Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hmmm...

Italy's Red Cross treated four Iraqi insurgents with the knowledge of the Italian government last year and hid them from U.S. forces in exchange for the freedom of two kidnapped aid workers, a top Italian Red Cross official said in an interview published Thursday....

From the IRC Home Page.
The begining of its mission statement:
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization....

The International Red Cross said it was not involved in or informed of Scelli's activities. It said the Italian Red Cross is an independent organization that doesn't answer to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross.
"Scelli worked mostly in a personal capacity," said spokeswoman Antonella Notari. "I would not qualify what he did as an Italian Red Cross activity."
Notari would not comment on whether Scelli's initiatives violated the ICRC's pledge of neutrality, saying the commission needed more information from the Italian branch.


Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing chief of the Italian Red Cross, told the Turin newspaper La Stampa that he kept the deal secret from U.S. officials, complying with "a nonnegotiable condition" imposed by Iraqi mediators who helped him secure the release of Italians Simona Pari and Simona Torretta. They were abducted in Baghdad Sept. 7 and freed Sept. 28....

In a statement Thursday, the Italian government stopped short of denying it knew about the deal. It said Scelli acted independently and that the government "never conditioned or oriented his action, which ... was developed in complete autonomy."

The statement also did not directly address if Italy had kept the United States in the dark about Scelli's efforts but reiterated that Italy has always maintained a "full and reciprocal" cooperation with its American allies in Iraq.

Update: commentry

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Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Code Pink (whose co-founder Medea Benjamin expressed support for the Communist Viet Cong in Vietnam and the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, as well as saying of her trip to Cuba, "It seem[ed] like I died and went to heaven") has organized a demonstration outside Walter Reed.

Of course, America being a democracy, they do have a Consitutionaly protected right to engage in this type of activity. My thoughts on the issue are best express by Kevin Pannell, a member of the Army's First Cavalry Division:
"distasteful."

He went on to say:
When he was a patient at the hospital, Pannell said he initially tried to ignore the anti-war activists camped out in front of Walter Reed, until witnessing something that enraged him.

"We went by there one day and I drove by and [the anti-war protesters] had a bunch of flag-draped coffins laid out on the sidewalk. That, I thought, was probably the most distasteful thing I had ever seen. Ever," Pannell, a member of the Army's First Cavalry Division, told Cybercast News Service.

"You know that 95 percent of the guys in the hospital bed lost guys whenever they got hurt and survivors' guilt is the worst thing you can deal with," Pannell said, adding that other veterans recovering from wounds at Walter Reed share his resentment for the anti-war protesters.

"We don't like them and we don't like the fact that they can hang their signs and stuff on the fence at Walter Reed," he said. "[The wounded veterans] are there to recuperate. Once they get out in the real world, then they can start seeing that stuff (anti-war protests). I mean Walter Reed is a sheltered environment and it needs to stay that way."

But, there is hope yet. One demonstrator did concede that a hospital might not be the most appropriate venue for this kind of event:
"Maybe there is a better place to have a protest. I am not sure," said a man holding a sign reading "Stop the War," who declined to be identified.

HAT TIP: Wizbag, Sister Toldjah, Say Anything
Also: The Man, Katie's Dad, Gary, H2So4

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The Vietnamization of Iraq

Dadmanly, a milbloger, discusses the media efforts to revive the Vietnam Syndrom far more cogently than I could. (H/T: Blogotional)

Here are numbers on how Vietnam vets felt about their country & their service.

Update: The Tampa Tribune responds to criticism of its coverage of Iraq (H/T: Pebble Pie)

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