Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I Hope It's a Trend

Monday morning I missed the segment of Anne Garrels reporting on Special Forces in Iraq. To be honest, I just wasn't interested in ragging on her coverage - but I listened to it on the web today and was flabbergasted. It's a pretty gutsy piece that implies that US Special Forces in Iraq are brutally torturing prisoners
"I happened on a group of Iraqi prisoners who had just been brought in by a joint US/Iraqi special forces team. It was clear the prisoners had been badly beaten; they were covered in blood."
carrying out extrajudicial killings
"Iraqi witnesses say a US Special Forces team interrogated Ahmed, and then shot him. These same witnesses say American soldiers then shot Ahmed's wife."
and trying to cover up their crimes by keeping the media at bay
"...the special forces were angry that I had seen what I had seen and demanded that I be removed from the base."

"....when the US military was asked to provide more information...and access to those who took part in the raid, the request was denied....a request to speak to the head of Special Operations in Iraq was also denied. "
or by simply lying about what is going on.

"...asked about the raid the US military produced a brief press release. It says, 'Unspecified coalition forces responding to hostile intent killed three unnamed suspects.' "

Like the Tom Bowman piece I recently commended, Garrels actually took the time to speak to IRAQI witnesses and quotes them at length, and lets the US military present its version. But she puts it in a context of corroborative testimony, the evidence of abuse she actually saw, and the way in which military press statements obscure names and locations of such abuse.

Her only misstep is when she tells us, "There is only one thing the US and Iraqi accounts agree on: the main target of the raid, Ahmed Mahmood Ali, was probably not a good guy. Both say he had hand grenades; relatives say insurgent DVDs and a video camera, possibly used to document insurgent attacks, were also found in his possession. However, villagers say the other victims were not likely to have been involved with al-Qaeda..." That silly "good guy" "bad guy"stuff comes off pretty strange in this story. Frankly, I don't see how being an insurgent makes someone objectively a good or bad guy - and it certainly does not mean that that person is an al-Qaeda fighter.

Seriously though, I hope that this practice of investigating US operations, talking to witnesses, seeking evidence, and reporting when the military is being secretive, vague or evasive will continue; after all it's the right thing to do...


Porter Melmoth said...

Ann seeks redemption to save her career, but I am wary of her...

Truly, and with some sympathy, I think the war has gotten to her. Stress disorders of all kinds are constantly in play and affect everyone, from Iraqi citizens to commanding officers - not to mention reporters, no matter how tough. A boggled mind can be easily lost.

masbrow said...

I was struck by that story too, and wondered if maybe she was a little ashamed of herself and trying to atone?

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

I don't trust Ms. Garrulous any further than I could throw her... and they say she's a tuffie~