Monday, March 07, 2005

Sono pazzesco, voi sono pazzesco

Sgrena's actual escape vehicle

Whoops again! This is a picture of the real car in which Giuliana Sgrena was transported - the previous photo shown below in this blog was actually a stock photo submitted by the AP. SO, the 300 to 400 rounds may have been more on the mark so to speak. We regret the error.

For what it's worth, Captain Ed has "Sgrena in her own words," which describes (as the Captain put it):
The car kept on the road, going under an underpass full of puddles and almost losing control to avoid them. We all incredibly laughed. It was liberating. Losing control of the car in a street full of water in Baghdad and maybe wind up in a bad car accident after all I had been through would really be a tale I would not be able to tell. Nicola Calipari sat next to me. The driver twice called the embassy and in Italy that we were heading towards the airport that I knew was heavily patrolled by U.S. troops. They told me that we were less than a kilometer away...when...I only remember fire. At that point, a rain of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up forever the cheerful voices of a few minutes earlier.

The driver started yelling that we were Italians. "We are Italians, we are Italians." Nicola Calipari threw himself on me to protect me and immediately, I repeat, immediately I heard his last breath as he was dying on me. I must have felt physical pain.

So they drove through Baghdad fast enough to almost lose control of the car, never slowed down as they approached a checkpoint they knew to be ahead, and the "rain of gunfire and bullets" apparently only hit two of the three people in the car -- hardly likely if the intent was to assassinate everyone in the vehicle. In fact, it sounds very close to the American version of the incident, in which the Italians failed to coordinate their movements with the military command protecting the single most dangerous road in Iraq, one on which numerous car-bomb attacks have been launched, and failed to approach a military checkpoint in a battle zone with caution and common sense.

The fact that anyone survived should be considered somewhat fortunate under these circumstances. It also points out that American soldiers act with caution and discrimination, not hysterical free-fire as Sgrena and the Italian press alleges.

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