faces of the Abu Ghraib torturers.”

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