Thursday, October 20, 2005

Are you kidding me?

Barcepundit (via Mudville) writes:

THE SPANISH JUDGE who is leading the judicial investigation of the death of Jose Couso, the Spanish TV cameraman killed in the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, has finally issued an international arrest warrant against the 3 US tank crewmembers who were in the tank that allegedly shot the shell.

I can remember Anne Garrels writing about Couso's death in Naked in Baghdad, which by the way is an awesome book. And that women is awesome. No mumblings about her being an NPR reporter and thus terribly biased. She is an old-school reporter, very knowledgeable, and tries to present things as objectively as possible.

I digress, basically anyone in their right mind knows that soldiers don't just shoot people for giggles. There was reasoning behind it: firstly, it was known that some Baathist's were hanging around the hotel. Garrels' book attests to that...that is why she was always reporting naked, so that should anyone knock on her hotel door while she is broadcasting with her illegal satellite phone, she could open the door semi-dressed or whatever, and the Ministry of Information guys wouldn't think she had just filed a report. (I think that was the logic...I need to re-read that book). So if you are a soldier, passing by a building where you know Baathists are hanging out, when you see the flash of light reflecting off what you think is a sniper's scope on a balcony, you might not consider that there might also be cameramen filming the whole war from the balcony too, and that your sniper's scope is actually a cameraman's lens.


Update: I just found this interview with Garrels, where she doesn't seem entirely convinced about the Palestine being a genuine target:

ANNE GARRELS: In Baghdad. And we were not hit by bombs. We were hit by a tank shell.
The Pentagon has said that it was justified in hitting the hotel, because there were apparently ... they said it was ... they suspected there were spotters there. They don't make it at all clear that everybody knew that's where reporters were, and there were reporters on the balcony, on every balcony, including me, of that hotel, watching the firefight in the distance.
They have not released the entire report. They say it's classified. You know, so far I personally am not satisfied with the answers, and I know the Committee to Protect Journalists also has some issues.

Here's the part about her broadcasting naked:

TERENCE SMITH: Naked in Baghdad: Let's start with the title. What's that about?
ANNE GARRELS: Well, it's a double meaning in a way. On the one hand, you know, I had no protection.
And the other meaning is that in a desperate attempt to hide my satellite phone from Iraqi security agents who were prowling the halls of the Palestine Hotel, I decided I should broadcast in the dark so they wouldn't see the phone, or that I was awake. And if they hit ... knocked on the door and I was naked, I would have a chance to say, "could you give me a minute just to get some clothes on," and maybe, just maybe hide the phone. I mean, I admit this was desperate, but ...


Barcepundit writes further:

So saying that the hotel was not a legitimate military target because it was full of civilians -journalists- is not saying the whole picture: someone more expert than me in war legislation may confirm whether it stopped being a protected building from the moment when the baathists found safe haven there and the civilians refused to leave it. I believe the Geneva convention IV doesn't protect civilians from third countries who choose to stay in a war theater (it would be a different thing when they cannot leave, just as it happened for example in Bosnia, where civilian foreigners and blue helmets where tied up to bridges in Mostar and other buildings).One could even argue that, by acting as de facto human shields, the journalists were more than mere witnesses and involuntary victims: they may well have been committing a war crime under the Geneva conventions. The GC punishes civilians from third countries who choose to stay in a war theater if they are able to leave if they wish; this is because they force only one of the parties in combat (coalition troops) to refrain its firepower when going against legitimate targets (baathist officials, in this case).

The idea that these three soldiers purposely shot at a reporter is about as far-fetched as Giuliana Sgrena claiming that American soldiers who shot at her car after she was released from her kidnappers, were targeting her and not just in an attempt to stop her car after her driver ignored or didn't hear warning shots and was speeding thru a check-point.

So, let me get this straight: you suffer a major terrorist attack in your country, and your response is to pull the troops out of Iraq, and then serve a warrant for the arrest of American soldiers? I don't get it.


Blogger Girl on the Blog said...

That is ridiculous!!!!

5:21 PM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

This is a direct harbinger of what would happen if we signed on the International Criminal Court like some people are screaming for.

It's disgusting.

6:11 PM  

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