For those just emerging from under a rock, over the weekend Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist for the Italian Newspaper-Il Manifesto- was released by her captors in Iraq. As her undercover Italian agents attempted to race through a military checkpoint, the US Military warned the car to stop, shot in to the ground, then eventually hit the car to stop it from racing through the checkpoint. At this point, the car crashed and one of the agents was killed, and Sgrena was injured. Or so goes multiple versions of this story.
These "insurgents" held Ms Sgrena for ransom, and the Italian government, apparently wishing to avoid an ugly incident, paid the ransom and sent some special forces security men hoping to whisk the reporter back to safety. The money spent recovering this journalist will now go towards killing more innocent people. Nice job Giuliana. $10 million probably buys quite a few pounds of high grade explosives. Even worse, the Washington Times reports that "Italian agents likely withheld information from U.S. counterparts about a cash-for-freedom deal with gunmen holding an Italian hostage for fear that Americans might block the trade". So they snuck in to Iraq, gave millions to freaking murderous filth, and then attempted to race back out of the country.
Now let's imagine the scene before the accident which killed the agent, and injured the others. To do this let's set in perspective the road on which they were traveling, the infamously dangerous Baghdad Airport road. Via LGF, I give you some excerpts from this piece by Alissa J. Rubin at the LA Times-
Traveling on a Highway of Dread
See, thats where there was an IED, my driver Ahmad said, using the militarys shorthand for improvised explosive device. You can see the pit, he said gesturing to a crater.
He pointed to the charred shell of a car sitting a few feet off the shoulder. See that, thats a bomb car, he said.
Last summer I was here, driving from the airport, and suddenly, Boom! A Humvee ahead of us was hit. I said, Its OK, its OK and then everyone began shooting the Americans, the Iraqis over there, he said, gesturing to the nearby neighborhood.
On this route, its hard to know whether a car that speeds by a military convoy simply has a nervous driver, or carries a suicide bomber. Last fall, a bomber on the road targeted an armored bus carrying U.S. personnel. No one was killed, but the bus was damaged. Often passing civilians are injured or die in the attacks.
One of the mosques near the beginning of the route, Ibn Taymiyah, is well known as an insurgent center. When U.S. soldiers searched it, they found grenades, ammunition and guns. Farther on is a neighborhood named Jihad and another named Furat, where former intelligence officers under Saddam Hussein live.
Very tough place, declared Ahmad.
There has been the insinuation by the usual suspects that the US Soldiers deliberately attacked the car, and tried to kill Sgrena. To this I have to say, if the US Soldiers at that checkpoint wanted to kill the journalist, she would be dead right now. The .50 caliber machine guns would have done much more than simply cause the car to stop. And some of these checkpoints are also manned by tanks, which have even bigger artillery. You can read this article for a decent description of the typical Iraqi checkpoint. To say that there was anything at all to gain out of killing this useful idiot, or to even say that the soldiers could EVEN HAVE KNOWN WHO IT WAS, is pretty much a desperate attempt to find more fault with the US Military, and ultimately at everyone's favorite punching bag, George Bush.
Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom furthers the Occam Razor analysis, asking the question that needs to be asked-
The shooting was without reason, Sgrena said yesterday from a Rome military hospital, where she is being treated for her wounds, reported daily Corriere della Sera. I cannot find any justification for it, she was cited as saying.
Question 3: Care to venture a guess? Who is Giuliana Sgrena that the US would care enough to attempt to assassinate her? A foreign reporter with a well-know leftwing political agenda that would color any story she told anyway? Why is she important? Why would she be targeted? Why?
And to further the point, if they really were attempting to kill this journalist, which is a wacky enough theory to begin with, how do you explain the fact that they didn't? Poor shooting? With a TANK??
As usual, Cox and Forkum show you what happens when soldiers don't attempt to control checkpoints-
There are many related links on this subject, so far the Jawa Report has probably the most extensive...I predict that the full story of this incident will never satisfy those who are convinced that all US Soldiers are evil killing machines, and some of these people would rather have us lose more soldiers at checkpoints much like the above cartoon mentions. And now, thanks to Ms Sgrena, these terrorists will have the resources to bulk up their attacks on these types of checkpoints.