Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Curious Case of Jill Carroll

Unfortunately the average American knows little (or nothing) about the people we are in armed conflict with in the middle east currently, particularly those in Iraq, the folks we have "liberated". There are many reasons for that, ranging from the spin doctors in D.C. (on both sides) feeding us distilled and hopelessly oversimplified explanations of the area to the dangerous conditions making it difficult for journalists to travel outside of the Green Zone for the real stories. We are told they are murderous "terrorists", hell-bent on destroying "our way of life". We are also told they are not ordinary Iraqis; those were going to greet us with rose petals, and dance on Saddam Hussein's grave.

The latest target of the "kill the messenger" squad of the RadCons, Rep. John Murtha, tells us differently. He reports that they are 93% Iraqi; our friends during the day, tossing bombs at night. And the citizens not only know who they are but also support them clandestinely. Would you support an occupying force in your neighborhood?

But these "tearists", or "insurgents" have a curious PR problem. And the case of Jill Carroll is the latest example of this. Here we have an American journalist, familiar with the language and the culture, having friends in the area and trying to report what the real facts are on the ground, so we might understand the nuances of the war. So they (I realize there are many conflicting factions, have seen Monty Python's Life of Brian at least 30 times) abduct this woman, threatening to kill her unless several demands are met by the Americans and their Iraqi government. It's a message kinda like "they tell you we're barbarians so now we'll prove it!". I would think these folks would be giving foreign journalists an armed escort around the country (except FOX "news") so the world can see for themselves the extent to which the average Iraqi is affected by the occupation and growing civil war.

The American invasion and occupation of Iraq was wrong. The abduction and threat against Jill Carroll is just as wrong, arguably more so.

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