'It's Unfortunate that She Was Released'

J$P Instant Transcript! Major Bob Bevelacqua's views on the Italian journalist held hostage.

From Studio-B with Shepard Smith, March 7 2005:

SHEPARD SMITH [FOX NEWS]: The freed Italian hostage shot by an American soldier says it may not have been an accident. With us from Washington now, the former Army Green Beret, retired Army Major Bob Bevelacqua. He's also a Fox News military analyst. Bob, good to see you.

MAJOR BOB BEVELACQUA: Thank you, Shepard.

SMITH: My guess, most people watching us out there haven't been on this road. I remember it; you can't forget this road once you're on it. Explain what they mean by checkpoint, and what the rules and sort of protocol is there.

BEVELACQUA: Well Shepard, the road to the Baghdad airport has a lot of civilian traffic on it, and it has a lot of military traffic on it. That in itself is a problem. However, whenever you approach a checkpoint, I will tell you that it is extremely dangerous for one reason and one reason only. Whoever mans that checkpoint is on a very heightened level of security, and if you don't' follow their instructions to the letter, the only thing they can assume is that you mean them harm and they will return the favor very quickly. I will tell you even myself, as an American, with a DOD CAC card, having identified myself, I followed the instructions they gave explicitly. You cannot do anything out of the norm when you get to a checkpoint. And obviously that's what happened here. It has happened before. Innocent Iraqis have been killed; it's extremely unfortunate, but it does happen.

SMITH: Security teams know these things. The first thing that happens when you get into a vehicle that's going to travel that road is, you're given a flack jacket and a helmet, and you're told what can happen. You're told if this sort of weapon hits us, then we're to get out of the car and do the following. It's very specific, and it seems to me any security personnel making that drive is not doing so for the first time, with a high profile woman like that in the car. It's almost unfathomable that they could have been speeding up to a checkpoint.

BEVELACQUA: The only thing that--everything you just said is very accurate--the only thing that I can assume, and I hate to assume, is whoever was driving the car, whoever was in charge of that convoy, did not know what they were doing, and selectively decided not to obey the rules. Or they didn't know the rules of engagement at all. Anybody that's been in Iraq for any period of time knows when you come to checkpoint, you slow down and you take all your instructions from whoever is in charge of that checkpoint.

SMITH: And normally passengers who are with a security team would be in the back seat of such a car. How she could have seen what was happening front, I don't really know. But it's important to point out a little bit about who this journalist is. She's a communist who works for a communist newspaper. Let's look at a quote from November the 13th of 2004, in Il Manifesto:
In one attack on a hospital the Americans killed twenty doctors. The marines are shooting at everything that moves.

This was in Fallujah. And another quote from that same day in Fallujah:
Fallujah is dying under the criminally indifferent gaze not only of the United States, but also of the Iraqi government.

These are more editorial comments I guess, than statements of fact. I guess.

BEVELACQUA: Oh Shepard, you're going to make me say something I'm probably going to regret.

SMITH: That was the hope.

BEVELACQUA: It's unfortunate that she was released. She didn't deserve the faith and honor that was given to her, and the death of an Italian intelligence officer. She is supporting the animals that took her hostage, and she's using the death of a fellow countryman to help push her cause. It's disgusting.

SMITH: That's pretty strong, Bob. You think she is supporting those who "held her hostage"?

BEVELACQUA: Anybody that uses that type of anti-coalition rhetoric, she might as well be on Al-Jazeera. She is supporting their cause. She really doesn't want this to be a success, so she's going to jam whatever she can into the collective eye of the coalition. It's disgusting.

SMITH: Investigation is underway; Major Bob Bevelacqua, good to see you, live from Washington. The President has promised his counterpart, the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, that he will launch a complete and thorough investigation and they'll get to the bottom of it. But the one-word title for the story used by the Italian journalist, from the US government is: "Absurd".

posted: Mon - March 7, 2005 at 04:16 PM       j$p  send