Zed's Blog claims to have come up with a list of the 12 journalists that the US "deliberately killed". And while it looks good on principle, if you dig a little closer you'll see the argument still has a ton of flaws - enough for a bit-part blogger to make, but not enough for a high-ranking news executive like Eason Jordan to make. It starts like this:
Terry Lloyd, Hussein Othman, and Fred Nerac killed, taking at first US tank fire (despite being in a clearly marked jeep) that was ostensibly aimed at Iraqi soldiers.That's all well and good, but here are the qualifiers, as said by Zed:
"The bodies of Hussein Othman and Fred Nerac were never found, but they are presumed dead. This makes three possibly killed deliberately."So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, and for 1 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately. Next kills?
Taras Protsyuk and José Couso killed when a US tank fires at their hotel.However, as Zed once again points out, two subsequent investigations cleared the soldiers of intent, which would be required if they are supposedly "deliberately killing journalists". So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, and for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately. Next kills?
Tariq Ayoub killed when a US missile hits the Al-Jazeera headquarters. Al-Jazeera claims it is deliberate, and it is noted that their Afghanistan office was one of the first buildings bombed back in Kabul, Afghanistan as well. The US, of course, claims otherwise. While this is plausible, considering how many of their missiles went randomly astray, it's certainly suspicious.Despite the fact that Al-Jazeera is not a news outlet populated by journalists, and more a terrorist propaganda source, I'm not sure about this one. To be honest, I couldn't blame the US for firing missiles at Al-Jazeera, as I see it as a legitimate target. So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately, and for 1 of the 12, it's not a clear cut matter. Next kills?
Mazen Dana killed by soldiers in two tanks outside Abu Ghraib, now famous for entirely different reasons. The soldiers claimed they thought he was pointing a rocket-propelled grenade at them; other journalists at the scene stated that they had been seen filming for half an hour before he was shot.This one comes solely down to whether you believe the soldiers or not. So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately, and for 2 of the 12, it's not a clear cut matter. Next kills?
Ali Abdel Aziz and Ali al-Khatib killed by US soldiers after getting into their vehicle (marked clearly "TV"), while trying to get out of the area where a Volvo had tried to run a checkpointDoes that sound suspicious to you? It's bordering on it for me. So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately, and for 4 of the 12, it's not a clear cut matter. Next kills?
Assad Kadhim and Hussein Saleh killed by US fire on the road to Samarra. The US Army issued a statement accepting responsibility for the death of the two journalists in what it called "accidental" fire, claiming that they were hit by "four to six bullets" that were aimed at the car ahead of them that jumped a roadblock (even accounting for panic, that's kind of lousy aim, there, to miss by an entire vehicle and the distance between them).Alternatively, it's quite interesting for a pair of journalists to be so close to a car that jumped a roadblock. Still, no further proof of these so-called "deliberate killings" has been found. So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately, and for 6 of the 12, it's not a clear cut matter. Next kills?
Dhia Najim killed by sniper fire in Ramadi. The US claimed at first that he was killed in a small arms firefight, but his video footage showed no fighting at the time he was killed. The US admitted that Marine snipers were present.This looks quite poor on the part of the US, unless you take into account what Zed has left out: "The US military authorities said they had looked at the footage he had taken and claimed that it showed rebels preparing to attack coalition forces."
So for two of the 12, you can't prove they are even dead, for 3 of the 12, there's still no evidence they've killed them deliberately, and for 7 of the 12, it's not a clear cut matter. Which is interesting, because it means you have to take the words of everyone else over the US military and ignore a fair few facts to get to 12. And here's the thing - I only had to do extra research on one of the 12, because Zed effectively killed his/her own argument dead on the spot by telling half of both sides of each story. But Zed doesn't stop there.
...if someone handed Eason Jordan the same information I've just provided here, it's entirely possible that he said what he did in good faith. Blogs keep decrying him as a liar, and asking for names — here they are. It is admittedly a little unfair to ask the US military to prove a negative, that these deaths were not intentional... but then, we have most likely killed over a hundred thousand civilians in Iraq, and taken horrendous casualties among our own soldiers, because Saddam Hussein was unable to prove a negative: that he had no weapons of mass destruction.This requires a few rebuttals.
1. Eason Jordan flip-flops on his second statement on it, after back-pedalling the first time. First he says:
To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq....but he follows that up with:
Since three of my CNN colleagues and many other journalists have been killed on purpose in Iraq, I disputed the "collateral damage" statement, saying, unfortunately, many journalists -- not all -- killed in Iraq were indeed targeted.He goes on to qualify that second part of the statement a little, as you can see for yourself, but it's not really a good job. And this is again contradicted by CNN's own response. To make a successful argument, you need to have one stance, not three to five.
2. Eason Jordan has a history of making anti-American-troops statements without any facts to back it up.
3. Over 100,000 killed? You must have been reading the Lancet's comprehensively debunked, statistical junk of a study.
4. The war was not solely about Saddam proving then and there he had no WMD, maybe you should read the justification that Colin Powell presented to the UN.
And finally, I'm still looking for 5 more names and an extra evidence on 7 you presented before I believe that the US "deliberately killed" 12 journalists. You haven't proven a thing, Zed - anyone could have told half-truths to have proven a point, except you. You've told half-truths and still come up a long way short of anything remotely resembling a solid argument.
(Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)