Friday, October 13, 2006

Hang Around a War Zone, Get Killed

The mainstream media decided to come up for air from the Foley pseudo-scandal long enough to find a different needle to stick in their Bush administration voodoo dolls. It is about the Iraq War (the stand by when the scandal of the minute isn’t working out) and it comes courtesy of our friends (?) the British.

An ITN journalist who died during the beginning of the Iraq War was ruled to have been “unlawfully killed” by U.S. forces by a British coroner. This coroner, from a distance of many miles and now many years, somehow was able to determine that the journalist did nothing to contribute to his death. As a result, the National Union of Journalists and the reporter’s widow are calling for U.S. forces involved to be tried for War Crimes.

Let’s say the coroner with telescopic-time-vision is right and the reporter did nothing to contribute to his own death. That does not ipso facto make the U.S. action a war crime. It could have been, oh, a mistake. To leap to the conclusion that if he’s not responsible for his death the U.S. committed a war crime is requires Olympic triple-jump logic. One has to operate from the assumption that the U.S. forces wanted to fire on journalists in general, fire on him specifically, and ignores the very real possibility that it was an accident!

If there were some evidence that the journalist was directly targeted with intent because he was a journalist, then maybe a war crime trial would be warranted. But nothing in the report I read suggests intent, even as it puts the blame for the fatal fire on one of two U.S units in the area. But there was a war going on, and it doesn’t take Mensa level smarts to know that if you’re hanging around a war zone, there is the very real possibility that you could be killed, especially if you were not embedded, as the ITN crew was not.

ITN defended the principals and necessity of unilateral journalism, but there is a price to be paid for such detachment and sometimes death is it. There was a remark that no story is worth dying for. If they truly believe that, then they need to stop covering wars, because in wars good people, bad people, innocent people and reporters all die.

Anybody still think U.S. forces should be subject to the International Criminal Court?

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