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American Journalist Killed in Iraq. Not a headline I ever wanted to see. But I saw it today, and then I saw the name.
I never met him. Never even emailed him. Too late now.
Journalist? Would he have welcomed that description?
What an unlikely character. A New York art critic on September 11th.
My trips to Iraq were a complicated response to 9/11. As I wrote in my book, I stood that morning on my rooftop on Manhattan's Lower East Side and watched United Airlines Flight 175 fly into the World Trade Center. That was the initial shock. Afterwards came a sense of mourning as people all over Manhattan created makeshift shrines of candles and plastered bus stops with photocopied images of the "missing" (for we could not yet admit to ourselves that the 9/11 victims were dead). After that, fear: when was Al Qaeda coming back? What would they do next? The unspoken undercurrent of every conversation in New York in the months following 9/11 was an acknowledgement that we might perish in some terrorist catastrophe. Some people - including my wife and I - built bomb-shelter-like refuges in our basements, as if this were the Cuban Missile Crisis all over again.That's Steven from an interview with blogger Jeff Harrell. You can also read an interview from Front Page Magazine here, and one from Arthur Chrenkoff here.
But you can only experience fear for so long; eventually, you want to fight back. How dare these bearded maniacs threaten all that we value and hold dear! My country was at war, and I wanted to participate in the conflict - as a patriot, and as someone seeking a way to strike back against the terrorists. But when the United States. invaded Afghanistan, I dithered, unsure of how to make the transition from art journalism to combat journalism. At the same time, though, I felt the pressure of events - history was in the making, huge forces were locked in life and death issues that would change the course of the world. Who wouldn't want to be part of that? When my artist friend Steve Mumford left New York for Iraq in April 2003, I knew I had to either act on my "moral fervor" or regret my timidity for the rest of my life. Fortunately I acted, traveling to Iraq in the fall of 2003, and the winter-spring of 2004.
This death, and the 1700 plus that precede this horrible night, is but another trophy for Bush. He asked those naughty insurgents to BRING IT ON.How to respond to such? I say like this:
These deaths, the blood, is splattered all over the White House.
To the Vincent family, I am sorry you will have to endure such public pain for such a senseless loss.
Posted by: Pamela | August 3, 2005 03:08 AM
At a time like this I can't help but think about the "pack of lies" that were foisted off on the American people to justify our preemptive invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, some media colleagues of the late Mr. Vincent were complicit in this deception. With a little luck we may eventually find out the real motivations of those who got us into this mess.
All of us, even those who opposed the war, share the pain and loss of the Vincent Family.
Posted by: Ed | August 3, 2005 10:59 AM
The Left. Hopeless. Shameful. History will record that the U.S. could have saved tremendous loss of life and treasure had we liberated Iraqi with more troops and a proper "after-victory" plan. But the chronicles will also show that America could have saved time, money and--most especially, lives--had the Left contributed its valuable resources to the liberation effort as well. Imagine if feminists, labor leaders, environmentalists, civil rights activists, artists and the media had joined in the struggle instead of sitting on the sidelines--or worse, assisting the fascists? Imagine if the clarion cry of freedom and democracy had arisen from a unified progressive front consisting of conservatives and liberals? Just as we've learned how much succor the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong took from the anti-war protesters of the 1960s, we will someday learn how the parochial, small-minded, narrow-souled opposition to the establishment of democracy in Iraq stiffen the fascist backbone of the "insurgency." But of course, the Michael Moores, Robert Fisks, George Galloways, Ted Kennedys and innumerable Hollywood celebrities and academics of this world will not care--they will always find reporters, voters, fans and tenure committees willing to dull the sting of conscience.Those aren't my words though - they were written by Steven Vincent.
Others may try to redefine him now, make him into something he wasn't. That's why that "journalist" sobriquet troubled me a bit when I first saw it. It seemed like another example of just that...
I "found" Steven Vincent on Chester's blog while I was still in Iraq. I'd also seen him mentioned at Chrenkoff's. But I was truly surprised to find he'd gone back for his third trip to Iraq this past spring, and I linked him when he wrote and did whatever else I could to bring attention to his efforts. He was The Man.
Got this email just last week. It's not the first such, just the latest:
On 7/28/05, xxxxxx email@example.com wrote:A couple days later I was surprised to find Steven Vincent's name on his now-infamous NY Times story on Basra. But beyond his blog his most frequent appearances were at National Review - a fact I've yet to see noted in the media coverage of his passing. Now he's a freelance journalist who had a piece in the New York Times.
Hey, thanks for posting the links for Michael Yon's blog?not sure I would have found it otherwise. It's been very useful to me, and now I'm on the hunt for other in-Iraq bloggers. I seem to recall you posted a 'best of' military bloggers" list a while back, but can't seem to find it with your search tool. Who in-country would you suggest I keep current on?
Many thanks for your assistance?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn Reynolds"
To: "xxxxxx" firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 11:44 PM
Subject: Re: recommended warblogs?
I strongly recommend faces from the front: http://facesfromthefront.com . But the go-to milblog guy is Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette. I'm copying him on this email and I'm sure he can help you.
