Monday, November 21, 2005

The Blood Just Won't Come Off Sites's Hands

Nothing has angered me more than Kevin Sites's cheap-shot reporting of the shooting of the terrorist in the mosque during Operation Phantom Fury (Fallujah II, November 2004). Several times now Sites has tried to explain himself while everyone can plainly see what kind of person he is. Sites was willing to play judge and jury against a Marine in the middle of a bloody battle. He sold his soul for his 15 minutes of fame.

Now Sites is working for Yahoo with his "Hotzone" and again tries to wash the blood from his hands by returning to Fallujah one year later to talk about ... yeah ... you guessed it ... HIMSELF. The comments are pouring in fast and furious, the majority of them being, to use Sites's phrase, "brutally honest." Commenter Noldsy writes:
I find it ironic that you refer to the marines you are now with as "your unit" when I am certain that they would greatly prefer you were nowhere near them. You showed them just how much a part of their unit you were last year with the 3/1 when you allowed your video to be "taken out of context" as you put it. It sounded to me -- and I got a first hand account from a marine who was there and knew you -- that you hightailed it home just as soon as you'd captured your sensationalized mosque story. You were not there to support or report the truth. You were looking for your one big story, and the shooting in the mosque was your perfect opportunity. You allowed the story to be used as it was -- possibly pitched it that way. You betrayed the 3/1, our country and yourself.
Commenter Alisa takes Sites's article apart point by point:
First, you describe a Marine reading his Bible and discussing it with a fellow Marine. Do you use that conversation to demonstrate that these soldiers are intelligent, thoughtful individuals? No, your take home point is that "King David's pride made him turn from God." Trying to slide in a little subtext are we?....a little analogy to America and her pride perhaps? However, I would have forgiven you those little subliminal messages.

Your slanderous implications concerning our Marines "opening body bags and taking photo- graphs of the dead Iraqi's contained in" them is too much for me to forgive.
Of course you told this story though the voice of 'another Marine' and had him condemn their actions. With this you have implied that our soldiers are so crazy (in need of help is the way you so eleoquently put it) and blood-thirsty that they are snapping pictures of dead Iraqis to what........line their lockers??????? Knowing how the Islamic faith feels about treatment of their dead....what were you hoping for......Another controversy perhaps??? Another 15 minutes of fame perhaps?

Listen if you are the conscientious reporter you claim to be you will apologize to them.. Those individuals were simply doing the normal documentation of casualties. This documentation is done to insure that these terrorist were in fact killed in battle and not any other (i.e. tortured........like being set on fire and hung from a bridge like our contractors) It also allows anyone (the Iragi government, the U.S. government or even relatives) to identify specific individuals without having to open every body bag, they can just look through a file. You also implied that our soldiers are so ashamed that they "cringe when the American people say thank you".

Last but not least, you intimated that these soldiers you're "supporting" are shooting 'old unarmed men' AND leaving them to die when they are still breathing!!!! Didn't you say that two Americans had just been wounded in that same area? So there was an active battle going but what???? some poor "old unarmed" civilian just decided at that exact time to go for a stroll.? You know as well as I do that young or old the only folks left in that part of the city at that particular time were hard core terrorist.

I think your [conscience] is bothering you, hence you keep explaining yourself. Meanwhile we have you " bravely carrying your burden" and being "brutely honest". I think ...You are just brutal -- forget the honest part.
Alisa is very good at showing how reporters work in their messages between the lines through selection of detail. When you read that passage about the Marines reading the Bible, you'll clearly see how Sites has manipulated that scene.

I used to follow Kevin Sites's reporting from Iraq and I respected him. What he did in Fallujah, however, was a low as it gets. He could not have done a better job of smearing the Marines than if he had been in the employ of Zarqawi.

Bing West, who was also reporting from Fallujah during Operation Phanton Fury, writes in his "No True Glory":

That afternoon [November 15, 2004] the television networks showed the video of the Marine shooting the wounded insurgent inside the mosque. Al Jazeera played the clip every hour. The terrorists had provided a video of the execution of Margaret Hassan, but Al Jazeera refused to air it, knowing that it would provoke outrage against the insurgents. Instead Al Jazeera posted side by side a photo of Hassan and a picture of the Marine aiming his rifle, suggesting they were the twin sides of terror. (pp. 314-15)

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