Monday, March 7, 2005

Iraq War: Our noble men and women in uniform can do no wrong (unless they criticize Rummy)

A German friend called this weekend.  One of the things she asked me was if the news here was reporting the shooting of the rescue party of the Italian journalist (Giuliana Sgrena).

At the time she called, I was in the process of watching a few minutes of FOX News, to see what strange and wondrous things are taking place in FoxWorld.  So I said, "Oh, you mean the communist b**** who is trying to harm our brave soldiers?"  FOX wasn't reporting on it  when I was watching, but I was focused on the FoxView of things.

Then today, sure enough, White House spokesman Scotty McClellan, pretty much stole my sarcastic line, saying, "I think it's absurd to make any such suggestion that our men and women in uniform deliberately targeted innocent civilians. That's just absurd."

Uh, Scotty.  Untrue, maybe.  Undocumented, yes, so far.  But absurd?  Scotty, they shot up the car!  They killed an Italian security agent and likely would have killed the rescued journalist instead, if he hadn't saved her by throwing himself in front of the fatal bullet. The official explanation for the killing didn't pass the smell test. To puff about "our men and women in uniform" is just sentimental nonsense in this situation.  The soldiers shot up the car!  There's not any question about that part of it.

It was a bad kill, any way you take it.  And it caused a very emotional reaction from one of the few governments of "Old Europe" that went out on a political limb to actively support Bush in this very unpopular war.  This calls for a serious investigation, not pseudopatriotic puffery.

So much for that "good will" tour Bush just made to Europe.

1 comment:

purcellneil said...

Bruce,

I agree with the White House on this one.  The car was shot up, which is enough proof to satisfy me that the soldiers were trying to kill the people inside it -- but it is absurd to suggest that somebody wanted to kill this particular reporter.  Every day in Iraq, we shoot at cars approaching checkpoints.  

It may be a poor practice, and it may speak to a continuously high level of stress and a low level of discipline and intelligence among the Troops.  But the suggestion that this was an attempt to assassinate a reporter is ridiculous.

Given what the woman has been through, I don't blame her for making such an accusation.  She needs some time off.

Meanwhile, we need to either figure out how to conduct this occupation in a manner that doesn't alienate and radicalize the people of Iraq, or we need to get out altogether.  I am for the latter course, but I suspect that we will just continue to muddle and blunder our way forward.

It scares me to think what the next four years may hold.

Neil