----- Original Message -----
To: email@example.com; "xxxxxx" firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: Re: recommended warblogs?
Another non-military, independent source here http://spencepublishing.typepad.com/in_the_red_zone/. Steve Vincent isn't embedded with the troops and spends even more time with the locals than Yon.
Here's a screen capture of the site meter for "In The Red Zone" this month:
Neither I nor NRO or the NY Times could get his words read by as many people as the bastards who killed him did today.
Here's how he began all his blog posts from Iraq:
Dear Lisa,They were letters home.
For now I'm going to offer you a final quote from Steven Vincent, and another reason that the "journalist" tag didn't seem quite right when I first saw it:
Bloggers. I can't imagine how the liberation of Iraq would have progressed without the hundreds, the thousands, of blogs that cut through the anti-war bias of the MSM. By giving a voice to people and viewpoints which otherwise would have gone silent, bloggers helped articulate the cause of democracy and civil rights that lies at the base of this conflict. Which make me wonder: how would bloggers have affected the course of Vietnam War?But, in spite of that quote, today I realized that "journalist" was exactly the right description for Steven Vincent. It's just that it's the wrong description for many who would actually claim it for themselves.
You see, I realized today that outside the "Green Zone", away from the protection of US forces, there was one American journalist in Iraq. He was killed, and then there were none.
I wrote a short post about Steven Vincent on my blog. I had the good fortune to meet him last November and talk to him about the liberation and reconstruction of Iraq.
He was a very impressive person.
I really hope his murderers will end up regretting this.Posted by Matthew Goggins at August 3, 2005 11:49 PM
Before you leap to conclusions have you considered the fact that he wrote about police corruption just before he was killed.
So who is to say that he was murdered not by the insurgency but by the Iraqi Police?Posted by sonic at August 4, 2005 12:17 AM
Steven Vincent represents the type of man I think of when I think of american courage. The type of courage that liberated Europe twice in the last century, and liberated much of the world from communist tyranny. I suppose we will also have america to thank when this islamist tyranny is finally defeated as well.
Steven Vincent puts the world of journalists to shame. He was not one of them. He was much more than they could ever be.Posted by Rene Bouchard at August 4, 2005 01:00 AM
I had only vaguely remembered the name, but after following the links, realised I had read him many times. Simple, clear statements. Simple, unashamed regard for reporting what he saw. Simple, unambiguous understanding of the moral questions involved in the liberation of Iraq. Simple, practical understandings of the real choices confronting America.
No wonder people are questioning whether he was a "journalist."Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at August 4, 2005 01:21 AM
In response to sonic ...
And? That's your *theory*? Duh.
Considering that it's clear that in some cases the police ARE insurgents, and they are the people most likely to have a motive for killing him, I'd say that your non sequitur says more about your analytical acumen than anything else.Posted by Mog at August 4, 2005 03:16 AM
Well Mog he was taken away in a police car it's pretty likely.
And as for the police baing insurgents, now I would watch that line as surely they are the guys you are relying on to take over from your troops.
Not looking good is it...Posted by sonic at August 4, 2005 04:03 AM
Thanks for the post. I have been reading Mr. Vincent's work for some time on NRO. This is truly a shame.Posted by WT at August 4, 2005 04:29 AM
Oh Greyhawk. You did him proud. What a horrible, horrible loss.Posted by Cassandra at August 4, 2005 12:22 PM
Steven Vincent's reporting was a service to America. To bad more journalist are not like him. Maybe it's outlandish, but I think that someone should nominate him for the Presidental Medal of Freedom. (I'm not sure what the process is for this.) He deserves to be honored for paying the ulitmate price to publish the truth.Posted by Paula Haddock at August 4, 2005 04:01 PM
Sonic, do we have to keep our words to under six letters for you to understand? He was reporting on Al-Sadr insurgents infiltrating the police! Think an infiltrated thug MIGHT want to put a stop to such reports? Please take your grey matter out of the jar and insert it between your ears.
Steven was a real loss; continue to take the fight to the thugs is the best way to honor him.Posted by Mike O at August 4, 2005 11:23 PM
Stephen's blogs and his fate show all too well that the West and (Middle) East will never meet. If they were insurgents or police doesn't matter because they are both bred in a ciilization dripping of blood where everything is about eating or being eaten. You may temporarily "make friends" with a group that for the moment are the underdogs (in this case the Shia's of Iraq), but once their goal is reached or if you stand between them and their goal you're dead. Peaceful coexistence with Islam is not possible anywhere in the world. That's what the war is all about.Posted by Charles McEwan at August 13, 2005 08:23 PM
ANY ONE THAT FINDS ANY GOOD IN gw'S WAR HAS HIS HEAD SREWED ON WRONG. OVER 1800 DEAD OVER 18000
WOUNDED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT IRAQI'S KILLED OR WOUNDED. BILLLIONS SPENT FOR
gw'S WAR. WAKE YOU HAVE BEEN TAKEN FOR A RIDE
TO NOWERE FOR NOTHING.
Wow STAFF. That was a remarkable post. Do you have a cue card the liberalis gave you to read from? Next time, check your capslock.Posted by sirkut at November 4, 2005 06:16 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(13) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)