Saturday, March 05, 2005

Italian killed like several Iraqis at checkpoint

Although the story about the Italian agent killed by US soldiers is really sad, I hope it will bring attention to several Iraqis who have been killed in a similar manner. The reason given by the US everytime? The Iraqis were rushing towards the checkpoints and did not heed to signals to stop the car. If for arguments sake, we say that the Iraqis don't, I would think the Italians would understand the protocol at the checkpoint - unless the American soldiers are just being trigger happy?

From Informed Comment: The US military on Friday fired on the car carrying a just-released Italian journalist who had been taken hostage. AP says that the troops wounded journalist Giuliana Sgrena and killed "the Italian intelligence officer who helped negotiate her release . . ." Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi demanded an explanation. ([Early reports said] The car had been rushing toward a checkpoint and did not slow down. [It is now being denied by Ms. Sgrena that the car was rushing toward a checkpoint, making the behavior of the US troops hard to understand.]US military forces have killed innocent Iraqi civilians at such checkpoints on a number of occasions, and, indeed, statistics for spring-summer 2004 show that the US was responsible for killing more Iraqi civilians than did the guerrillas. I cannot remember interim PM Iyad Allawi reacting as stiffly to such incidents as Berlusconi just did.

Guerrillas killed four Marines in Anbar Province west of Baghdad on Friday, as the US military continued its operations there. (Personal note: another fact that went largely unreported in American media is that the death toll of US troops is now past 1500).