Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Forget About ANY Independent Reporting in Iraq

Note: This was supposed to post at around 6:00 yesterday, but, as usual, Blogger decided to balk. Let's see if it'll show up this morning. Fortunately, little has changed in regards to this since yesterday...

Link via Needlenose. Here's a post from Christopher Allbritton, who writes Back to Iraq. Short version:

Mr. Allbritton is friends with an Australian reporter, John Martinkus, who was kidnapped and held for 24 hours this weekend in Iraq (funny how that didn't really register here in the US). His kidnappers were Iraqi nationalists, fighting for the resistance. Apparently they confirmed several important facts about him--his nationality and his generally unfavorable view towards the occupation. Because of this, he was freed.

You know, back in the last war, I found it more than a little disgusting when Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf displayed a fuzzy video image from a smart bomb--you could make out the crosshairs as it sped down towards a bridge. Just before impact a small truck sped directly through the sights. Stormin' Norman gloated "You just saw the luckiest guy in Iraq," eliciting a hearty laugh from the assembled press corps, and probably the same from the awed masses here in the US.

Well, now the tide has been turned, and it's not nearly as hilarious--Mr. Martinkus is probably the luckiest guy in Iraq NOW. The nationalists who captured him allowed an interrogation session with a sheikh from Fallujah. Does anyone doubt what would have happened if they'd turned him over to said sheikh? Instead, they let him go--and, if he's smart, he'll get the hell out of there. (note: Martinkus DID leave).

Sadly, Mr. Allbritton also appears to be leaving. I haven't referenced his website nearly as often as I should have--he was/still is until he's gone--one of the few independent voices reporting from the area. But it makes no sense to stay when the best you can hope for is kidnappers with a degree of conscience (emphasis on degree--after all, they took Mr. Martinkus at gunpoint, after having stalked him for several days). However, this story is worth considering whenever you hear Bush, et al, crow about "progress." No one is there to verify.

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