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March 7, 2005
Cooler Italian Heads May Yet Prevail

After the outpouring of understandable grief at the loss of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari, some members of the Italian press want to cool the rhetoric spawned by the far-left Communist mouthpiece Il Manifesto, in which Giuliana Sgrena has accused the US of attempting to assassinate her after the Italians ransomed her from her Iraqi captors. The publication Italian Life (Corriere Della Sera IT) calls for a bit of common sense from Italians when dealing with Sgrena's outburst:

[I]s it true, as the self-styled Communist Daily headline puts it, that the death of Nicola Calipari was a preemptive and therefore premeditated, homicide? Is it true, as Rossana Rossanda writes, that the Americans were shooting to kill, and that Caliparis death was an assassination? Can we really subscribe to the picture painted by Ms Rossanda of arrogant Yankee roughnecks, beardless and/or whisky-soused, complying with the American maxim, shoot first, ask questions later?, and obeying without objection the order when those Italians arrive, eliminate them? ...

[W]hat might be the information in Ms Sgrenas possession that, according to her life partner Pier Scolari, could justify an assassination by the Americans determined not to see it published? Finally, are we really to believe that the Italians car was hit by 400 bullets, a storm of projectiles (Mr Scolari)? Are we really to believe Giuliana Sgrena when she says that she personally picked handfuls of bullets off the seat, but that, in this premeditated rain of fire from an armored vehicle against an automobile with no armor plating, only one passenger actually died?

To us, at least, these look like reasonable questions. It seems to us equally reasonable to wonder in conclusion that if Washington had been determined that the Italian journalist should die, why - for her and our good fortune - did she survive? What caused the plot to abort? And why were two Italians actually left alive to bear witness to the attack?

To further translate -- Sgrena makes no sense whatsoever. The same people who supposedly obeyed orders to assassinate her left her alive to talk after the attack. The car in which she rode had two out of three people left alive, which makes the "rain of bullets" sound more than just an exaggeration or poetic license. Sgrena provides no motive for her supposed assassination, nor explains why the Americans didn't simply finish the job.

A thorough investigation has been ordered and we should know more of the answers in a few days. What we do know doesn't jibe at all with Sgrena's account, and even the Italians have begun to notice it. With any luck, the American media might even begin to report it. (via CQ reader Rachel F; page is slow to load)

Addendum: To provide some context for the Italians and the American media, the AP reports that 31 people died today in terrorist attacks. How did the terrorists kill so many?

The Baqouba assaults included a car bomb, three roadside bombs and small arms attacks three checkpoints, one of them just south of Baqouba in Muradiyah, said police Col. Mudhafar al-Jubbori.

U.S. Maj. Ed House said a suicide car bombing outside a police station there killed nine people and wounded 17. The dead included the bomber, two police, three soldiers and three civilians.

In another attack near the city, a group of about 20 insurgents in five vehicles attacked an army checkpoint with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, killing five Iraqi soldiers. The troops fought back, killing one of the attackers. Nine people were wounded, House said. ...

Another car bomb exploded outside the home of Iraqi army Lt. Col. Mohammed Abdul Mutaled in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, killing 12 people and injuring 21 others, said the city's police chief, Ayad Ahmed. Hospital officials said most of the casualties were bystanders. Iraqi security forces are frequently targeted by insurgents. ...

Two civilians were killed when a roadside bomb targeting a joint U.S.-Iraqi military convoy exploded in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Amiriyah. The blast missed the convoy, damaging two passing cars and wounding four people, including two girls, said 1st Lt. Ali Hussein Hamdani. Another roadside bomb exploded in a southeastern Baghdad suburb, wounding several people on a bus.

Meanwhile, saboteurs blasted a pipeline near Samarra, 60 miles northwest of the capital, that carries oil to a Baghdad refinery, said police Maj. Mohsin Mahmoud.

A Polish soldier was wounded in the hand Monday when a bomb blew up next to his convoy north of Hillah in central Iraqi, said Lt. Col. Zbigniew Staszkow, spokesman for the Polish military.

That's the context in which Americans serve in Iraq, especially on the road that Sgrena and Calipari used to get to the airport. Thanks to the Italian ransom delivery, we can expect to have many more days such as these, with plenty of Iraqi casualties and continued American vigilance to unresponsive drivers approaching military checkpoints.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 7, 2005 12:29 PM

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» Human life is worth too much to pay off terrorist thugs from Pajama Hadin
Sgrena, who writes for the communist daily Il Manifesto, has suggested they were targeted because the United States opposes Italy's practice of negotiating with hostage takers. "I think that the happy end to the negotiations may have bothered them... [Read More]

Tracked on March 7, 2005 4:16 PM

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I'm getting a weird MySQL error from her blog, but Michelle Malkin points out that CNN has been changing their story in the Italian reporter. Also, Captain Ed reminds us why US troops are wary of cars coming at them: Captain's Quarters U.S. Maj.... [Read More]

Tracked on March 7, 2005 7:13 PM

» Prmditation from Le monde l'envers
Giuliana Sgrena a chapp une tentative d'assassinat d'aprs elle. Elle avait t mise en garde par ses amis iraqiens pourtant: Mes penses sont alles aussitt mes ravisseurs qui m'avaient dit de faire... [Read More]

Tracked on March 8, 2005 10:46 AM

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