31 May 2006

Tragedy Distorted

The latest “outrage” in Iraq being reported by the media contains is, at face value, a true tragedy, but also, in its reporting, an egregious misrepresentation by the media of the incident.

The facts:
-There are multiple observation posts and checkpoints in Samarra, and access towards them is strictly controlled.  The one in question has existed for two weeks – it is nothing too new.
-A vehicle was driven at high speed towards this checkpoint.
-Despite repeated visual and auditory warnings, the car continued to speed through the checkpoint.
-US service members fired at the car to disable to vehicle.
-Regrettably, two passengers in the car were killed.  More regrettably, one of them was pregnant.

However, the article does not stop there.  Oh no, first, we have to mention Haditha:

He [the pregnant woman's brother] said the killings, like those in Haditha, were examples of random killings faced by Iraqis every day.

Abu Ghraib also gets mentioned.  This is of course because the US troops here obviously took inappropriate action.  Car bombs are simply not a problem in Iraq (2nd and 3rd items; 3rd item; respectively).  Especially suicide car bombs near US checkpoints.

The article goes on to allow our troops to be painted as ravening savages:

"There must be a level of discipline imposed on the American troops and change of mentality which seems to think that Iraqi lives are expendable," said Pachachi, a member of parliament.

Strangely, this lady might disagree with that assessment, as a quick, recent example.  We all know where many, many other examples to the contrary can be found.

The most element of this sad tale that is really supposed to draw us in is the dead lady’s pregnancy.  While it is a tragedy that this happened, especially to a woman in her condition, there are two points that have to be addressed here, as well:
  1. The troops did not know she was pregnant – she was in a car.  As for the reasoning behind shooting at a car speeding at you, see the links above.

  2. Even if they had been able to see her condition, that would not and should not change their actions.  Pregnant women, and those that appear to be so, can and have still attacked innocents.

Overall, this is sad all around.  Sad that the woman and her child are dead.  Sad that the soldiers are undoubtedly being harder on themselves than most anyone else will ever be.  Sad that the media continues to try and misrepresent our troops.


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