Giulian Sgrena describes in her own words what happened on the way to the Baghdad International Airport last Friday.
The driver had communicated twice to the Embassy and Italy that we were headed towards the airport which I knew to be very heavily controlled by the American troops. It’s less than a kilometre away, they told me, when … I only remember firing. At that point, a shower of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up for ever the cheered up voices of a few minutes earlier.
The driver started to yell that we were Italians, “We are Italians. We are Italians…” Nicola Calipari threw himself upon me to protect me and immediately, I repeat, immediately, I felt his last breath as he died on me. I must have felt physical pain, I didn’t know why. But I had a flash. My mind went straight to the words my kidnappers had pronounced. They had declared they were committed to letting me free but I had to be wary “because there are the Americans that don’t want your return”. Then, when they had told me that, I had judged those words as superfluous and ideological. In that moment they risked giving me the taste of the bitterest of truths.
She speculates about the reason American forces did not want her to return to Italy.
On Sunday, Ms. Sgrena went so far as to say she believed that American soldiers might have deliberately shot at the car, out of anger that Italy had reportedly paid a ransom to secure her release. One Italian minister said it was “very likely” a ransom had been paid, and Italian newspapers reported sums up to $10 million.
“The fact that the Americans don’t want negotiations to free the hostages is known,” Ms. Sgrena said in a telephone interview with Sky TG24 television. “The fact that they do everything to prevent the adoption of this practice to save the lives of people held hostages, everybody knows that. So I don’t see why I should rule out that I could have been the target.”
And the official White House response to these stunning accusations? Little Scottie mumbles a non-denial denial.
“It’s absurd to make any such suggestion, that our men and women in uniform would target individual citizens.”
Yes, Scottie, it is indeed absurd to suggest that that U.S. forces would fire on the Italians because they wanted to make a point about paying ransom to kidnappers in Iraq.
It’s also absurd to suggest that the U.S. would attack a country that posed no threat to anyone claiming that said country possessed weapons that never existed. It’s absurd to suggest that U.S. forces would torture the very people they claim to be Marching towards Freedom, or that U.S. forces would destroy an entire city in order to keep it from being a haven for insurgents.
The truth is often absurd. This Scottie knows well.