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March 07, 2005

The media is reactionary even in Italy.

Recently, Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena was shot by American troops after her release from terrorist hands. She was being driven to safety when American troops mistakenly fired on the van. She has come out strongly against the United States military, complaining that this should never have happened. Well, apparently, the Italian government made the most serious mistake in dealing with the situation.

President Bush has made a point of not dealing with terrorists. This is generally understood by most; it only favors the terrorists. However, the Italian government felt that their reporter was important enough to not follow such a philosophy. So they dealt with the terrorists on their own. While they have every right to do so, they made the judgement that a cash-for-freedom deal was best. Because of this, they left the US completely in the dark, knowing that President Bush may have called for a block on such a move. At the point of her release, there were officials at the Baghdad airport who knew of her pending arrival; however, the information sent was minimal, and the troops knew nothing of the release.

Making matters worse, the van carrying Miss Sgrena did not slow down as they approaced a standard checkpoint; obviously, the troops cannot just let some unfamiliar vehicle move through, with the concern of terrorists, so they did what they thought they had to to preserve security. It is a great shame that she was injured and a bodyguard killed, but this could have been avoided had Italy been more honest with the White House. And though President Bush completely disagrees with dealing with terrorists, there would've been little he could've done to stop such a deal; he likely would've been inclined to do everything he could to make sure that they got back safe after the trade went through. Despite the certain protest from DC over such a move, if it had been completed, and the US had known about it, then Miss Sgrena likely would've gotten back fine.

In the end, the Italian government should not have gone behind the back of the United States. Working together, they could've freed the reporter and captured the terrorists, but instead, the terrorists now have money to buy weapons, the image of the United States military is tarnished, and two people have been greatly affected, all because Italy did not trust the US.

UPDATE (7:00 PM): Well, apparently, Miss Sgrena has a response. Not a huge surprise, considering that she writes for a communist paper, but she thinks that the military deliberately shot at her van because of their disapproval of Italy's dealing with the terrorists. I think she neglected the fact that, the military did not know that she or any US allies were in the vehicle. Again, if they had slowed down at the checkpoint as all vehicles were required to, it could've very quickly been resolved.

UPDATE 2 (9:30 PM): Fox News's John Gibson commented on this during the Big Story, and he pretty much sums up the whole situation pretty well.