Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Steven Vincent: martyr for our cause...

I was likewise shocked and terribly upset as I read his blog nearly every day. You could tell how bad things have been in the Shia south, and this pretty much shows that we are in deep and troubling times.. Steven Vincent Murdered in Basra I'm sitting here completely in shock. I just read the news that one of our web blogger journalists, Steven Vincent, was found murdered in Basra, Iraq. If you never read his blog, In the Red Zone, you should have because he had the low down about the Shia Islamists having taken over the city. He interviewed them. He drank tea with them. But he always wrote the truth about it. The good and the bad. And it was bad. The reports about prostitutes and other "undesirables" being murdered came from him. But he also took time to meet with some of the interesting people, such as the woman who proclaimed there would be women's rights, but insisted that it came from Islam while she wore a full abaya when she met him, only her eyes showing. He brought a part of Iraq to the outside world that the rest of the media ignored. Now he's been murdered by some would be tyrant and his goons because they didn't like him reporting the truth. The truth that there was widespread corruption. The truth that there were murderers running around in uniform acting like police. The fact that many of these men owed their allegiance to Iran. The truth that these men were creating petty kingdoms in the guise of religious purity in the sad, run down environs of Basra. In Basra where students on a picnic were beaten. In Basra where girls were turned away from university because they were not "dressed right" and those turning them away were nobody except self appointed guardians of "virtue". This is their virtue. This is what they believe in. They do not believe in freedom. They do not believe that anyone should question them. They are murderers and that is their "virtue". These self appointed sheikhs who cannot bare criticism to their sickly pride. They don't tell you in the press report, but Steven was married and he was only able to post to his website by sending her emails of his "dispatches". Steven had been embedded with the military on the drive to Baghdad in OIF I and wrote, "In the Red Zone", the definitive book, in my mind, about the war up to that time. In his book, the truth about the firing on the Palestine Hotel was printed, utterly refuting Jason Eason and so many other "reporters'" stories that it was deliberately targeted or done without care knowing that "reporters" were there. Steven was a great man. At times like these, I really have to wonder why we didn't flatten the place. At least, as my grandfather always said, if you are going to be hung for a lamb, you might as well steal the whole sheep and, the good Lord knows that we've had to suck up enough accusations that we did do such a thing. In the mean time, a nation has paid and paid dearly in our mercy, graciousness and respect for human life by shedding the blood of our best and emptying our coffers. So many have said that this war was for some sort of profit, some sort of blood fued. They have never known of what they speak. Where is the profit in this? It has cost us much more than it would have to load up MOABs and Daisy Cutters, leveling the place. It has cost us dearly to do "the right thing". The "right thing" has always been the hardest, the most costly and it doesn't always mean that the outcome is to our liking. There, in Iraq, the right thing meant sparing as many as possible while securing our safety and securing a future for Iraqis. And this is how they have repaid us, time and time again. Their payment to us has been blood of our soldiers and hands out like the worst ragamuffins with their hands out in the street for a penny and then, when you turn your back, they signal to their thuggish friends to rob you blind and steal your life. I'm sure that, in Basra, no one will know anything. They won't speak because that is what they have always done. A man who was worried about what might be happening there and what was happening to Basrawi (Basra citizens) was cut down for speaking as they never would. Speaking for those that couldn't in the best tradition of real journalists who had no political agenda but did care. And they shot his female translater after they had she and Steven kidnapped. I am afraid to hear if they did anything else since Steven recently reported ugly remarks made to her for wearing only a simple hijab (scarf). That is the honor and virtue of such men that live in Basra. The scum sucking boot lickers of Tehran or the beard pulling psychopaths that followed a fat no account cleric who could never be his father and so he rules like a petty tyrant in a slum inside Baghdad having retreated there to avoid arrest for conspiring to murder a fellow cleric and to avoid prosecution for stirring revolt in an Najaf and Nasariyah. Make no mistake, evil men walk this earth. But, it was through the eyes of people like Steven Vincent that I saw the people of Basra as something more than just anonymous faces and a region disappeared from the media that reminded me that real people lived there and we should be worried for their future. It was through his eyes that I realized the depth and breadth of the Shia Islamists control of Iraq. I had always thought that we owed the Shia for not coming to their rescue in '91 when they were being massacred by Saddam. I think we have paid enough. I think now I understand why we did not support the Shia revolt, above the question of the ceasefire agreement or air assetts for "no fly" zones. This was the worry we had to know all along. That the Iranian Islamists had the allegiance of these people and, if they had succeeded in their revolt, Iraq would have been Iran light or Iran's twin. Here we are, watching a constitution process with a Shia majority. Those we put in power by the sheer fact they were a majority in the new Democracy. This is how it is repaid. Now I wait to see if Basrawis have any real honor or if they are all going to be like thieves and sneaks and cowards, hiding their faces and claiming to know nothing from either complicitness or cowardess. That is the legacy of Basra. Cursed souls and murderers. Update: I am already disgusted because it barely took a few minutes for the news to be out and some scum bags are on his website saying ugly things including "oh, well, stuff happens, isn't that what Rumsfeld said". I see that sick, disgusting creeps aren't only in Basra, Iraq. I want to repeat here my gratitude and sincere condolences to the Vincent family. Many prayers for them. Don't forget our other blogging free lance journalists in Iraq, Michael Yon and MOAB who, embedded or not, surely need our prayers for their safety and gratitude for reporting as it is on the ground. I remember recently that Michael, all the way up in Mosul, had reported rumors that a Journalist was going to be killed. He thought it was him. Maybe it is a coincidence and people all over Iraq think it's a good idea to kill journalists? Fayrouz on Steven Vincent (we both knew as soon as we saw the title of the AP report "American Journalist Killed in Basra - he was the only one there) Iraq The Model on Steven Vincent Mudville reports (this is where the Palestine Hotel story was debunked with some help from Steven's book) Chrechoff on Vincent (interviewed him last year) Malkin on Vincent Poli-Pundit on Vincent Roger Simon on Vincent Michael Yon on Vincent: Final Dispatch Iraqi Blogger Central on Vincent Free Iraqi reported two weeks ago that Basra was stinking Powerline on Vincent Belmont Club on Vincent LGF on Vincent Shape of Days Interview Dec 2004 Times Online Reports Cao on Vincent Ogre on Vincent Castle Argghh linked Kender linked and will be discussing at 12 PM PST/2 PM CST on NIF Linked Euphoric Reality linked Instapundit with more links Tigerhawk Bloggledgook

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