I usually refrain talking about politics, I don’t quite feel this kind of discussions belong to a geeky blog, but tonight I just have to scream my disgust with the USA (and the italian government, for that matter).
Most of you might not be aware that a few months ago an italian hostage in Iraq was freed by the italian intelligence, maybe after paying ransom money. On the way to the airport, a US patrol opened fire on the hostage car, killing an italian secret agent and wounding the hostage.
Now, US military findings are telling us that the US patrol wasn’t aware that a rescue operation was in place and that the car was traveling at high speed (around 100km/h) and didn’t stop after warning signs were issued and warning shots were fired. We have a different story here: italians were given written permissions from the US command, the hostage keeps saying that the car wasn’t speeding, and no warning signs whatsoever were issued before gunshots started to pepper the car killing Nicola Calipari.
Of course I wasn’t there so I can’t really tell who is right and who is wrong (but hint: that very night Nicholas Negroponte was due to pass by that very road, and the patrol was sent to ensure that everything was in order). What really bothers me is that since March 4, the day this tragedy happen, the US haven’t let their italian allies proceed with any investigation, including even have a look at the car being shot, and right now they are basically saying that they did exactly what they were supposed to do and that they can’t be blamed for what is and remains a “tragic accident”.
Tragic accident my ass. I could have lived with an admission of reciprocal incompetence (Italy should have been more clear about what was going on that night in Baghdad, the US soldiers should have given those poor guys a chance to stop instead than just firing away), but this is more than I can bear. If only this was the first time ever the US behave in such an arrogant way: back in 1999 a US jet killed 20 people when the crew sheared a cable car wires in the ski resort of Cermis, in Northern Italy. When the plane landed, the flight recorder was “accidentally” reset, so that no flight data were available: there was however a voice recording of a laughing crew betting that the pilot wouldn’t have been able to fly below the wires. The US wouldn’t let italian courts prosecute their fellow soldiers, and we trusted our allies would have been running a careful inquiry and trial. Well, guess what? Captain Richard Ashby, the aircraft pilot, was cleared of all charges and didn’t spend a single day in jail. Findings were the poor guy was confused by the mountain terrain, had his altitude indicators not working correctly and, despite flying day in day out over that strip of land, didn’t have the cable wires on his map. How does that sound to any reasonable human being?
I’m tired of having allies whose main proposition is to protect their asses at all costs. I’m tired of having an ally who wants us to trust their laughable commissions but takes our fingerprints and photos when we come to visit the US. Now more than ever, an old italian saying applies: “God, protect me from my friends, I’ll take care of enemies myself”. And I’m tired of being ashamed of belonging to a country whose goverment still thinks what’s going on in Iraq is a peace mission and that we should stand by the US side to make sure that freedom drops below 40$ a barrel. National pride should go way beyond “differing on the conclusions of the US about the accident”: we should leave Iraq first thing tomorrow, and be done with it.
(ok, ok, no more political ranting, at least for a while…)