NationStates Jolt Archive

That Italian Journalist

Scandavian States
07-03-2005, 08:16
Today I was browsing one of my favorite geopolitical sites and noticed a very long series of commentary on an incident involving an apparently recently-freed Italian journalist. To paraphrase the incident from the US side (addressed in the first person of the author), I'll quote

An accident happened on a road that is generally acknowledged as the most dangerous road in Iraq. It was night. US forces say that they shone a spotlight on your car, gestured for you to stop, shot at the engine when your driver continued, and shot up your car when you still continued forward.

She says (again,

You say there was no checkpoint, no spotlight, no warning. Out of nowhere, in the darkness, a US patrol started shooting, without warning or reason.

Editor's commentary on the incident (

Well, Signora, perhaps it is time you educated yourself about the military and military operations. The patrol WAS the checkpoint. In the US military a checkpoint does not have to be a large, static installation, brightly lit, with a McDonalds doing business to one side and an X-rated video store doing business to the other side. The US does have checkpoints the way you understand them. Because fixed checkpoints are easily avoided, the US supplements these with roving patrols, who set up checkpoints at random, and do not necessarily advertise themselves: to do so would be negate the objective.

Lets continue further with your education. Please accepted as granted that if the US wanted to ambush you, you would not be here today. The US military is quite competent. If the idea was to get rid of you, the US military would not have been involved. You would have been killed, all evidence removed, and the US military would genuinely be saying in puzzlement: "Yes, such a car passed our checkpoint but did not pass the airport checkpoint. We have no idea what happened."

More education, please: we hope your head is not hurting from all this exotic information, which is known to just about anyone with an IQ above 70. If such an assassination were to be mounted, it would have to be approved all the way back to the US President. We hope we will not puncture your ego and permanently damage your self-esteem, BUT: you are simply not important enough to be at the receiving end of such. a complicated and politically dangerous operation. As far as the US is concerned, you were just one of the amazingly stupid private citizens who roam all over Iraq for fun or profit, get into trouble, and then want their governments to rescue them. As US taxpayers, we adamantly oppose spending our hard earned money on saving people like you, be they American citizens or not. You knew the risks. You went. Why should we in any way waste a single dollar in helping Rome rescue you?

And finally the editor's analysis:

Our explanation is much simpler than yours. Occam's Razor. Out of ignorance, you and your escorts did not know the procedure on the road. Out of nowhere, on a very dangerous road, bright lights and shots. The most natural reaction in the world? Press on the accelerator and lets break through, before we are killed, or worse, taken hostage again.

And now my thoughts on the matter: I can't help but agree with Mr. Rikhye on this subject. The reaction of the driver and the escorts was entirely appropriate given what this journalist had just been through. However, it is my opinion that to flout ones ignorance, use ones position and fifteen minutes to spout left-wing conspiracy theory crap about ones benefactors, and even outright lie are all bad enough. To do all three at once is nigh unforgiveable. On one hand I'm sorry that the US patrol didn't manage to take out the engine block, but on the other I can't help but feel that there would have been more justice in her taking her own bullet and the man who helped free her going home to his family.