Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  Steven Vincent, RIP
On Monday I said, "How much 'more likely to torture' do you really think we can make them?" and gave examples of the heinous acts of our enemies.

Want another example? Tuesday evening, freelance reporter Steven Vincent, whose work has appeared in National Review Online, Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times, was abducted on a Basra street. Vincent was murdered and his female translator shot. What was his crime?

Stephen Vincent

According to National Review's Michael Ledeen, "His crime was to have written about the fanatics [Sadrist thugs (that is to say, the Iranian-sponsored terrorists)in Basra,] who are attempting to create a mini-islamic republic in the south, to the shameful indifference of the British forces and Coalition commanders, and the so-called Left in this country and Europe."

Vincent was an eyewitness to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York. He travelled to Iraq twice since then, Paying his own expenses and according to his publishers, "traveling without security or official connections, living by his wits." His travels resulted in a book, "In the Red Zone: A Journey into the Soul of Iraq," which NR's Michael Rubin called "the most accurate portrayal of the issues facing ordinary Iraqis. While reporters from major newspapers had fixers do their work and more often than not, just telephoned Iraqi politicians and anonymous American diplomats, Vincent got out and about to holistically explore the entire Iraq endeavor, from the bottom up. His vignettes offer the best English-language understanding of Iraq available. His work was far and away the best out there." The book was dedicated to those who were murdered on 9/11.

NR's Kathryn Jean Lopez writes, "Vincent was a brave man who wanted to tell the truth, despite the deadly risks. That is noble, important work. We would not know about the good that men and women do — courageous Iraqis, Americans, and other members of the Coalition in this case — without good men like Steven Vincent willing to find out about it in the first place, on frontlines crawling with evildoers. And although evil cannot tolerate being outted, freedom and justice rely on it."

A few quotes from Vincent's work:
On Iraqi attitudes toward the power shortage: "'s always easier to sit in the dark in an un-air conditioned room and curse America."

"Civil libertarians may squirm, but many Iraqis view respect for the police and army as fundamental to nurturing a democratic spirit. (Once upon a time, most Americans did too, before the era of "pigs" and "baby-killers.")
"I don't mean to paint a bleak picture of Basra or its residents. Well, maybe I do. It's painful to watch so many people persist in self-defeating behavior, especially considering that with its potential revenues from oil, agriculture, and tourism, Basra could become the next Bahrain, Dubai, or, for all we know, Orlando.
" 'Liberation brought us freedom of the press,' an Iraqi journalist once told me. 'And as long as you don't probe into matters like civic corruption, organized crime, or the religious parties, you're free not to be killed.' "
"And that's the way it is. For every step responsible Basrans move forward — a gradually improving security situation, glimmers of economic development, some political leaders who are beginning to understand they must provide benefits for their constituents — irresponsible, ignorant, and frequently violent elements drag the city backwards. A race, or competition, exists between the forces of enlightened synergy and progress and traumatized entropy and decay."

And a bit of premonition: "I can no longer wander the streets, take a cab, or dine in restaurants for fear of being spotted as a foreigner: Kidnapping, by criminal gangs or terrorists, remains a lucrative business. Instead, for safety’s sake, I’m tied to my hotel, dependent on expensive drivers, unable to go anywhere without Iraqi escort. 'You really shouldn’t be here at all,' a British-embassy official warned me."
Of the 9/11 attacks, Vincent wrote, "I stood that morning on the roof of my building in lower Manhattan and watched United Airlines Flight 175 strike the south tower of the World Trade Center. At that moment, I realized my country was at war -- because of the 1993 attack on the Trade Center, I figured our enemy was Islamic terrorism -- and I wanted to do my part in the conflict. I'm too old to enlist in the armed services, so I decided to put my writing talents to use."

Rest in peace, Steven Vincent. Thank you for doing well a job that must be done. May other brave and truthful men fill the gap your murderers have left. May God bless and comfort Steven Vincent's wife.

You can find links to more of Vincent's work here. Freedom’s Reporter
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Location: alexandria, Virginia, United States

Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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