Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Steven Vincent Murdered in Basra

Cursed Souls and Murderers

I'm sitting here completely in shock. I just read the news that one of our web blogger journalists, Steven Vincent, was found murdered in Basra, Iraq.

If you never read his blog, In the Red Zone, you should have because he had the low down about the Shia Islamists having taken over the city. He interviewed them. He drank tea with them. But he always wrote the truth about it. The good and the bad.

And it was bad. The reports about prostitutes and other "undesirables" being murdered came from him. But he also took time to meet with some of the interesting people, such as the woman who proclaimed there would be women's rights, but insisted that it came from Islam while she wore a full abaya when she met him, only her eyes showing.

He brought a part of Iraq to the outside world that the rest of the media ignored.

Now he's been murdered by some would be tyrant and his goons because they didn't like him reporting the truth. The truth that there was widespread corruption. The truth that there were murderers running around in uniform acting like police. The fact that many of these men owed their allegiance to Iran. The truth that these men were creating petty kingdoms in the guise of religious purity in the sad, run down environs of Basra.

In Basra where students on a picnic were beaten. In Basra where girls were turned away from university because they were not "dressed right" and those turning them away were nobody except self appointed guardians of "virtue".

This is their virtue. This is what they believe in. They do not believe in freedom. They do not believe that anyone should question them. They are murderers and that is their "virtue".

These self appointed sheikhs who cannot bare criticism to their sickly pride.

They don't tell you in the press report, but Steven was married and he was only able to post to his website by sending her emails of his "dispatches". Steven had been embedded with the military on the drive to Baghdad in OIF I and wrote, "In the Red Zone", the definitive book, in my mind, about the war up to that time.

In his book, the truth about the firing on the Palestine Hotel was printed, utterly refuting Jason Eason and so many other "reporters'" stories that it was deliberately targeted or done without care knowing that "reporters" were there.

Steven was a great man. At times like these, I really have to wonder why we didn't flatten the place. At least, as my grandfather always said, if you are going to be hung for a lamb, you might as well steal the whole sheep and, the good Lord knows that we've had to suck up enough accusations that we did do such a thing. In the mean time, a nation has paid and paid dearly in our mercy, graciousness and respect for human life by shedding the blood of our best and emptying our coffers.

So many have said that this war was for some sort of profit, some sort of blood fued. They have never known of what they speak. Where is the profit in this? It has cost us much more than it would have to load up MOABs and Daisy Cutters, leveling the place. It has cost us dearly to do "the right thing". The "right thing" has always been the hardest, the most costly and it doesn't always mean that the outcome is to our liking.

There, in Iraq, the right thing meant sparing as many as possible while securing our safety and securing a future for Iraqis.

And this is how they have repaid us, time and time again. Their payment to us has been blood of our soldiers and hands out like the worst ragamuffins with their hands out in the street for a penny and then, when you turn your back, they signal to their thuggish friends to rob you blind and steal your life.

I'm sure that, in Basra, no one will know anything. They won't speak because that is what they have always done. A man who was worried about what might be happening there and what was happening to Basrawi (Basra citizens) was cut down for speaking as they never would. Speaking for those that couldn't in the best tradition of real journalists who had no political agenda but did care.

And they shot his female translater after they had she and Steven kidnapped. I am afraid to hear if they did anything else since Steven recently reported ugly remarks made to her for wearing only a simple hijab (scarf).

That is the honor and virtue of such men that live in Basra. The scum sucking boot lickers of Tehran or the beard pulling psychopaths that followed a fat no account cleric who could never be his father and so he rules like a petty tyrant in a slum inside Baghdad having retreated there to avoid arrest for conspiring to murder a fellow cleric and to avoid prosecution for stirring revolt in an Najaf and Nasariyah.

Make no mistake, evil men walk this earth.

But, it was through the eyes of people like Steven Vincent that I saw the people of Basra as something more than just anonymous faces and a region disappeared from the media that reminded me that real people lived there and we should be worried for their future. It was through his eyes that I realized the depth and breadth of the Shia Islamists control of Iraq.

I had always thought that we owed the Shia for not coming to their rescue in '91 when they were being massacred by Saddam. I think we have paid enough. I think now I understand why we did not support the Shia revolt, above the question of the ceasefire agreement or air assetts for "no fly" zones. This was the worry we had to know all along. That the Iranian Islamists had the allegiance of these people and, if they had succeeded in their revolt, Iraq would have been Iran light or Iran's twin. Here we are, watching a constitution process with a Shia majority. Those we put in power by the sheer fact they were a majority in the new Democracy.

This is how it is repaid.

Now I wait to see if Basrawis have any real honor or if they are all going to be like thieves and sneaks and cowards, hiding their faces and claiming to know nothing from either complicitness or cowardess.

