You man a checkpoint on one of the most dangerous posts in Iraq - the seven mile road from Baghdad to Baghdad International Airport. During curfew hours at night, no one (non-military) is allowed on the road. Every vehicle is suspect.
In the last few months, there have been several car bomb attempts on checkpoints on the road. IEDs, snipers, attack by automatic weapons from armored cars, RPGs, you name it - it happens on this seven mile stretch of road. The terrorists know that this is a chokepoint and that there are many, many targets of opportunity - military vehicles, supply convoys, American contractors, journalists, etc.
You man the checkpoint at night on March 4th and see a sedan speeding toward you. You flash your lights to warn the vehicle to stop. It doesn't even slow down. It's getting closer to you by the second. The next step is to aim for the engine block (of the speeding car) and shoot it - effectively stopping the car before it gets to you.
What would you do?
While getting Little Blackfive situated this morning, I watched Katie Couric announce at the top of the hour that Giuliana Sgrena suspected the Americans of targeting her specifically because her release had been negotiated (read "ransom paid"). What is irritating is that NBC/Kouric offer no other view, as if to pay credence to Sgrena's statements.
Here is what Giuliana Sgrena has said:
"I believe, but it's only a hypothesis, that the happy ending to the negotiations must have been irksome. The Americans are against this type of operation. For them, war is war, human life doesn't count for much."
"when they let me go, it was a difficult moment for me because they told me, `The Americans don't want you to return alive to Italy.'"
Sgrena works for the communist news organization - Il Manifesto - which has accused the United States of "Assassinating" Nicola Calipari - the Italian Intelligence Officer who negotiated Sgrena's release and then was killed trying to protect her. Sgrena and Il Manifesto have opposed the US in just about every single aspect of our way of life - politics, defense, economics, values, etc.
Why would the US would target her, specifically, and send a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to assassinate her?
She fails to understand that she and the other Italian agent survived. The shooting stopped when the car stopped being a threat. If the US (or the troops at the checkpoint for that matter) wanted her dead, the car would have been blown to bits and you would have needed the guys from CSI to identify the remains of the Italians.
You can read the story in her own words in her first column since being released. In it, she pleads with her captors to kidnap an American troop instead of her...
I believe that we will find that Italian hot shot Intel Officers decided not to first go to an American FOB to get an escort to the Airport or get Sgrena treated at a military hospital, not to go first to the Italian Embassy, not to do many, more rationale things...
What you need to do is ask why they did not do those things?
Was it because they were afraid of the Americans? Or was it to provide a more dashing story - one that proved Italian Secret Service did not need the help of the Americans? One that made the rescue an immediate success instead of a graduated one?
No doubt that Nicola Calipari was a very brave man, and I am sad that he died. Unfortunately, instead of honoring him, the communists will use his death to fuel anti-American sentiments. And folks like Katie Couric and the MSM are playing right along...
Update: Al of Life With Al notes that LGF pointed to this Washington Times article about the situation - essentially, the Italian Intel Agents did not alert the CIA or other authorities to their mission (and it's success) in Iraq.
Update 9PM CST: LTC (ret) Ralph Peters is pissed (just called Sgrena "that witch")! Watching Scarborough Country while blogging...Peters is tired of the media maligning the troops. Now, he's taking on "The Nation" writer John Nichols.
I was a fan of Peters twenty years ago. Not much has changed. I wouldn't want to face him on the battlefield or across the debate table.