Monday, May 23, 2005

NYT: "An Iraqi Police Officer's Death, a Soldier's Varying Accounts" . . .

The American soldier and the Iraqi police officer were on patrol together outside a flea market south of Baghdad, chatting from time to time, when one of them suddenly started shooting.
What prompted the gunfire is a matter of dispute, but one thing is not: The soldier, Cpl. Dustin M. Berg, fired three times at his Iraqi partner, Hussein Kamel Hadi Dawood al-Zubeidi, and killed him. As Corporal Berg ran away, he picked up Mr. Zubeidi's AK-47 and shot himself in the side.
In the days that followed, Corporal Berg lied about what happened, saying Mr. Zubeidi was the one who had shot him. And for months he went right on lying, after he recovered from his wound, after he left Iraq, even after he received a Purple Heart he did not deserve with his parents watching at a solemn ceremony back home in Indiana.
Corporal Berg has long acknowledged that he killed Mr. Zubeidi in a rush of moments that day in November 2003, but says he did so only after the officer abruptly raised his gun in a threatening way. Everything Corporal Berg now admits doing wrong after that - shooting himself and lying about the events - grew out of fear for what would happen to him, he says, and the knowledge that other soldiers in his unit had already been investigated for incidents in Iraq.

The above is the opening of Monica Davey's "An Iraqi Police Officer's Death, a Soldier's Varying Accounts" from this morning's New York Times.

Francisco e-mails about the littlest Judy Miller, Juan Forero and his article this morning. He wonders whether, after spinning like crazy re: the Venezuela coup and the US involvement for years, had turned a leaf.

I wondered the same. Then I read "Bolivia Epitomizes Fight for Natural Resources" closely.

We won't belabor everything wrong with the article, as it is I'm having flashbacks of being stuck in a poli sci study group with a right-winger who played fast and loose with the truth and you had to call him on everything to get him to stop. We will note one paragraph:

Such words could not be more troubling to Juan Carlos Iturri, an economist who said that many protesters are driven by slogans and do not take into account Bolivia's economic realities.

Juan Carlos Iturri is "an economist?" Economist? That's how we're going to bill him?
No, I don't think so. Why the Times lets Juan Forero play so loosely with the truth is beyond me. Juan Carlos Iturri? Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he "the Coordinator of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States?" Interesting the way he's down-graded. But then the Times hasn't been overly concerned with the top of intellectual property rights in other countries.

Let's go to Marc Lacey (whom Krista e-mailed on) and his "U.N. Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace:"

The United Nations, burdened by its inability to stave off the mass killings in Rwanda in 1994 and by failed missions in Bosnia and Somalia, is allowing its peacekeepers to mount some of the most aggressive operations in its history.
The change has been evolving over the last decade, as the Security Council has adopted the notion of "robust peacekeeping" and rejected the idea that the mere presence of blue-helmeted soldiers on the ground helps quell combat.
It is most obvious in Congo, which commands by far the largest deployment of United Nations troops in the world. Peacekeepers in armored personnel carriers, facing enemy sniper attacks as they lumber through rugged dirt paths in the eastern Ituri region, are returning fire. Attack helicopters swoop down over the trees in search of tribal fighters. And peacekeepers are surrounding villages in militia strongholds and searching hut by hut for guns.

Brad e-mails to note C.J. Chivers' "Survivors and Toe Tags Offer Clues to Uzbek's Uprising:"

Since May 13, when Uzbek troops used fusillades of gunfire to put down a prison break and demonstration in the eastern city of Andijon, President Islam A. Karimov of Uzbekistan has insisted the troops were fighting Islamic militants, and any civilians struck were felled either by accident or the militants' guns.
But lengthy interviews with more than 30 survivors who fled to Kyrgyzstan, combined with accounts collected by opposition workers and human rights groups, consistently indicate that what happened was not as the official version would have it.
Rather, it appears that a poorly conceived armed revolt to Mr. Karimov's centralized government set off a local popular uprising that ended in horror when the Uzbek authorities suppressed a mixed crowd of escaped prison inmates and demonstrators with machine-gun and rifle fire.

Cedric e-mails to note Kate Zernike and Anne E. Kornblut's "Link to Lobbyist Brings Scrutiny to G.O.P. Figure:"

In Republican Washington, Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist worked all the angles.
One was a $750-an-hour lobbyist, the other an antitax activist, and they helped drive the Republican takeover of the capital and cement the party's power. Both had a close ally in the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. And they shared a conservative ideology and a friendship going back to their days in college.
Now, with widening Congressional and criminal inquiries in the capital into Mr. Abramoff's dealings, they are sharing trouble, too.
While Mr. Abramoff has been under scrutiny for more than a year, Mr. Norquist has attracted unwelcome attention in recent weeks. A Congressional committee investigating whether Mr. Abramoff defrauded Indian tribes has subpoenaed records from Mr. Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform, after he refused for six months to turn them over voluntarily.

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