Giuliana Sgrena & Occam’s Razor

There are a lot of wild claims flying around about American troops firing on the car of rescued journalist Giuliana Sgrena. I could go into detail about them, but I suspect that this is one of those events that has been initially obscured by the “fog of war,” like the tale of the Baghdad Museum or the missing explosives story. At first, you see all sorts of conflicting stories, but once everything settles, you find out that there is a lot less to it than many people thought at first.

In this case, we’re already starting to hear that the Italians may not have alerted the CIA about the car carrying Sgrena and how confusing checkpoints can be for those who aren’t familiar with them. This is not surprising since Occam’s Razor suggests that there was some sort of miscommunication or confusion which caused the soldiers to believe they were being threatened which then led to them opening up on the car Sgrena was in.

Of course, the conspiracy theorists and members of the “America is the center of all evil” crowd are already, as Stephen Bainbridge notes, coming to the forefront:

“Don’t believe a word of the U.S. version,” said Oliviero Diliberto, secretary of the Italian Communist Party. “There’s an attempt to mask what actually happened. The Americans deliberately fired on the Italians.” (Link)

The claim is so transparently bogus that one wonders how anyone could believe it, yet anti-Americanism apparently is now so deep in Europe that they are now incapable of thinking logically. First, why would the US have wanted to shoot some obscure Italian journalist? Second, if they did want her dead, why wouldn’t they have finished the job instead of ceasing fire when they realized a tragic mistake had been made? It’s just nuts.


I am sorry that we did fire on one of our allies and it’s tragic that Nicola Calipari, a military intelligence agent, was killed…and I’m not just saying that. Blue on blue killings are by definition tragic and this one is no exception. But, losing allies to friendly fire is also an all too routine event in combat situations. So coming up with wild conspiracy theories to explain a relatively common event is rather foolish. Just give it a few days and I suspect we’ll have a fairly good idea of what actually happened…

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