Freedom at a price: Guiliana Sgrena

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is now saying the car obeyed orders to stop and was subsequently fired upon. This matter is being lifted to a higher level with such a dramatic announcement.

From the perspective of a neocon, it makes sense to shoot down Giuliana Sgrena. Now, bear with me. This administration feels very strongly about "not negotiating with terrorists", don't they? Well if they really did, why did they hide or play-down the fact that they were having negotiations with Iraqis that were part of the insurgency a couple weeks back? OK, they didn't really hide it, but they said it "wasn't official" if I recall correctly. Yea, ok, whatever. Eventually, there is going to have to be (if there already isn't) full-fledged negotiations with the resistance if this war is going to stop any time in the future. There is no military solution to the Iraq war. If you continue to flatten entire towns like what was done in Fallujah, it will only increase enmity.

Anyway, if it was discovered that Italy paid 4-5 million dollars for Ms. Sgrena's safe release, this would change the dynamic of how hostage situations were handled by members of the coalition. Once one is released this way, there would be many situations where the resistance in Iraq would take advantage of this shift in strategy by members of the "coalition of the willing" to return their citizens to safety. So, if (and I say if) it was intentional, then it makes sense to me when I put myself in John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, or Donald Rumsfeld's shoes. They are really serious when they mean no negotiations (yea - [cough]- bullshit), yet why have they spoke to a commander of the resistance in Iraq, if they're so serious? It seems to be a double-standard if you ask me.

I'm inclined to deduce this administration is more and more concerned about being isolated on their Iraq policy with countries dropping out of the oh-so-willing coaltion or "weakening" their stance with regards to hostage situations. It's plain to see, that many countries are not willing to have their citizens die for President Bush's errors. The Dutch are leaving. The Ukranians will follow soon. The Polish already left, right? So, who's next?

I think if Berlusconi does not get to the bottom of this case, he could lose his grip on power in Italy. So, it's significant in European relations alone. And you thought Italians were against the war before? Just wait and see how they'll respond to another slap on the wrist of some unwitting and low-ranking soldier. To me, this seems very very suspicious. I'm not saying that I'm concluding it was deliberate yet. It just aligns cleanly with other incidents of targeting journalists in Iraq. Remember Tariq Ayoub of Al Jazeera? You don't? Well, watch Control Room. Only now that it's a westerner and in such a suspect situation are people up in arms. If it was an Arab reporter, nobody would give a damn.

Anyway, here are Guiliana Sgrena's own words about the incident published in the Guardian today.

PS. Again, there's zero tolerance for personal attacks on this site. I have the right to say whatever the hell I want to say. If you don't like it, tough. Make your own blog and cry all you want to there. If there is nothing constructive about your comments and you attack me personally, you will be banished from this kingdom forthwith! Thou art foul in my midst! As though 'tis your mouth that has the shitz! Mine own medicine for your kind...is the simplist reaction to the blind. Thou scandalous onion-eyed serpents-egg! Thou accursed white-livered codpiece! Thou spongy weather-bitten flax-wench! Thou viperous hag-born mangy-dog! Thou infectious shard-borne bear-whelp! Thou mewling earth-vexing measle!!! Thou dissembling doghearted incontinent varlet!!! Muahhhaahahahaahahaaaaa!!!

PPS. And by the way, I love Brooklyn.

PPPS. LB has some good advice about checkpoints in Iraq. And that's what this whole incident should be about: preventing these unnecessary deaths. It shouldn't be about pointing fingers. It's a terrible tragedy, but what happened, happened. Hundreds upon hundreds of innocent Iraqis have been killed in this manner and nobody has said a damn thing. I guess that is why I'm so sensitive to this very issue. Now we must focus on making things safer for Iraqis and everybody else. Not just everybody else. It's this selfishness that will get everybody nowhere in Iraq. It's this selfishness that I despise. As if the Iraqi didn't matter. So listen to Ladybird and the journalist from CSM. THINK, ACT, SOLVE the PROBLEM. As far as the Italian incident goes...everybody, as far as I've read, knew they were coming. They even stopped when ordered to, yet somebody still died that shouldn't have died. It's just suspect to me. I only hope that more awareness about how innocent people have died at checkpoints is the result of this terrible tragedy.

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