That Checkpoint Shooting Again

JB writes:

Take the shooting of the Italian intelligence agent in context:
Our soldiers were not to blame. A speeding car

According to the Italian journalist and the surviving intelligent agent, their car was not speeding and was mocing at about 25 mph. Granted, this part of the story might strike those who have driven in Italy as dubious. Still: why would anyone speed up towards a checkpoint full of triggerhappy soldiers? No one would. The odds that they were speeding is probably about 10 to 1.

coming at a check point within an area where one of the major methods the insurgents use are suicide car bombs will cause a level of alarm in those soldiers manning the check point. The agent failed to make proper prior coordinations with the American unit and he failed to pass through the check point in the proper manner (actually in a manner completely devoid of common sense). I ran traffic control points and check points when I was in Mosul, and the only people who ever sped at the check point were either drunk or intended to due us harm. We never shot at the driver or passenger until the threat was confirmed (we would disable it first), but suicide car bombs were far less frequent then. Hold the agent accountable for his actions…for being a dumb ass.

Maybe. But Mosul is a much, much calmer city than Baghdad from the standpoint of US occupation troops. Could it be that Americans had less reason to be nervous there?

Liberal Elitists

Alex writes:

If liberals are open minded how come they are so adverse to anyone who thinks differently? You are one of many cartoonist happily indulging in group-think. I am a cartoonist myself, a republican and a new yorker. Any input as to why independent thinking is not encouraged by the liberal elite ivy leaguers such as yourself?

That’s so silly it doesn’t merit a response. But I thought you should see the kind of stuff people send me.

Ted Rall on Air America

I’ll be filling in for vacationing “Morning Sedition” co-host Marc Maron on Thursday, March 24, from 6 am to 9 am East Coast time. Check your local listings or livestream the show through airamericaradio.com.

The Terri Sciavo Case

Rick asks:

I don’t recall reading your thoughts on the Terri Schiavo case. Do you have an opinion? I myself have a living will, ordering no dramatic measures be taken in the event of my brain death. (I voted for Bush, so you probably think it’s too late). Schiavo’s parents say she is aware, smiles, and acknowledges contact and even uses some words. They accuse her husband of mis-treatment, and say they are denied proper access to her. They also say she is not allowed therapy, or the use of the outdoors. They make the point that people are arrested for starving a dog, yet they want to allow it against their daughter.
Normally, I would say pull the plug, but with her parents’ statement in mind, I am torn.
What say you, Ted?

This is one of a number of issues where I can’t come down strongly on one side or the other. I oppose euthenasia, largely because of its role leading to the Holocaust. On the other hand, if someone wants to kill herself, who can stop them? In the Schiavo case we really don’t know what happened and what’s true and false. In such cases I prefer to stand back and let the courts take their course.

Whenever I write about an issue where I feel torn, my readers are furious; many hated my column about eminent domain because I refused to take sides. Given the fact that there are so many issues where it’s easy to make the right call–torture, say–I tend to shy away from these. It’s too bad, because it leads many to believe that I only hold extreme positions about every issue, when in truth I only hold strong opinions about the issues I write and draw about. Moderation in the pursuit of interest, after all, is one hell of a vice.

Saddam Capture Faked?

UPI is asking whether the Saddam spiderhole story was just as phony as Bush’s thanksgiving turkey and the staged Saddam statue toppling party:

Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction

United Press International
03/08/05 – – Rochester NY – – A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.
Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.
“I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced,” Abou Rabeh said.
“We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed,” he said.
He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: “You have to surrender. … There is no point in resisting.”
“Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam’s capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well,” Abou Rabeh said.
Abou Rabeh was interviewed in Lebanon.

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