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The Giuliana Sgrena saga continues

Italian Justice Minister "urged former hostage Giuliana Sgrena on Friday to stop making ’careless’ accusations after being shot by US forces in Baghdad, saying she had already caused enough grief." Much of her story has been questioned from the start, and more and more questions continue to be raised. Charles Johnson has been following the developments from the beginning. Captain’s Quarters has also been following it.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Peter, don’t forget to mention that her car was "riddled with hundreds of American bullets," an accusation seemingly undercut by this picture of her unscathed car.

Her fraud cost an Italian soldier his life. She ought to be thrown into the brig, never to be heard from again.

And Berlusconi should be ashamed of himself for and encouraging future kidnappings by caving in to this b.s.

MSM were licking their chops over another "Abu Ghraib" story. But the Red Lady’s tale had no wheels. Now Srgrena is quietly under reported. Tsk Tsk. Sorry Lefties.

Hey NLT Folks,

I’m a young Republican at a big state university that has a lot of liberal students. Most of my friends are conservatives, but I do sometimes hang out with the liberals. Lately, they’ve made me question my conservatism a least some parts of it. Hope you guys can help, but first, a coupla questions to the other commenters:

Ohio Voter - Are there any other verified pictures of the car Sgrena was riding in? The picture that you linked to doesn’t show much of the car; I certainly couldn’t say anything conclusive based on that pic that shows such a small percentage of the whole car. And it does look possible that the driver’s window is gone (or maybe it’s just rolled down? Hard to tell).

"Jesse fan" - Now if we’re supposed to be making the case that the mainstream media is biased in favor of liberals and left-wingers, shouldn’t we wonder why they didn’t push Sgrena’s version much harder than they did? Most people I know didn’t even hear much about it beyond "an Italian journalist was freed from being a hostage, and was accidentally shot at by coalition troops". That doesn’t seem like much liberal spin to me. Also, shouldn’t we be happy when a hostage is freed?

Now for my bigger question. I’ve been reading some things and corresponding with at least 5 servicemen and women who have served during the current war in Iraq, and they have a lot to tell me that makes me question the whole "establishing democracy and fighting terrorism" viewpoint of the war. Two of these five I know personally. Have any of you read any of the stuff from this Marine veteran Jimmy Massey, who got an honorable discharge from the Iraq war? I don’t know what to make of it. It’s sort of disturbing, what he says... Should I just dismiss what this guy says? How should I process this kind of stuff?? Thanks for your help - you seem like smart guys!


Assuming for the sake of analysis that Massey isn’t making anything up and is accurately relating his own limited experiences and perceptions to the best of his ability and recollection, he hardly describes atrocities--shooting cars that fail to stop when signaled to at checkpoints can be tragic if the vehicle is filled with innocent civilians who didn’t understand what they were being signaled to do, but so wd be a group of Marines letting a car bomber plow into them. The shootings that Massey describes are unfortunate, but based on what’s in this account they seem to have been justifiable under the circumstances.

The agitprop character of the World Socialist webpage you linked to can be seen from the passage where they ask Massie whether he thinks the dubious "100K innocent Iraqi civilians killed" figure is right--as if he has any way of knowing or any special insight into that question.

Basically, what I’m saying is basic "grain of salt," "use a little perspective" stuff. As Napoleon said of soldiers’ anecdotes: "All any of my grenadiers saw of Russia was the pack of the man in front."

The fact that Massey saw a lot of "civilian" vehicles charred and shot up by US fire on the drive up to Baghdad is hardly odd or evidence of war crimes--if you’ll recall numerous press accounts of the war describe how the Saddam fedayeen did not wear uniforms and would do things like drive up to US armored columns in pickup trucks and buses.

And the Marines’ securing of oilfields? These were and are valuable Iraqi national assets and were then ripe targets for Saddam sabotage--we should all be glad they were swiftly secured, so why is this brought up by the World Socialists as if it’s some sort of scandal? There’s just no there there.

Any war is going to look messy and ugly close up and when you’re in the thick of it--judging whether a war is necessary or worth fighting is always going to take more than just the grunt’s-eye perspective, whether pro-war, antiwar, or indifferent. It’s no disrespect to grunts to say that, but just an observation that complex, violent, and large-scale events involving a good deal of short-run apparent chaos are not necessarily going to be easy for people in the thick of them to sort out, especially when those people have very limited information.

Young Struggler, a clear picture showing most of the car can be seen here. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica also has a series of pictures, some of which overlap with the prior link. It is quite obvious Sgrena’s allegations of "a rain of fire" and hundreds of bullets hitting her car is total b.s. It is debatable whether one bullet hit her car.

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