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Monday, November 22, 2004
STRIKE THREE FOR PENDERGAST?
The Boston Globe today publishes yet a third letter
the facts in former Mass
Pike general counsel Peter
Pendergast's op-ed piece of
November 15 - this time from someone Pendergast had
Jack Lemley, described by
Pendergast as "the legendary 'Chunnel' construction manager" who
would have been brought in to oversee the Big Dig back in 2001 if it
were not for then-governor Jane Swift, writes
that he had never been offered the position. He adds that, in his
view, the Big Dig tunnel is safe.
Last week Pendergast
on NECN's NewsNight to discuss his allegations. (Scroll down
to "Boston Globe Unveils Further Big Dig Problems.") When pressed by
co-host Jim Braude as to why Swift wanted to quash the reforms being
pushed by Pendergast, Pike board member Jordan Levy, and former board
member Christy Mihos, Pendergast replied, "Bechtel was apparently one
of Jane Swift's constituents." (That's a reference to Bechtel/Parsons
Brinckerhoff, the engineering combine that's overseeing construction
- or perhaps actually not overseeing it.)
Meanwhile, Globe ombudsman
Christine Chindlund today writes about "The
Art of Writing Headlines"
because, she says, she's currently "between controversies." Okay,
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt - the controversy over
Pendergast's op-ed is still playing out. Chinlund is scheduled to
write again for the December 6 issue. The Pendergast column - how
much of it is true, how much isn't, what sort of editing it went
through - would be an excellent topic.
KEVIN SITES ON THE FALLUJAH
is the weblog entry from NBC News cameraman Kevin Sites to which the
New York Times devotes this
story today. Sites's
account is harrowing. Notable is his belief - conviction would be too
strong a word, since he's wrestling with it in his own conscience -
that despite the terrifying, chaotic environment in which the US
marines found themselves, the marine who allegedly shot the wounded
Iraqi was nevertheless out of bounds.
Sites's entry is must reading in
full, but here's a passage on how he dealt with his own dilemma
regarding what to do with his tape:
I knew NBC would be
responsible with the footage. But there were complications. We
were part of a video "pool" in Falluja, and that obligated us to
share all of our footage with other networks. I had no idea how
our other "pool" partners might use the footage. I considered not
feeding the tape to the pool - or even, for a moment, destroying
it. But that thought created the same pit in my stomach that
witnessing the shooting had. It felt wrong. Hiding this wouldn't
make it go away. There were other people in that room. What
happened in that mosque would eventually come out. I would be
faced with the fact that I had betrayed truth as well as a life
supposedly spent in pursuit of it.
But to think this through is one
thing; to reach moral judgments about the young marine is another.
Sites writes that the marine seemed horrified by what he'd done
within moments of the shooting. For context, read Dexter
Filkins's heart-stopping account
in yesterday's Times about urban combat in
Fallujah. As I wrote last week, I can't imagine that this sort of thing doesn't go on all the time.
Also, Slate last week
published an excellent
analysis by two military
veterans on whether the marine actually committed a war crime. It's
not an easy call, according to Phillip Carter and Owen West; for one
thing, it depends on whether the dead Iraqi should have been
considered an American prisoner, and that's something that could be
argued either way. Carter and West also point out how repulsive it is
to draw any sort of moral comparison between the marine's
instantaneous reaction to an ambiguous, potentially deadly situation
and the terrorists who cold-bloodedly executed Margaret Hassan.
I don't know where this is going,
but I do know this: the marine's actions should be judged strictly on
their own merits, and not on the fact that Sites's footage has
inflamed some in the Arab world. It's not hard to understand why the
marine did what he did. On the other hand, marines undergo rigorous
training aimed at preventing this sort of thing from
Perhaps he should be given
extensive counseling and then be quietly discharged, with some
follow-up to make sure he's getting on with his life. Based on what
we know so far, that's the fairest solution I can think of at the
I'd suggest counseling for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as well, but I'm sure it's too late for it to do any good.
posted at 10:27 AM |
Re The ShootingFor your consideration, I offer few (more) links regarding the shooting (was there only one in Fallujah?), the first having a military explanation of why it happens like that, and the others some extra context -- what happened before and after.
Colt's Winds of War had a link introduced as "The latest controversy involves a US Marine shooting an unarmed man in the head. A former Navy SEAL explains the possible motive" titled They're called security rounds.
The Command Post reports Marines shoot another Insurgent "Playing Dead" linking an Australian news report. The Ausies seem to get quite a bit more detail than our media? TCP has a number of other "in the field" reports from Fallujah linked.
TCP also notes that Oliver North got a longer version of the Mosque shootings, with the before and after details of who shot who, found what, and what the other wounded did and what happened to the other wounded after the putative faker was killed.
-- Bill R.
And another from Belmont Club, alleging AP is twisting Sites' words to some ulterior purpose.
-- Bill R.
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Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.