Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A Terrible Day

I awoke this morning only to find out two horrible pieces of news from Iraq:

-In Haditha, 14 Marines and an Iraqi translator were killed in a terrorist IED attack. Haditha, in the western Euphrates river valley, sits astride one of the major routes along which jihadists smuggle men and material into the country. Twenty Marines have now been killed there in the last two days. Closing these routes is a vital task, but as today's events show, it will be difficult and costly. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and comrades of the fallen Marines.

-Steven Vincent, the freelance journalist and author of In the Red Zone, was murdered last night in the Iraqi city of Basra. I never met Steven, nor corresponded with him directly, but I feel like I got to know him somewhat through his writings. His recent reporting from Basra was brilliant, illustrating both the potential and the pitfalls inherent in post-Saddam Iraq. In particular, Steven exposed the growing and disturbing role of extreme Shia religious parties in Basra, and how this threatens both the rights of women, and Iraq's democratic prospects.

Steven was a brave man and terrific writer, and he will be missed terribly. Once again, I can only offer my condolences to his loved ones, and hope that the bastards who murdered him are brought to justice.

Steven's Iraqi translator was seriously wounded in the attack, and I extend her my hopes and prayers for a full recovery.


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