Carol Platt Liebau

Sunday, March 06, 2005

There are some liberals -- including one of whom I'm very fond -- who are insisting that the shooting of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena somehow validates Eason Jordan's claim that the US military is "targeting" journalists.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As Jordan's former employee, CNN notes (quoting from the multinational forces' statement), "U.S. troops 'attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car. When the driver didn't stop, the soldiers shot into the engine block, which stopped the vehicle.'"

This is not "targeting" -- the term Jordan used -- which implies an element of intent. The forces did not "target" an Italian journalist -- rather, they shot at a car that refused to slow down as it approached a military checkpoint, in violation of orders. What, exactly, were the soldiers supposed to do?

Are journalists killed in war time? Of course -- as it has ever been, and tragically so. But there's a world of different between killed accidentally -- or as "collateral damage" -- and being "targeted."

This time, of course, no journalist was killed, although one of the Italian security guys, sadly, was. The rescued Italian journalist, taking a page from the Eason Jordan playbook, is suggesting that perhaps she was targeted because of the US's disapproval of the policy of negotiating with hostages (although it's not quite the US way wantonly to kill innocents, even if we disapprove of the circumstances of their release). As even the Reuters piece linked directly above notes, there is "no evidence" for her claim.

All of us are entitled to a theory. That being said, it's important to know where she's coming from -- and as a self-declared communist, Giuliana Sgrena isn't likely to want to extend any benefit of the doubt to the United States or to any military.

One thing does seem pretty certain to me, though: If she'd really been "targeted," she'd be dead.


Blogger jchess said...

Well, if US troops are targeting journalists then why aren't they strapping their trophies to the hoods of their vehicles like proper hunters?

And what about those 50 mm gun racks in the back windows of said vehicles? Come on. As my grandmother was fond of saying: They complain if you hung them with a new rope.

James C. Hess

5:03 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

One thing that I have not heard much of in this whole sad saga, is that the road that this took place on (between the city and the airport) is extremely dangerous. It is where many of the attacks on military vehicles have taken place due to the abundance of cover for terrorists.

I rememebr a story a while back referring to this strecth as the most feared to travel on due to the likelihood of beign shot at while traveling.

Stephen Renehan

2:49 PM  

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