That is the legacy of Basra.

Cursed souls and murderers.

Update: I am already disgusted because it barely took a few minutes for the news to be out and some scum bags are on his website saying ugly things including "oh, well, stuff happens, isn't that what Rumsfeld said". I see that sick, disgusting creeps aren't only in Basra, Iraq.

I want to repeat here my gratitude and sincere condolences to the Vincent family. Many prayers for them.

Don't forget our other blogging free lance journalists in Iraq, Michael Yon and MOAB who, embedded or not, surely need our prayers for their safety and gratitude for reporting as it is on the ground. I remember recently that Michael, all the way up in Mosul, had reported rumors that a Journalist was going to be killed. He thought it was him. Maybe it is a coincidence and people all over Iraq think it's a good idea to kill journalists?

Update II: Read NRO on Steven Vincent with multiple links to stories published by NRO, written by Steven Vincent.

Update III: Steven Vincent's blog acknowledges his death and many friends have left their remarks:

I met Steve Vincent in 1974 when he lived in the dormitory room next to mine at UC Santa Barbara in California. We transfered to UC Berkeley together in 1976 and both moved to NY in 1980. Steve had the most brilliant mind of anyone I have ever met. His passion for knowledge, literature, art, history and truth was unquenchable. He was a great friend


And the most moving of all:

my love...23 years...and you have been lost to me forever.

go well, steven, and wait for me.


Update III: American security guards at Basra Hospital guarding Steven's body and, ostensibly, guarding Nour Weidi.

Fayrouz on Steven Vincent (we both knew as soon as we saw the title of the AP report "American Journalist Killed in Basra - he was the only one there)

Iraq The Model on Steven Vincent

Mudville reports (this is where the Palestine Hotel story was debunked with some help from Steven's book)

Chrenkoff on Vincent (interviewed him last year)

Malkin on Vincent
Poli-Pundit on Vincent
Roger Simon on Vincent
Michael Yon on Vincent: Final Dispatch
Iraqi Blogger Central on Vincent
Free Iraqi reported two weeks ago that Basra was stinking
Free Iraqi now reporting the news is all over Iraq
Powerline on Vincent
Belmont Club on Vincent
LGF on Vincent
Shape of Days Interview Dec 2004
Times Online Reports
Cao on Vincent
Ogre on Vincent
Castle Argghh linked
Kender linked and will be discussing at 12 PM PST/2 PM CST on xradio.biz
NIF Linked
Euphoric Reality linked
Instapundit with more links
Tigerhawk
Bloggledgook

8 comments:

justmitch said...

well written. my prayers go out to the journalists still there, and to the vincent family.

makes me sick just how much violence is in this world.

DaKruser said...

I grieve at this brave man's death. He was there to tell the truth, and suffered the fate of so many others who spoke/wrote what those in authority did not want uttered. Let us hope that his translator lives and that she points the finger at the ones responsible. Then the hard part starts and the Brits will have to deal with this. The Basran Police surely won't.

The Sandmonkey said...

Man, this blows. I used to read his blog. I can't believe this man's dead, probably in the name of Islam.
Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Motherfuckers make me so mad!

The Appalachianist said...

Good Morning Kat. No Offense, but you state that Steve had been an Embed. I'm currently reading his book, "In The Red Zone", and it clearly states he was not an Embed. He had seen the World Trade Center fall and later went to Iraq out of pocket. It's a shame of his murder, from his writing he seems like a pretty good guy. May he rest in Peace.
I wasn't calling you out, just stating what I know. Give me a holler.

Fayrouz said...

Hi Kat,

I hope you're doing well today. I'm feeling better today.

I realized we need to continue the fight against those monsters. That's the least we can do for Vincent.

Sadr and his thugs need to be thrown in jail once and forever. Enough is enough.

Kat said...

Appy...you're right and I need to make a correction. For some reason I had the impression he was an embedd because of some of the writings he did in the first book. Thank you for the correction I will update.

Sand...it was the Shia Islamists from Basrah this time.

And, to answer Fay, I'm still angry, but I had resolved the same thing yesterday. I had a few ups and downs when I saw the latest report that said the American officials were waiting for the local police to conduct their investigation but they say they had no leads at the same time they had some details like the car, the people picking them up and that they were held on the outside of town for five hours, questioned and beaten before murdered.

That sounds like a lot of info for people who know nothing. But I will wait to see if they do something more.

You know what really made me angry, some very cruel things were being written on this man's site where people were leaving condolences. Then, I wasn't angry, but sad. That's what the world was coming to.

Fayrouz said...

Kat,

Yeh, the comments left by the ignorants really upset me. It made me wonder how many of his reports they actually read.

I saw a picture of his body laying at Basra's morgue. It made me mad all day yesterday.

The Appalachianist said...

Sure thing Kat.