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Whenever reading a published report from the front I always wonder where the work of the reporter ends and that of the editor begins. By that same token, I'm never certain who to blame for any part of a story I might find offensive or recognize as patently false.
Many media types fault blogs for that "lack of an editor". I find it a strong point. Don't like what you read here? I'm responsible for it - your disagreement is with me. I even provide you the forum to do so. MSM stories, on the other hand, are a vague "responsibility free" zone - witness RatherGate for an excellent example. Dan-o's got deniability - plausible or not - and can hide behind any number of scapegoats; there are enough layers of people involved in that fraud to offer even those who can't hide a perfect opportunity to shrug and deny.
That said, I can't help but admire a reporter like Kevin Sites, who has been blogging off and on from Iraq since the invasion. Here are his latest posts - photos and a report from the streets of Fallujah.
If you haven't visited his blog before, set aside a bit of time to wander the archives, you'll be glad you did.
Update: Damn. Wasn?t aware of this story when I first posted this entry. Bizarre timing incident, to say the least.
Update 2: Glenn Reynolds notes the story sounds familiar?
Update 3: For those accusing Sites of various anti-American crimes I offer the same admonition I'd give to those who accuse the young Marine of atrocities: "You weren't there."
Here's Site's quote on the incident:
"I have witnessed the marines behaving as a disciplined and professional force throughout this offensive. In this particular case, it certainly was a confusing situation to say the least."
Greyhawk - I've been to Kevin's site many times and he does have great photo's. What I don't understand is his video of the current situation with the Marine who killed one of the terrorists in the mosque. Seems to me that Kevin played right in to the hands of the MSM with Abu Gharib type video and supplied AlJezeera (sp?) with fodder to rail the Coalition. Wouldn't reporting the incident with the upper eschelon have been enough? I saw a posting at A Star is Born (think)who said until she saw the Abu Gharib info she was very grateful to the Coalition. Now she isn't. This worries me. What do you think?Posted by Toni at November 16, 2004 01:59 PM
I've got the same question as Toni. I saw Sites' report on NBC last night and asked, "What, or whose, purpose does this serve?" I'm seriously seeking an explanation from those more in the know that myself.Posted by Salt Lick at November 16, 2004 04:38 PM
The "civilans" were given months of warning to leave. Everone that stayed has to be assumed to be someone who is either a butcher or fully supports the butchers. A man with six rounds in him cans till squeeze the triger of a 45. If his hands are not up you have to assume the worst. Its his life or yours. Or as it was 38 years ago my life or his - I never took more than a nosecend to figure the answer. Do what you are told or die! "War is HEll!"Posted by Rod Stanton at November 16, 2004 07:41 PM
Kevin Sites has been digging for ammo to use against the US military for a long time. Look at the totality of his reportage from Iraq. He misses no opportunity to emphasize anything that places the military in a bad light. He clearly knew what the global ramifications of doing this were. He has more concern for his television career than doing the just or right thing by this Marine. It is incomprehensible that these soldiers are responsible for protecting Sites in this chaotic environment. I only hope none of them will ever have to stick their necks out for his safety. His reporting is consistently biased against US military actions in Iraq, and he is using the bravery of these soldiers in a problematic situation for his own ratings.
He is not fit to walk among them.Posted by Jordan at November 17, 2004 01:50 AM
O'Rielly was all over this tonight. He is furious that anybody is even considering that the soldier did anything wrong. O'Rielly is not a bad guy to have on your side in a fight!..I had the same reaction as the post above about this Kevin guy when I saw his report last night. I remembered him from Afghanistan way back when we first went there. I think he was doing something freelance or for Nat Geographic, maybe. Anyway, he did have a supercilious and quite continental thing going even then.Last night in one of the blogs I read, somebody said they had googled K.S.'s name and come up with bunches of his work that consistently showed a leftish slant. Don't know for sure about that.Don't worry, though: Everybody will pitch a fit if our guy gets in trouble for killing the enemy.Posted by zoomlens at November 17, 2004 06:42 AM
What matters, and what can't be seen in the video, is the intent of the young Marine. If he thought (and if it was reasonable for him to so believe) that the man he shot was feigning injury to allow an attack on the Marines, then his actions may be found to be justified as self-defense, even if he was wrong about the nature of the threat. That's why understanding the context in which the Marine had to make a split second decision is so vital and why an investigation should be conducted. It's wrong to jump to any conclusions too soon.
