Roger L. Simon

What Silvio Knows

Reading between the lines… and not that far between at that… of this Times Online report about the Sgrena Affair (No call for US apology: Berlusconi), it doesn’t take the proverbial rocket scientist to realize that the US is not to blame in this one. Otherwise, why would the Italian leader take such a risk in his own country?

Silvio Berlusconi has not demanded that the United States apologises for the death of an Italian agent in Iraq or called for the soldiers involved in the killing to be punished.

Addressing the Italian parliament today on a report into the death of Nicola Calipari during a hostage rescue, the prime minister said American troops bore some responsibility for the death.

The some responsibility seems to be a sop to local opinion because Berlusconi goes further.

“I want to dispel any possible confusion: there is no link between the killing of Calipari and our country’s mission in Iraq,” he said. Any withdrawal of Italy’s 3,000 troops from Iraq will be done “in consultation” with the allies.

“The withdrawal of troops will be gradual and will take place when the situation in Iraq has normalised. Calling today for everybody to go home would be irresponsible and incomprehensible.”

Not that it will matter to the propagandists like Ms. Sgrena herself, but I think we can declare this case closed.