A Tale of Two Abductees

This just in from the Guardian, via Fark:

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

This just in from CNN, via BoingBoing:

Jill Carroll had just been laid off from a newspaper job and decided it was time to fulfill her dream of going to the Middle East to cover a war.

Let’s continue the comparison:

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

“All I ever wanted to be was a foreign correspondent,” Carroll wrote last year in the American Journalism Review. “It seemed the right time to try to make it happen.”

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

Carroll, a 28-year-old freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped Saturday in Baghdad, when gunmen ambushed her car and killed her translator. She had been on her way to meet a Sunni Arab official in one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned.

In the February/March issue of AJR, Carroll wrote that she moved to Jordan in late 2002, six months before the war started, “to learn as much about the region as possible before the fighting began.”

So please tell me, one more time, just who has the “moral superiority” bragging rights in Iraq?

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

13 Comments
  1. Mr. Gordon, you were clearly never able to shed your youthful naivety—not surprising considering your vocation(s). You and your ilk would do well to face the reality that arrests based on substance and researchable law, are archaic throwbacks to a simpler time. Have you not heard that we are at war, both at home and abroad with a phantom enemy not of our own creation? You should consider holding your tongue, save to admire the excellence and magnitude of the emperor’s clothes.

  2. But I don’t like the emperor’s cloths. I prefer softer pastels to the hard red presidential tie.

    I’m not concerned about whether Iraqi children are butchered, because da man told us that Saddam Hussein blew up the Trade Towers.

    It’s the clothing.

  3. While I won’t argue that EITHER abduction was right, I think that the most telling difference is this phrase; “He was released hours later”. Someone seized by American troops is not going to be fearful of having a couple of ‘brave’ fellows saw off their head for the video camera.
    Worlds apart, Mr Gordon.

  4. That’s hardly a fair analysis, either. When a civilian, who is also a journalist, is kidnapped by military personnel, knowledge of the act exists; witnesses can corroborate the story and vouch that the subject is in military custody. While I agree that our military is not likely to behead those it takes possession of like cattle, the victim’s subsequent release hardly fills the act with more “moral superiority” than the cases of kidnapped westerners who were recently released, still in possession of their heads. If Jill Carroll’s story ends as well, will you admit a closer parallel?

  5. Iraq is a dangerous country. One travels there and reports the news at one’s your own peril.

    Reporters like to kick around U.S. and British soldiers when they get a chance but expect to have their full training and firepower at their beckoning at all times for their own protection.

    I remember incidences in Vietnam where the objective was to protect reporters, not destroy the enemy when on missions and yet reporters still spent their time wasting paper and wearing out typewriters criticizing soldiers while we were saving their asses.

  6. firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children

    And the rules of engagement!? Was he shooting in the first place? Were the troops threatened?

    Moral superiority indeed, it’s merely a campaign buzz-phrase…

  7. I agree with Julian… the reporters are there to make a name for themselves. They must accept the potential consequences of putting themselves into the dangerous situations they do.

    I do respect the ones that are there attempting to get a true account. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the desire for unbiased media exists anymore with the major news networks.

    It really is a shame.

  8. “I agree with Julian… the reporters are there to make a name for themselves.”

    Mostly, wrong. 99% are there to witness and report on events.

    Those there for a name hide out and would hardly seek out interviews in potentially hostile situations.

    and, Julian.

    The reporters that tagged along with my unit were briefed that they would be treated just like any other soldier.

    Apparently you were with “staff” and not in the field.

  9. Sky-Ho

    I was in the infantry. My unit was the 64th IPCT (provisional), Combat Trackers. We were then what is now called a special ops unit although that is not what we were labeled at the time.

    The reason the news media was forced on us was because the brass wanted them to see combat conditions and try to shed some sort of favorable reporting. That did not happen. All they reported was blood & guts and how savage combat soldiers were. That was the beginning of revisionist history in my opinion.

    It was also our mission to keep them alive so they could shed unfavorable light on us and other soldiers during Vietnam, thereby changing the course of history. I must admit, they succeeded. I have little or no respect for so called reporters. They do not always report the facts, but allow their personal prejudices to dominate.

    At least on this site, one can soon figure out which blogger has an axe to grind against whom. This is always not that clear cut with reporters.

  10. Mostly, wrong. 99% are there to witness and report on events.

    What a succinct way to express what they are “supposed” to be doing for their paycheck. This was a given, no bother…

    They ARE there to make a name for themselves… this is how they attempt to create a career that would resemble that of either Rather or Brokaw. I do not fault them for this. I also do not fault them for what the “network” decides to report on and not. They may have had an unbiased report and the network decided to spin it.

    You seem pretty defensive with regards to the media… quite interesting.

  11. Those there for a name hide out and would hardly seek out interviews in potentially hostile situations.

    Mostly Wrong!? Your reasoning is flawed… Yup… 99.999%.

    If they hunkered down and did not do the interviews they would NOT make a name for themselves.

  12. >Someone seized by American troops is not going to be fearful of having a couple of ‘brave’ fellows saw off their head for the video camera.

  13. Anna,

    Both sides murder. Both sides torture. It is really simple, we should not be there in the first place.