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March 13, 2005

Jack Kelly writes today about the Giuliana Sgrena affair, taking the longer-view perspective of Sgrena's motivations and naivet. He remains mostly neutral, if skeptical, on her assassination claims, but instead demolishes her credibility by pointing out her monumental hubris:

Sgrena went to Iraq to report on the heroic resistance to the American imperialists. Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos rode in the airplane to Baghdad with her.

"Be careful not to get kidnapped," Doornbos warned Sgrena.

"You don't understand the situation," she responded, according to Doornbos' account last week in Nederlands Dagblad. (Excerpts were translated into English and posted on a Dutch writer's Web blog.) "The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers. The enemies of the Americans have nothing to fear."

Sgrena left her hotel the morning of Feb. 4 to interview refugees from Fallujah, the resistance stronghold captured by U.S. Marines in November. The interviews didn't go well.

"The refugees ... would not listen to me," she said. "I had in front of me the accurate confirmation of the analysis of what the Iraqi society had become as a result of the war and they would throw their truth in my face."

Perhaps everything Sgrena represents can be captured in seven words and an ellipsis: The refugees ... would not listen to me. In fact, as a reporter, Sgrena should have listened to the refugees, not the other way around. Sgrena didn't go to Iraq to report for the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto, she went to proselytize -- first the Iraqis, and the Italians afterward. She went to Iraq to discredit the Americans and the Italian government that allies itself with us, and she would only entertain those who agreed with her.

How fortunate, then, for her to run into precisely those people who do while in Iraq. In fact, it appears more and more that the kidnaping may not have been all that random, and the tearful pleas for her life -- which even Sgrena now says she exaggerated -- designed to extract the maximum cash for the factions she supports. Nicola Calipari may have died to free a woman who never was in danger in the first place. Small wonder that the Italians have now told their citizens in Iraq that if they stay there outside of their military protection, they're completely on their own.

Read all of Jack's column. As usual, it's a winner.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 13, 2005 10:25 AM

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» A Walter Mitty fantasy? from Angry in the Great White North
Is Giuliana Sgrena's increasingly absurd account of her kidnapping, rescue, and final encounter with US soldiers a desperate attempt to make her presense seem important? Is this a Walter Mitty fantasy played out, but at the cost of one ma's life? [Read More]

Tracked on March 13, 2005 11:43 AM

» More Of The Strange Tale from Joust The Facts
Being ensconced in NY City for the Big East took me away, largely, from the developments in the Sgrena rescue caper for about 4 days. [Read More]

Tracked on March 13, 2005 8:09 PM

» Another scalp for the blogosphere from Small Town Veteran
So long, Geronimo. On to Italy. [Read More]

Tracked on March 13, 2005 11:56 PM

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