Roger L. Simon

The Case of the Big Trunk

Okay, that’s not a great title (a little too Agatha Christie-ish or is it Nancy Drew?) but I had to think of one in a hurry to answer the challenge of Power Line’s Big Trunk that I give my mystery writer’s analysis of the strange doings in Rome today.

As most news junkies know, Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena was wounded by American troops after release by her Islamist kidnappers in Iraq. Now what facts do we have to examine in this case as of now? Not many, although more may be forthcoming. On the face of it, it would seem unlikely that the Americans would target this woman. What possible use would there be in that? The anti-American propaganda value, especially in her native Italy, would be obvious. And we are seeing it now. Moreover, were this unlikely scenario actually true, why would the Americans have done such a lousy job, allowing her to survive? None of this makes sense.

The only clue I see so far is this warning from her captors, reported by Sgrena herself in this article by the Associated Press:

Suddenly, she said, she remembered her captors’ words, when they warned her “to be careful because the Americans don’t want you to return.”

Really? Why? Just because she might say something favorable about the “insurgents”? This would hardly be amazing from a reporter for the communist Il Manifesto where scarcely a good word has been said about America since the fall of Mussolini. It would barely be news.

But how about this? Suppose it was the “insurgents” themselves, through a cut-out obviously, who alerted the Americans to Sgrena and her protectors, describing their car as something other than it was — a suicide bomber, perhaps, or some other possible terrorist-related vehicle. Of course, their motivation would have been to make the Americans look bad, no matter what resulted. Sgrena and the others would just have been collateral damage. And that, indeed, is what has happened.

Of course, this is just a plot by a mystery writer. And not even a particularly good one.