Among the matters that will be considered by the investigators is the previous use by the enemy of feigned injury or surrender in violation of the laws of war.
Mr. Sites just happened to be there. Blaming him is inappropriate. My initial viewing of his video tends to support his conclusion that the situation was as confusing as he states in the quote above. In fact, his "interview" with another live Insurgent in the same room who was not shot tends to prove that the Marines were not willy nilly shooting prisoners and were maintaining discipline. However, more information is needed to draw any conclusions out of this situation and that's why an investigation is appropriate..Posted by EagleSpeak at November 17, 2004 11:30 AM
EagleSpeak- I probably wouldn't have too much of a problem with your assertion that "Mr. Sites just happened to be there" if it wasn't for this charming little entry in Mr. Site's blog:
"So in some ways, embedded in this unit, I begin to feel I've betrayed the people that depend on me to be skeptical; to question the dominant powers and institutions of my nation and the actions it undertakes in the name of its citizens. I am not a military or American cheerleader, not a mouthpiece signed on to some institutional agenda whether I believe in it or not. I am here to ask the hard questions of the people who make the hardest decisions; ones that result in people dying or people being killed. I must remember as one journalist advised, "write in your notepad every day 'I am not one of them.'"
How about this little quote from the Falluja battle:
"The Marines know they are being hunted. Boxed from the east and the west in a treacherous kill zone by an enemy they can feel -- but can't see. Their superior firepower is checked by the insurgent's knowledge of the city -- their cunning in using blind alleyways and the crooks and crannies of buildings to pick off the Marines."
Evidently, Mr. Sites feels it's his responsibility to be the defender of truth, justice and the American Way, as *he* sees it of course. Never mind that that vision seems to be heavily tainted with the typical MSM leftist BS. As I posted somewhere else, Ernie Pyle is probably spinning in his grave over these
Yes, have a look at Sites' blog and read -- in its entirety -- the latest entry that Bucky Katt mentions.
Also note the title of Sites' archives -- "Dispatches from a life in conflict." Does it strike anyone else as odd that the emphasis is on Sites' life? In other words, he could have headed his archives "Dispatches from the Front," or "With the Troops," or "Taking down Terrorism," but he chose to make his life the center of gravity. Is what's happening in Fallujah all about Kevin Sites? Just wondering.Posted by Salt Lick at November 18, 2004 07:50 PM
Remember, Kevin Sites was the only person that was in that mosque when the first unit went in, and when the secon unit went in, when the shooting occurred. He entered, safely behind a big hulking Marine (whom he paid back with a nice close up of the guy's name on the backpack) and is heard saying "these are the wounded that were never picked up." I wish he was as solicitous of the safety of our soldiers as he is for his own, and that of the enemy.
Yes, he makes the reasonable sounding statement that the soldiers have been disciplined. This, he knows, only serves to highlight that this particular incident is out of character and worthy of prosecution.
In Kevin's blogs, he is obviously confused about exactly what his role and loyalties should be as an embed. He should have stood back and allowed the other soldiers there to handle the situation. It was not his place to insert himself into the chain of command by suggesting to superior officers that they might want to investigate the footage. He got things rolling in a certain direction, which is in keeping with the tenor of his previous reporting.
Sites/NBC released the footage worldwide, which was run unedited, with the soldiers name not blocked out, by Al Jazeera. Why?
I hope the Marines in whatever unit he is embedded in know his MO, and his lofty goals for his journalistic career. He is a danger to every soldier within a camera shot's distance away from him.
The fact that Sites allowed this footage out, which almost seems a deliberate attempt to get this Marine in trouble, knowing what effect this snapshot in time would have globally, tells me all I need to know about his objectives. If anyone's actions should be scrutinized, criticized and viewed through a microscope, it is his.