Sunday, March 06, 2005

'Trigger happy ' in Baghdad, one too many..

Intriguing Questions 6 March 2005 ( from Arabnews website)

Was the killing by US troops of an Italian security chief and the wounding of the Italian journalist he had helped release hours earlier an unfortunate tragedy? Or was it something more sinister? Either way, Washington has some tough questions to answer. American military sources in Baghdad maintain that the car carrying journalist Giuliana Sgrena and three Italian intelligence officials, including the slain officer, failed to react to repeated instructions to stop at a roadblock just outside the capital’s airport. It seems extraordinary that Italian intelligence professionals who had just rescued the journalist would have been insensitive to the requirements of a security check and the risks of ignoring it.
One possible explanation for the attack on the car carrying the Italians is that trigger-happy US troops, terrified of car bombers, fired the minute they suspected the vehicle was a danger to them. It only takes one nervous soldier to shoot a single bullet and a whole unit then shares the panic and opens up on a target. If this is what happened, then it is a demonstration of the indiscipline and poor training of US soldiers which has in the past resulted in a number of similar attacks, including the slaying of the Iraqi occupants of a car rushing a pregnant woman to a maternity hospital.
The odiously named “friendly fire” has characterized the US military performance in Iraq to the fury of Washington’s allies, not least the British whose troops have discovered that however “friendly,” it can prove as deadly as the unfriendly variety.
There is, however, the more sinister explanation which is that the Americans wanted Sgrena dead. A senior correspondent for the Communist daily, Il Manifesto in Rome, the journalist has been no friend of the US invasion and occupation. US troops have killed journalists before. Two cameramen, a Ukrainian and a Spaniard, were slain in April 2003 when a US shell was fired into the Palestine Hotel, a known base of international journalists opposite the Baghdad Sheraton. Earlier an Al-Jazeera correspondent was killed when the TV station’s local office was struck by a US missile.
The American military has not taken kindly to foreign journalists who refuse to involve themselves in America’s well-oiled media-relations machine. When Sgrena was kidnapped on Feb. 4, other journalists were told by US officials that the event highlighted the danger of working outside their Green Zone-focused loop. There was also apparently grim satisfaction that a journalist who was so opposed to US policy should have become a victim of the insurgents. The conclusion of the sinister explanation must therefore be that the Americans were settling the score with a foreign commentator whose published views infuriated them. Yet it seems incredible that even the American military could be this crass.
In Italy, the incident is provoking a renewed outcry against further Italian involvement in Iraq. An anguished Berlusconi reportedly made an extremely angry phone call to President Bush and was promised that that incident would be fully investigated. The journalists group Reporters Sans Frontiers is demanding, however, that an independent inquiry be mounted by the UN since the group fears that, as with the Palestine Hotel deaths, the US will again exonerate its trigger-happy troops.

Any ideas on that or is it really just an accident?


Louise said...

Check out the comments by Thinker at 03.06.05 - 12:58 am, and Lisa, New York at 03.06.05 - 2:05 am on the ITM March 4 entry. These two women say all that needs to be said.

The lefties of the world keep digging their own grave deeper and deeper. It's hard to believe they can be any more stupid. What utter balderdash!!

AAA said...

Do you Louise think, that if a insane Republican woman referes to two insane Republican womens comments makes a "theory" true?

When the Associated Press in Baghdad asked the U.S. military to see the vehicle on Saturday, the military said it didn't know where it was. Strange behaviour if there is nothing to hide.And this was not the first of the kind. The same happened when French reporters Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot were released. Strange ...

Robert Micallef said...

I am regularly watching reports on Italian channels about the events. There are mixed feelings in Italy. Relief for Sgrena's return, grief for the dead officer and anger at the shootings. I also hope that inquiries held will be truly independent!

James said...

I want an independent inquiry first into the Italian actions - did they give in to the terrorist demands and bankroll them? Knowingly, deliberately giving $1m to a terrorist group (to fund further kidnappings and other attacks) is a far, far more serious moral failing than any accidental killing, as well as far more damaging to the coalition and the people of Iraq.

So far, nobody has given any actual evidence to justify the claim this was deliberate - and the journalist's own account implies otherwise, since the reports I've read suggest the car did *not* stop even when the warning shots were fired.

AAA: Why ask the US military about an *Italian* vehicle? Why *would* they know (or care) where it is, when it isn't theirs? Surely they should be asking the Italians?

Louise said...

Here's a conspiracy theory to counteract AAA's feeble attempt. I think there is a fringe element on the far fascist left in Italy that is arranging these kidnappings so as to extort money from the Italian government for their (the fringe) friends, the kidnappers. Remember the Simonas? Sgrena works for a communist newspaper, Il Manifesto. The "victims" seem to inhabit a certain extremity on the political spectrum. James, I agree with you. I think an investigation is indeed in order.

Louise said...

Is the the same Associated Press whose photographer just happens to shows up exactly where a murder is planned to take place? You know. The one that subsequently supplied photographs that the higher-ups chose to publish, in effect, giving free advertising to the thugs that murder Iraqis. You've heard of the word "complict", have you not, AAA?

Anonymous said...

I tried not to be anonymous, but the form would not proceed to create an account.

