Monday, December 20, 2004

Let's play a fun game - it's called, "Get A Grip".

Roger Simon, whose website I like to read from time to time as he is clearly one of the most patently nice and decent people around (which is going to make this rather more painful for me than for him [especially on the basis that he's never going to read it...]), gives shelf space to this "characteristically provocative" piece of writing that is up at the Belmont Club relating to the murder of Iraqi election officials.* Says Roger:

he wonders how Associated Press photographers just happened to be at the scene of the assassination of two Iraqi electoral officials the other day.

I spend a lot of my time wondering about things. When I'm not wondering I dedicate a significant portion of my waking hours to pondering. I have also been known to mull. Let's just say that our priorities are obviously somewhat different when it comes to organising our mental exercise schedules.

The odds are, indeed, extremely long--rather like my happening on a gang killing with my camera ready in Los Angeles. In my thirty-some years here that has never happened.

I'm unconvinced that Roger spends a great deal of time in "da Hood". I would agree with him that the odds of a successful Hollywood screenwriter and mystery author - who presumably doesn't go looking for opportunities to get his codlings sheared off - stumbling over somebody taking one between the eyes are "long". I do not find this scenario a convincing juxtaposition with the odds of professional journalists being present on a major thoroughfare (Haifa Street - which can be found clearly marked on this map - is the main road along the West bank of the Tigris as it runs through central Baghdad and is in the immediate vicinity of, among other things, most of the Tigris bridges, much of the governmental infrastructure and most of the media headquarters in the capital) noted for newsworthy clashes, in the capital city of an insurgency-riven country during peak time rush hour.

Wretchard reminds us of the disturbing story of the reporters for Paris Match who accompanied some terrorists on their mission to shoot down a DHL Airbus in 2003. Could this be a repeat?

Of course it could. But common sense and a minimum level of basic exploration using readily available open sources reveals - should have revealed - in short order that it is hardly a likely scenario, certainly not likely enough to be worth dwelling upon in place of various other issues - such as those related to the security situation - that this attack raises.

Of course, there could be some innocent explanation.

Yeah, but the point is that if we work from that standpoint then we might have to openly accept and look square in the face some of the rather less palatable issues that these horrible events might raise. Far better to develop an elaborate and superficially intriguing thesis that gives us a free pass to look everywhere but.

On the basis of what I have read so far, I remain as thoroughly unconvinced by the notion of a dark conspiracy in this instance as I am by the fevered ramblings of Michael Meacher in the Guardian (though Meacher is far worse as he should know better - how the man ever rose so high as to hold serious office in Her Majesty's government is utterly beyond me. The dotty old crank). If this reading of events on Haifa Street emerges as an item of received wisdom (at least up to the level of the NRO Corner) over the next few weeks I will be very, very disappointed. Though far from entirely surprised.

Forgive me, I've been drinking and I'm in a filthy mood. But (unlike some of my pronouncements in a state of irritability or... er... mild tipsiness) I expect to feel entirely correct when I wake up tomorrow morning. If this post is still here for you to read I was clearly correct in my predictions!

* I fear that on the basis of two of my contributions to this site over its very short existance, the impression may be gained that I have it in for the Belmont Club. I don't. I just happen to think that two of his recent items are notably flawed.


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