Italy you disappoint me! I love all things Italian, the place, the food, the culture, design, cars and my wife and family who are Sicilian and Northern Italian....HOWEVER...what the hell are they thinking paying ransoms for hostages in Iraq? Nothing like fanning a fire! I guess now they're rethinking this idiotic strategy! Interesting how the press omits that the former Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena is a communist journalist sympathetic to anyone against the US efforts in Iraq. She put herself in harms way socializing with insurgents and after cash was paid for her release her Italian government agent driver got himself killed and her injured with his driving.....an investigation is appropriate but conspiracy theories are a joke.
Update: My dad pointed me to today's WSJ and a piece by it's editorial board who agrees with me..it's a subscription only view so I have put it here:
Rome adopts a policy of deliberately aiding terrorism.
Americans join Italians in mourning the death of Italian secret service officer Nicola Calipari, whose funeral was held in Rome on Monday. Agent Calipari died a hero last Friday, reportedly using his body to shield freed journalist/hostage Giuliana Sgrena from gunfire as their car approached American troops near Baghdad Airport. So perhaps Ms. Sgrena will also shed a tear for the Americans and Iraqis who will die because of the ransom that was paid for her release.
So far, all the world's moral anger has focused on the claim that U.S. soldiers were reckless, or even tried to "assassinate" her, as Ms. Sgrena's newspaper, the communist Il Manifesto, put it. But her claims in some interviews that her car was moving slowly and cautiously are contradicted by, well, Ms. Sgrena.
Her own account of the fateful journey, published Sunday, has them traveling so fast they were "losing control" and laughing about what an irony it would be if they had an accident after all that had happened. In other words, they probably looked like a suicide car bomber to a scared American solider who had to make a split-second decision at night. (The military declines to give figures on car bombs specifically for operational security reasons. But "explosive devices" of various kinds are by far the leading killers in Iraq, accounting for close to half of all deaths from hostile fire, and nearly twice as many as gunshot wounds.)
Arguably far more reckless was Italy's decision to pay ransom--reportedly of $6 million or more--to secure her release. Italy is also believed to have paid ransom for the release of two aid workers taken captive last year. The Italians know the U.S. opposes the policy, which may be why Ms. Sgrena's transfer to the airport was not sufficiently coordinated with U.S. forces.
Not only does paying ransom encourage more kidnapping--of Italians especially--it also puts money in the hands of the enemy in a country where $40 buys an automatic rifle and $200 an attack on U.S. forces. The shooting of a speeding car at a military checkpoint in a war zone is an unintentional tragedy, but the paying of ransom amounts to a policy of deliberately aiding terrorists.