Monday, November 22, 2004

Kevin Sites Speaks 

Kevin Sites is the free-lance photographer who took the picture of the Marine in the mosque, shooting a wounded Iraqi.

As you probably know, Mr. Sites has been the subject of unending bile on the part of many rightwing blogs. Here's a sample from one I happened on called "Babalou," the perspective here that of an anti-Castro Cuban, I believe, not that there is anything wrong with being anti-Castro.

The MSM can circle-jerk on this issue all it wants to. Truth of the matter is that that "wounded insurgent" was there for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill American soldiers. He and his cohorts had all the time in the world to get the hell out of Fallujah. He didnt because he is a murderer and a terrorist. He was there because Allah told him to be there. Boo-f*cking-hoo. He was probably not even an Iraqi.

So, my take on it is simple.

F*ck'em. One less killer in this world.

Now let's get the rest of them.
The comments are equally as telling, and innocent of any knowledge of the Geneva conventions.
De acuerdo, Valentín. One of my biggest fears, and I suppose that of many other soldiers, is to get prosecuted for not fighting a politically correct war. If that Marine felt his life was in danger, I have no problem with his action.

But I think this incident illustrates a bigger problem we have an Iraq. The US Armed Forces can't defeat these animals with their hands tied behind their back. I just hope our leadership realizes the Rules of Engagement need to be adapted to the environment over there.

Posted by Yoan Gustavo at November 18, 2004 12:31 PM

From one marine to another, wish I were there to put a bullet thru the back of kevin jackass. Kevin better have eyes in the back of his head.

Posted by charles at November 18, 2004 02:44 PM

charles "the merciless" thinks shooting the reporter Kevin Sikes in the back is an appropriate answer for breaking this story.
I suggest you read the account rather some bunch of apologist bloggers.


Posted by Guest at November 18, 2004 05:56 PM

My favorite Slim Pickens line: "the only good injun is a ded injun"

Mr Sites would be doing this country a favor if he were to take one in the head tomorrow.

Posted by Mahgoo at November 18, 2004 08:03 PM

Ge, thanks Guest. I guess Ill watch it again for like the 50th time.

You miss the point entirely.

Posted by Val Prieto at November 18, 2004 08:26 PM
Val Prieto is the proprietor of the blog, and the above is only a selection from an ample thread. The main post also contains easy links to other blogs with an equally severe approach to the horror of having a free press.

I know, everything changed after 9/11. Except that anyone old enough to remember attitudes on the right to the press, once it had ceased to be an arm of the U.S. government and started to act like a free press during the Vietnam "conflict," can tell you how thoroughly is the sense of deja vu all over again. (as RDF does back here)

Among the commentators in the thread, one "madtom" defended Mr. Sites, on the wholly original, and in this day and age, "mad" grounds of having some knowledge of Sites' professional work over time, going so far as to provide a link. Feeling rather foolish it hadn't occurred to me to Goggle Sites' name, one grateful mouse click and there I was on a site of immense interest, with extraordinary photographs, and a just posted, Sunday, the 21st of November, explanation of what happened by Kevin Sites, himself, his first since the incident. It takes the form of an "Open Letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1."
Since the shooting in the Mosque, I've been haunted that I have not been able to tell you directly what I saw or explain the process by which the world came to see it as well. As you know, I'm not some war zone tourist with a camera who doesn't understand that ugly things happen in combat. I've spent most of the last five years covering global conflict. But I have never in my career been a 'gotcha' reporter -- hoping for people to commit wrongdoings so I can catch them at it.

This week I've even been shocked to see myself painted as some kind of anti-war activist. Anyone who has seen my reporting on television or has read the dispatches on this website is fully aware of the lengths I've gone to play it straight down the middle -- not to become a tool of propaganda for the left or the right.

But I find myself a lightning rod for controversy in reporting what I saw occur in front of me, camera rolling.

It's time you to have the facts from me, in my own words, about what I saw -- without imposing on that Marine -- guilt or innocence or anything in between. I want you to read my account and make up your own minds about whether you think what I did was right or wrong. All the other armchair analysts don't mean a damn to me.
Is this not what every American should want from its press? And isn't it interesting that to so few of the hardest of the hardliners, who think that they are supporting the troops, does it occur that a bond often exits between soldier and war correspondent, because they have in common a shared danger? I don't have the statistics at hand, but I understand that the number of dead injured press people has been unusually high in Iraq.

Sites' first person narration of what happened is riveting. You owe it to yourself as an American citizen, and you owe it to the young men and women called upon to fight an impossible war in your name, to read it. It forces us all to understand that what is happening in Iraq is a nightmare for everyone there. The genuine terrorists, those from outside Iraq, are something beyond dispicable. But, although perhaps of a different kind and to a different degree, so are the men and woman here, our own "leaders," who launched this war that cannot be won. Sikes brings home to all of us that our troops are caught in a nightmare not of their making.

I doubt that the Marine involved will be found to have committed a war crime, and quite probably, rightly so. It sounds, also, as if the young Marine will be haunted for a long time to come by what he found himself being forced by circumstances, not only out of his control, but of which he was not fully aware, to do. That part of this young Marine, his ethics, his conscience, his "soul," if you will, interest the keyboard warriors not a jot. The heavy burden that descended on the Marine's young shoulders in that moment when he discharged his gun does not excite the sympathies of the moral values set. It does mine. As it did Xan's in her post back here. Mr. Sites' account of the reality of Fallujah underlines Xan's point, that apart from the knuckleheaded responses of those on the right, as well as some in the center, which she brillinatly illuminates, there is this to add:
Hey guys, after you get done parsing how much really, really worse the Terrorists are, could you turn your fine-tuned Moral Analyzer on the folks who brought the Marine, the reporter and the wounded guys together in that mosque that day?
To get another look at what we're up against in trying to express a different reality than that of the rightwing blogs, who spend as much effort maligning what they are sure are our, anyone not of the right, attitudes, and pretending that the mainstream press, as represented by someone like Chris Matthews, for instance, leans far left and is invariable anti-American, than they do expressing their own points of view, (since their views are invariably shaped by rebounding off a hated "other,"), you can't find any better examples than you'll find here and here, including the comments.

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