Monday, March 07, 2005

Infection By Meme

The Instapundit tells of the point that some readers are making regarding the Italian hostage/reporter claiming she had been targetted by US forces as she was making a dash for freedom. I had the same idea, only the other way around: Giuliana Sgrena survived the incident, heard the Eason Jordan allegation, and, intentionally or no, recast her experience to fit that meme.

Once again, I think that this is a case of "America is evil, America has been accused, therefore the accusation is true", no matter how flimsy the evidence.

Update: On closer review, I spotted the following questions and answers from Ms. Sgrena's BBC interview:

Did the Americans continue to fire when your car had come to a halt?

Our car was destroyed. And then the driver got out and was shouting "we're Italian, we're Italian". So they came and they saw what happened. But I was badly injured so I can't explain exactly what happened after because I was waiting for 20 minutes on the road for a military car to bring me to the hospital.

I don't know if they knew what they were doing or not but it's a big responsibility so they have to respond to what happened because it's impossible to shoot a car on a road to the airport without giving any signal, any stop or any check.

Do you think it was deliberate?

I can't say it was deliberate because we can't say if there was a lack of information. But also a lack of information in this case is [their] responsibility because you are in a war field and you have the responsibility to pass immediately any information.

The information was given to the Italians to tell the Americans that we were on the road. Now, I can't say why they shot at us in this way but it's a very big responsibility and we ask for a response on what happened. emphasis mine.

The way the exchange is written, it would seem that Ms. Sgrena is under the belief that it was the responsibility for the US forces in the area to know that she was not a hostile, as opposed to the Italian intelligence to notify the Americans. Her comment about how the area is a warzone and therefore the armed forces should be more careful of civilians is baffling. If this is her idea of how a warzone operates, what the hell was she doing in Iraq in the first place?

I cut her some slack due to the "[their]" I highlighted in the story. Somehow I think that there is something very strange about how a very non-specific term was inserted, presumably for something else. The actual reference of the "their" is particularly unclear, and a great deal of weight rests upon it. Is "their" refering to US or Italian responsibility for dissemenation of the information? I think an editor at the BBC has some explaining to do.

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