Monday, May 02, 2005

Defense Department report on killing of Italian hero

In the news today was a story about the Pentagon's investigation into the killing of Nicola Calipari, the Italian hero who died trying to shield an Italian anti-war, communist, news woman, after securing her release from Iraqi kidnappers.

From the first momments after this terrible incident (American soldiers hate killing innocent civilians during war) it was clear that the Italians were going to try to make this a story about Americans screwing up. There has already been so much said by the Italian media and politicians that any hope of them accepting the results of an honest investigation were futile.

But in the aftermath of the tragedy, and in attempts to get the facts out quickly, we find that the US did screw up, not in the fatal incident, but in the reporting, by releasing the investigation report in a format that included access to "classified" redacted parts of the report.

Italian media are quick to point out differences between the American and Italian assesment of fact. One such difference is found in this story, picked up by the Assyrian International News Agency. The Americans say the car carrying the reporter and the two Italian security men was travelling at a high rate of speed and did not slow down, even after lights were flashed and warning shots were fired. The Italians say that they stopped the car immediately upon seeing the warning signs and lights, which only appeared 10 yards ahead of them (I'm paraphrasing all of this). So, if the Italian reports are to be believed, the getaway car was travelling at approximately 30 mph down the most dangerous stretch of highway in all of Iraq (to stop withing 10 yards a car could be travelling no faster than 30 mph). We would also have to believe that the Americans allow cars travelling at high rates of speed to approach to within 10 yards of them before firing warning shots. I sure hope no car bombs ever approach the Americans, because 10 yards is pretty darn close for an explosion.

The Italian report is to come out soon. Perhaps we'll find out that Assyrian reporting is flawed and they meant to say 100 yards (a far more likely distance). But I'm not holding my breath.

Prediction.................Within a year forces in the Italian government will be seeking to try the American in the world court on charges of war crimes.


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