Neo-Con Flack Whacked
[Some Classic HAC. This was originally posted to this blog on August 3, 2005. - HAC]
Yesterday a "free lance journalist" from New York City named Steven Vincent was abducted from a currency exchange shop in Basra, Iraq, allegedly by five men in a police car. Snatched up into the car along with him was his female interpreter, an Iraqi girl named Noor Teidis whom Vincent referred to on his blog as "Layla."
Vincent's bullet-riddled body was found dumped into a ditch outside Basra a short while later, and the girl was shot and left for dead as well. She is in the hospital, or whatever they still have in Basra that passes for a hospital under the Anglo-American occupation. The usual howls among the media about the poor martyred journalist are already wafting their way up to the heavens.
Well, I actually read some of Vincent's acclaimed Red Zone Blog last night, and frankly I'm amazed that he lasted as long as he did.
In the first place, to give the poor dumb bastard his due, Vincent was a good reporter. Parts of his articles in the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor were interesting. He exposed corruption and the infiltration of the Shi'ite religious parties into the occupation government authorities and the Iraqi police. Okay, this is hardly news. What? Corruption in the Middle East? Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East? I'm shocked, Carruthers, shocked, I tell you! And yet Vincent plowed on like a bull in a China shop, and he did so not from some nice air-conditioned trailer in the Green Zone but from out in the Red Zone on the street, hence the title of his blog.
Vincent also exposed the Geramsha and Halaf, two Mafia-like criminal tribes running protection rackets, waterfront rip-offs, and other organized crime in the port city of Basra. There are some who would call this behavior courageous. I personally think it crossed the line from courage into blind stupidity and pure American arrogance, but hey, it was his life.
But this was not just some Jimmy Olsen type willing to lay his ass on the line for a story. Vincent was more than that, and worse than that. The man was a an open and unabashed, raging neo-con, and a cheerleader for the vile and illegal American occupation of Iraq. He said flat out in his columns "American values are just better," and never once questioned Jug-Ears' mental or leadership capacities, or questioned Amurrica's right to go into someone else's country, steal their oil, and civilize the native chappies at the point of a gun.
He was also a religious bigot. I don't know if Steven Vincent was a Christian religious rightist, but he clearly had issues with Islam. He seems to have gone to Iraq specifically for the purpose of writing and publishing every insulting, belittling, demeaning thing he could say about Islam. To him, any Muslim who actually believed in his religion was a "turban" and by definition incompetent, vicious, and stupid. He made fun of Iraqi men, insulted and belittled them in almost every paragraph, while simultaneously making his unabashed admiration and longing for them dusky-eyed Arab beauties manifest.
Vincent went so far in his lust for Arab females that he furthermore outraged Muslim morality by his practice of swanning around Basra in the company of an unmarried Iraqi woman, who was at least partially unveiled some of the time, according to his accounts of his daily life on his arrogant and grating blog. He took this girl Layla into bars in the Green Zone where there was mixed company (including the loathed female soldiers whose very presence is an insult to the entire Middle Eastern culture) and where alcohol was served. Jesus Christ, could he have spat in those people's faces any worse? Why didn't he just piss in a mosque while he was at it?
The dumb-ass simply didn't seem to be able to wrap his mind around the fact that not everybody on earth grew up on MTV, Sex in the City, and Married with Children. Not everybody on earth was raised ogling Kelly Bundy's jiggly nubile young bod. There are some people remaining on the face of this earth who have not yet surrendered to Ronald McDonald culture and who actually insist on enforcing some kind of behavioral standards and decorum on women, which I know is a hard concept for pussy-whipped American men to comprehend, but there it is.
Over there, when Girls Behave Badly they actually get punished, again a concept which I know Americans have great difficulty in grasping. As I keep trying to tell these slack-jawed, Fox News-staring morons over here, not everybody in the world is ready to roll over and play dead yet and put up a Wal-Mart on the site of their ancient temples to their "false" gods.
Steven Vincent had the guts (or stupidity) to risk his own life for what he believed in, however pernicious and stupid and thoroughly wrong his beliefs. I'm rather surprised he wasn't capable of looking around the streets of Basra and noticing all those characters lounging in the corners with AK-47s and saying to himself, "Hey, Toto, we're not in Kansas any more," but apparently the penny never dropped.
Steven Vincent was typically American in his hubris, and that hubris killed him. Apparently Vincent thought he could get away with insulting, humiliating, and threatening the livelihoods of people in whose land he had not one bit of business, and still strut around Basra every day with his Iraqi "whore" (for thus she was viewed by her countrymen) with complete immunity.
Vincent had the right to risk his own life like that, call it courage or ignorant American arrogance as you will. He didn't have the right to risk the life of that Iraqi girl along with his own. He should have known better and if his regard for Iraqi women was so high, then he shouldn't have dragged one down with him. Even if she survives, Layla is now marked forever and ruined as a collaborator and prostitute, regardless of whatever their relationship really was. She's collateral damage. That's what Americans leave behind throughout the world, including the ones like Steven Vincent who carry a camera instead of a gun.