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Friday, April 22, 2005

Why absolutely everyone should be disturbed by the death of Marla Ruzicka

   By Marion Delgado at 3:42 AM

If you're a journalist as I have been off and on, you should be disturbed because she was killed doing what should be your job. Working with both the US military and Iraqi officials and civilians, without being coopted by any of them, she was successfully obtaining the most vital information in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalists were covering W and his fake turkey.

If you're someone who thinks that the insurgents are more the right side than the occupying troops, as I do, then it's surely disturbing that they killed off someone who was arguably rendering an irreplaceable service to the cause of Iraqi security and freedom. Now, thanks to the suicide bomber or bombers, the neocon warhawks can say whatever they want about the Iraqi casualty rates of their bombings and raids, and who's left on the ground to say them nay?

If you're a right-winger, it should disturb you that your compatriots at Free Republic cheered the death by "terrorists" of someone who was working every day with the US military and helping to determine something they have formally declared is part of their operational goal - getting a better estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties of military operations.

If you're someone who likes things black and white with neat corners, it should bother you that in a lot of ways the situation in Iraq is not a 2-player zero sum game. It's more amorphous than that, with it being possible for both the US military and the insurgents to lose or benefit and for third parties to ally and split off and even not know themselves which side they're on. Marla Ruzicka was helping the anti-war movement and the Iraqis who want the US to leave, but she was also helping the US military. She worked with officers and generals every day - that's one reason she was killed with a military convoy.

If you're someone who wants to do what you do in the US or the rest of the First World, and the worst consequences for you there as a journalist are losing your career and being blackballed, or perhaps jailed, and as a protester to be injured by rubber bullets or beanbags or CS gas or batons, but not usually in a permanently disfiguring or crippling way and almost never fatally - it's a reminder that in the Middle East and Latin America (at least) the sky's the limit. I believe American forces, at least "special" ones, are murdering journalists, and insurgents and rebels and terrorists and third world government hit squads certainly are - in the case of Al Qaeda, torturing and murdering, as they did to journalist Daniel Pearl. Protesters can end up like Laurie Berenson or like Rachel Corrie. Surely it's disturbing to realize that the stakes somewhere else are probably higher than you want to play for.

[ON EDIT] I should have said alongside or intermingled with the military convoy. As far as I can tell, it was the probable target of the attack and the suicide bomber mistook the vehicle for part of the convoy. The other two people killed were her translator, Faiz Ali Salim and a European security guard whose name has not been released. When I read that a guard had been killed I thought it was someone in the US military.

Also, I should make it very clear that Ruzicka was a human rights crusader and the founder of an NGO,and not a journalist. My only point in bringing in journalism is that the facts she was after - the casualty count of US bombing - should have been the first thing journalists went looking for.

I'd also like to note that, with the notable dishonorable exception of the horrid faux-Libertarian Debbie Schlussel who showed her true colors as a fascist ghoul, the US press has been very respectful in its coverage of Ruzicka's death. That should not be overlooked or taken for granted.


Blogger Sean H. said...

Come back to the shallow end with the rest of us. You are in over your head. Yes, the "war" is wrong but to say the insurgents are right is bordering on lunacy. Furthermore, to purport that journalists are being eliminated/assinated is obviously wild speculation. If you had any kind of proof you would either be dead or too scared to say so.

I usually like your posts but this one goes a little too far.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Marion Delgado said...

"If you're someone who thinks that the insurgents are more the right side than the occupying troops, as I do, .."

I stand by that assertion. Either you should mail the government of Germany and apologize to them for all those Nazis we hanged at Nuremberg, or you should accept the Nuremberg ruling that (a) waging aggressive war is itself a capital crime and (b) that insurgents and partisans have every right to defend their territory against an occupying army. Not only is the US in Iraq in violation of the Nuremberg tribunals decision, but it has gone beyond the initial violation to establish permanent bases in Iraq. That doesn't make the insurgents right about everything, just makes them, according to every precedent in international law and every treaty the US has ever signed, more the right side than the occupying troops. The only part I shouldn't have included was "thinks" since this is an indisputable fact, not an opinion.

As for murdering journalists, this was done openly in Serbia. US forces bombed Serbian TV stations and killed everyone in them. Our justification - that they were government propagandists and not journalists - would apply equally to FOX News. The US also has bombed Al Jazeera repeatedly, despite every attempt on Al Jazeera's part to communicate their location and unsuitability as a target, and also fired on the Palestine Hotel, which is the main staging area for international journalists, and well known as that. Again, in the case of Al Jazeera, it's been made out to be an enemy combatant nest. The truth is, it's a journalistic endeavor created by former British Broadcasting Company employees who had been working in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Al Jazeera just means the Arab peninsula and the name is shared with a pro-PLO website that has no connection to the TV network. Following up on an open murder of journalists, several attacks where the US explanation was an obvious lie, and now the shooting of the car carrying a left-wing Italian journalist where the Americans lied outright about the circumstances, and even a right-wing ally in Italy, Berlusconi, has stated that the US explanation is unsatisfying (that's how leaders say "a fucking lie.) In light of all this, there is a constant pattern of American military attacks on journalists. Once again, I think you're sort of shooting the messenger.

2:41 PM  

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