Those soldiers were under orders to behave in a certain way when an automobile failed to comply with checkpoint procedure. Soliders who fail to follow the procedures designed to save their lives take a terrible risk. See what happened to a convoy that failed to follow procedure, and the Brave Iraqis that saved them.I don't know what happened as the car with the released journalist approached the checkpoint, but I do know that the troops had no way to know who was inside the car. All they had to go on was the car's behavior.

I join Louise's recommendation that you read the comments at ITM. They are very worthwhile.

Lisa, New York said...


You seem to have an obsession with calling people who disagree with you "Republican". For the record, I'm a Democrat and have never voted Republican. I know many other regulars on ITM who are also not Republican.

Next time you disagree with someone try arguing with facts and logic instead of lazily resorting to name-calling. It doesn't make you appear intelligent and it doesn't convince anyone of your point of view.

Highlander said...

Thank you all for offering explanations, I'm interested in getting to the bottom of this and will be following the links you provide. As for anoymous 7.03 PM was that link to your website? I don't know why you could 'nt register maybe a technical hitch anyway there is the 3rd option of choosing 'other' if you wish to leave your name.

Robert, unfortunately I can't follow Italian TV from here :( but I can check their websites.

AlanK said...


your blog is getting more popular well done

also as for the incident itself, I personally would think it was an accident as US can't benefit from this, but that it should be investigated first

Louise said...

Oh, and AAA, am I correct in interpreting your remark about insane Republican women to mean that you assume I am a Republican? That's quite funny. I wonder if foreign nationals can be card carrying members of the Republican party. I never thought of that. Maybe I should look into it. ;) Lisa, maybe you could buy me a membership. I'll get you one in the Canadian Liberal Party, if you want.

We used to have a party called the Rhinoceros Party. They once had a dog make application to be a candidate in a federal election. Maybe AAA would like to join that one.

AAA, it's also fairly amusing how many assumptions you make without any facts at your disposal and without verifying anything. Very convincing, indeed.

Abe said...

It's quite clear that the "insurgents" are deliberately killing journalists, as well as kidnapping them for money and attention. Apparently this is OK or at least expected.

The tragic deaths when the US tank fired one round on the Palestine Hotel during the battle for Bagdad were certainly not deliberate, knowing killings of journalists. According to Chris Tomlinson, the AP journalist embedded with the tank unit, every effort was made to avoid targeting non-combatants. Tomlinson knows the tank commander who fired the shot personally, and states that the officer was devastated when the mistake was discovered.

This whole question of "targeting journalists" was extensively blogged in connection with the recent Eason Jordan affair. Here is one good post on this.

It is sloppy logic to assert, as the Arabnews article does by inference, that deaths of non-combants "prove" some sort of policy of deliberately killing non-combatants.

Do "friendly fire" deaths in Afghanistan prove the US is targeting NFL football players?

AAA said...

AAA, it's also fairly amusing how many assumptions you make without any facts at your disposal and without verifying anything. Very convincing, indeedAbout this subject it is the American side who is not providing any explanations / prove. I have only repeated what is said in the European news.

A simple picture of the car and from the happening site would help. How many bullet holes, how the barricade was organized etc.

American commentators in ITM even say it was the communist reporter fault becaus SHE was speeding. Come on the car was driven by Italian secret service member.

It would be a simple matter to investigate an insident of this kind and it could be done in a couple of hours. The question is why has it is not done.

Fairly amusing, that it takes so long. Like in the several wedding and market place bombings. Has anybody seen results of those "investigations".

J. Francis Lehman said...

I know for certain that anyone who trusts the word of people enamored of Marxist doctrine is an utter fool.

It's not that I value the lives of communists less than I do others; it's that I know full well that they value my life not at all because I believe in representative republics and free-market capitalism—with sensible laws in place and enforced to keep the dark side of human nature in check as much as possible.

The funneling of money to Iraqi Ba'athist thug murderers by Italian communists makes as much sense as anything anybody else has come up with. It's certainly "par" for the communist "course."

As to the killing of journalists: if journalists did not take on the role of combatant, actively advancing the side of freedom's enemies, perhaps they wouldn't be getting killed? Even reporting with a slant against the U.S. effort is not what I'm talking about here. It's no stretch to believe that certain Arab and Euro journalists use their press credentials to hide behind, and actively help the "insurgents" (read: pathetic criminal thugs). And just as with the possibility of communists fleecing their governments to fund Ba'athist scum, don't think that the U.S. military would be ignorant of these dealings.

diane said...

Hello, dear Highlander,

In no way would the US target innocents and even less for revenge.

It was a fatal decision made in a split second, on the road to hell, this particular highway is known to be extremely dangerous. There will be an investigation.
The US army is among the most trained and disciplined in the world, very few professional armies have dealt with the difficulties the US faces everyday in Iraq.

Friendly fire is as horrible as hostile fire. All armies of the world are sadly familar with this.

Michael said...

Well, if you want my thoughts on the matter, here it is: The Left desperately looking for bad news.


Highlander said...

Thanks Dianne :)

Michael , long time no see ..hope all is well with you :) Of course I'm interested in everybody's thougths .

Anonymous said...

I don't for one minute buy the idea that the US is deliberately killing off anyone in Iraq other than insurgents and terrorists, but if they were, I think they'd focus on someone who actually posed some kind of threat.

Communists aren't taken seriously anywhere in the world today outside of North Korea and Cuba....certainly not in Iraq as the recent election results prove.

This woman has an inflated sense of her own importance and influence. She's not important enough to be bothered with.