The problem isn't right or left ...

Saturday, April 01, 2006
The real problem is idiots like Debbie Schlussel:
Don't expect "journalist" Jillie to "investigate" that one. But hey, she says her Islamic terrorist captors treated her "very well," and she talked about the nice shower and bathroom they gave her.

Since things were so great in captivity, maybe she should have remained at Terrorist Day Spa. And maybe they should change the name from "Stockholm Syndrome" to "Baghdad Syndrome."

Or this aptly titled piece, from John Hinderocker:
A Moment of Churlishness

As you no doubt know, journalist Jill Carroll was released by her kidnappers in Baghdad last night. We are, of course, glad that she is alive, unlike so many others who have been taken hostage in Iraq.

No doubt her joy at being freed overwhelms all else, and it is probably churlish to critique her public comments. Nevertheless, I want to register a small protest against her statement, widely quoted in the press, that she was "well treated" by her captors. This is a sentiment that one often hears from people who have been released by kidnappers; one gets the sense that the victims are grateful--understandably, perhaps--to the terrorists for letting them go.

But the fact is that Ms. Carroll was not "well treated" by her captors. She says that they "never hit me. They never even threatened to hit me." Terrific. But they did threaten to cut off her head, and kept her in fear of her life for nearly three months. To anyone who saw the videos in which she pleaded for her life, her mental distress was obvious. And the kidnappers murdered Carroll's translator in the course of capturing her.

No doubt, in saying that she had been "well treated," Ms. Carroll was mostly trying to assure her friends and family that her physical condition was OK. That's obviously appropriate. But let's not encourage a lot of warm feelings toward the murderous thugs who kidnapped Carroll, shot her translator, and may well have received a ransom to let her go.
Now, compare:
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) - Former hostage Jill Carroll strongly disavowed statements she had made during captivity in Iraq and shortly after her release, saying Saturday she had been repeatedly threatened.

In a video, recorded before she was freed and posted by her captors on an Islamist Web site, Carroll spoke out against the U.S. military presence. But Carroll said the recording was made under threat. Her editor has said three men were pointing guns at her at the time.

"During my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me I would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. So I agreed," she said in a statement read by her editor in Boston.

"Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not." ....

Carroll also disavowed an interview she gave to the party shortly after her release. She said the party had promised her the interview would not be aired "and broke their word."

"At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn't threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times," she said. "Also, at least two false statements about me have been widely aired: That I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military and that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither is true."

[Update: at 9:50PM, Paul Mirengoff of Powerline posted the following:
She now says what was obvious (except to the American left) -- her captors did not treat her well. In fact, it turns out that she was confined to a small, soundproof room with frosted, opaque windows, and was "threatened many times." Carroll also explains that her statements while in captivity that expressed sympathetic to the insurgency and criticism of the U.S. were made under duress. Specifically, the terrorists were aiming guns at her head.

As I said yesterday, Jill Carroll has an obvious excuse. What is the excuse of those on the American left who utter similar nonsense and who defended the substance of Carroll's original coerced drivel?

I still think Hinderocker owes Carroll an apology.]

[Update at 17:05 MDT: See also Joe Gandlesman and RightWingNutHouse.]


Barry Dauphin said...

I think that part of the idiocy involves reacting to information rapidly. It is rather easy to assemble something quickly that confirms what one already believes. Some of the comments on the Schussel site were incredibly rabid. Tonight NBC News cited "conservative bloggers" and "conspiracy theorists" for pushing the angle that she was a traitor, etc. No doubt some at NBC enjoyed sticking it to bloggers and creating the impression that swarms of such bloggers are going off the deep end. As of 8PM 4/1/06 EST, neither of the bloggers you cited have posted an update to this story or said, "hey I spoke too soon" and apologized for pushing the angle they pushed. I hope they do fairly soon.

CF said...

Yes, barry ..and the fact that a number of the kidnapped were clearly useful idiots for the other side makes it hard not to be sceptical..Still, it's a good idea not to make a judgement until a while, isn't it?

David Thomson said...

Someone close to me, on the day of Jill Carroll’s release, asked if she might be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I warned that it was too soon to tell. This is the very first time I've commented on the matter.

Barry Dauphin said...


Agreed. And my initial (internal and unblogged) reaction was that she might fall into that category. I live in Ypsilanti, which is a stone's throw from the people's republic of Ann Arbor, where Ms. Carroll was born and went to high school. Given that 93% of AA's were against the war from day one, well... More information comes out and the story gets more complex.

Skepticism should not be tossed aside, however, as you indicate. Given what we have learned about how many journalists didn't report what was happening in Iraq in order to have access, I want to listen for the agendas of the various parties.

terrye said...

I am getting kind of tired of the way some bloggers just run off at the mouth without having the slightest idea what they are talking about. {present company excluded of course she said smugly}

But really, anymore it does not seem to matter what the subject is, Dubai, illegal immigration, Iraqi Civil War, young women being held at gun point by murderers, there they are pounding their chests and running off at the mouth.

There are several sites I don't go to anymore because people are just so damn mean spirited. Sometimes I think they are suffering from the same disease as cable news: me first and me loudest.

ex-democrat said...

sorry, not getting it. hindrocker's comment was perfectly reasonable at the time. yours simply has the benefit of hindsight.
perhaps next time you can call it before the cards have been turned over.

Fresh Air said...

I don't really get it, either. Hinderaker simply pointed out that her statements (a) didn't comport with what were known to be facts of her situation; and (b) did not militate in any respect against condemnation of the terrorists.

I may have missed it, but I didn't see where Hinderaker claimed she was a loon or was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. There were others who did that, yes. But not on PowerLine. His "churlish" adjective probably fits, though.

David Thomson said...

"I may have missed it, but I didn't see where Hinderaker claimed she was a loon or was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome."

I agree. John Hinderaker's comments actually seem quite level headed and responsible.

terrye said...

I think he owes her an apology. He should have kept his mouth shut until the woman had been checked out by health care professionals and had a chance to realize she was safe.

Maybe some people think that being held at gun point and having your life threatened for weeks on end is no big deal and just gives everyone in the world the right to attack you, but in reality the blogs are getting nastier and more judgmental and quicker to shoot from the hip everyday.

Sorry, but this kind of reaction reminds me of the pictures of reporters in people's faces with cameras and microphones peppering them with questions while playing for some audience when someone else has been through some awful ordeal.

It is tacky. It is not the way gentlemen are supposed to behave.

Seneca the Younger said...

ex-dem, he attributed rather base motives to her, and then was proven wrong. Whether he was "reasonable" or not doesn't matter --- although I wouldn't concede he was making a reasonable assumption, given the fact that all he had to go on were statements Carroll made while in the hands of Islamists. Merely having been proven wrong is enough to warrant an apology.

ex-democrat said...

no, seneca, he did not. you should read his piece again more carefully, and without the jaundiced eye. for example: "To anyone who saw the videos in which she pleaded for her life, her mental distress was obvious."

this kind of monday-morning hand-wringing is pretty tiresome. it's become a staple of the democrats. is it now to become a staple here?

(and terrye, from another thread, the gecko in those adds is supposed to be a cockney not an aussie)

Seneca the Younger said...

I guess it depends: I'd say that suggesting Carroll was encouraging warm feelings toward her captors, who had murdered her translator and kept her prisoner, was a sufficient suggestion of base motives that, were it me, I'd say "it's clear I was mistaken, and I'm sorry."