07. March 2005 · Comments Off on Memo: On A Dangerous Road, in the Dark · Categories: General, GWOT, Media Matters Not

From: Sgt Mom
To: All in Group
Re: American Gunfire and Italian “journalist”*

1. If anything at all, this is a perfect demonstration of the old axiom about a lie being half-way around the world while the truth is still getting it’s boots on: About the only fact of which I can be certain of at this point is that Nicola Calipari is dead, and that this will have repercussions up to the international level, but not, I think, in the way that Ms Sgrena and her comrades are expecting. Although she has been driving the story, and the news momentum has been heading in the direction most favorable to those perpetuating the meme of “brutal, trigger-happy cowboys wantonly slaughtering brave journalists and other sensitive, peace-loving Europeans”, the hard questions have only begin to be asked, let alone answered satisfactorily. It is easy enough for Ms Sgrena to tell a story, to elaborate on it, to pile on contradictory details, to tell another version, to make accusations, suppositions— just open the mouth and let it all come out, faster and faster. It will take days, or weeks to even begin investigating, analyzing, measuring skid marks and matching bullet fragments to the weapon that fired it, to calculate the angles and origins, routes of travel, means, motivations and eyewitnesses, and by then the crowds baying for the sacrifice for a scapegoat will probably not be the least interested in hearing the considered conclusion… especially if it turns out that the vehicle carrying Ms Sgrena and Mr. Calipari was clearly warned to stop, that American troops at the check-point clearly identified themselves and followed established procedures to the letter.

2. The whole thing reeks with the reek of a boxcar-load of haddock stuck for a week at a rail siding in South Texas during a sultry August heat-wave, beginning with the somewhat odd nature of Ms. Sgrena’s detention (and that of the two Simonas, also) at the hands of suspiciously gentlemanly insurgents, the payment of a large ransom, the actions of the Italian intelligence service in facilitating that payment, compounding that by not being entirely candid with the American forces in-country, and ending with a car failing to stop at a roadblock.

3. Politically, it is a terribly hot potato for Mr. Berlusconi, and he is screwed no matter which hand he juggles it in. Opposition to Italian participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom is vociferous, and substantial; as a politician he has to deal with that. (One wonders though, if Italians, Germans and French are worthy of being liberated from brutal dictators, mass graves and secret police spies, if being a free and democratic country is their right and due…. Why do the Iraqis not merit the same privilege?) Ms. Sgrena’s captivity is a cause celebre; the easy way out is to quietly pay a ransom and whisk her efficiently out of the country, and hope that interest in her case dies down, and everyone will forget about how many suicide bomb vests and car bombs and contract killings of Iraqi judges and politicians that ransom will purchase. Keep it simple, keep it slick, zip in country, drop the money, pick up the hostage and book on a private jet, and everything’s cool, and keep it in-house. Very daring, very dashing… and how very… cowboy.

4. The blow-back from this may very well include Italy stepping down from the coalition; ironically, just when it seems that a tipping point has been reached with successful elections, when the war is over and the mopping up and rebuilding is getting well underway. Lest we forget, the ransom paid for Ms. Sgrena and the two Simonas went to fund the men who send out the head-hackers, the torturers, the terrorists who killed Iraqi journalists and broadcasters, judges, police recruits, the men who loaded a retarded boy with explosives, who butchered Margaret Hassan, the men who want to bring back the mass graves, the secret police and the chemical butchery of the Kurds. The euro-leftists do not seem to have a problem with this; presumably they have a strong stomach after all those decades performing intellectual fellatio on Uncle Joe Stalin and his spiritual heirs, and they are, after all, only behaving in the manner we have come to expect of them.

5. Mr. Berlusconi has been a much appreciated ally in the coalition, and we appreciate that it has cost him dearly, politically, and his position is perilous. In being forced by political demands to cater to a particularly noisy constituency, he has taken actions which result in additional funding for the insurgents. His value as an ally is now somewhat compromised. I realize that politicians have to consider their own constituencies first last and always, but I sincerely hope that when all the investigations are finished, all the reports filed, and all the newspaper stories written about this, that Mr. Calipari will prove to have been the only one to be sacrificed in order to mollify Mr. Berlusconi’s constituency.

6. Unfortunately, there will be some Iraqi police cadets, or soldiers, or people in a crowded market or mosque someplace, who will be sacrificed as well. When that happens…Well done, Ms. Sgrena.

With sorrow
Sgt. Mom

*As always, those are not “scare” quote marks; those are “viciously skeptical” quote marks.

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