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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Steven Vincent's wife strikes back

Steven Vincent, who authored the awesome blog In the red Zone, was murderd in Iraq on august 3rd. Juan Cole, insurgents apologist extraordinare, peddled theories that Vincent was having an affair with his interperter and was killed for "honor reasons", and then proceeded to blame him for his own murder and attacked his ignorance of middle-eastern culture and, by implication, his journalistic writing and legacy, basking in the knowledge that a dead man can't fight back. Think again Juan! Steven Vincent's wife decided to respond to mr. Cole in an e-mail. (Hattip Stefania) I susepct his ass is still bleeding, cause damn, she tore him a new one. Read it all here.


At 8/23/2005 07:53:00 AM, Blogger gatorbait said...

Never , ever ,mess with a Sicilian woman. Yawn Cold is wishing he slept with fishes about now.

At 8/23/2005 08:37:00 AM, Blogger raf* said...


i understand steven vincent's widow's anger. she also has no clue whatsoever about juan cole. and she didn't take the 2.8 minutes to find out. in a sense, she's is guilty of the very "sloppy reasoning" of which she accuses juan cole.

now, i now juan cole. and i read his blog on a regular basis (i.e. every day). he IS jumping to conclusions at times. he also doesn't have nearly as much "expertise" on the levant as he thinks that he does.

but then - his blog is titled "informed comment", not "this is the truth". he argues based on the information he has AT THAT MOMENT ... and sometimes i would've counselled him to wait a couple o'more moments before writing about a subject.

i don't read his blog for info/analysis of domestic issues, nor do i really care whether juan cole thinks that the prez should get impeached or not.

i read it for the iraq stuff and "assorted material". and i put it in my own context.

i'm sorry for steven vincent, his wife, his interpreter nur. but BASED ON THE INFO AT THE TIME i also thought that an honor-related crime could be one of the explanations.


At 8/23/2005 09:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whew, she didn't just tear him a new one, she chewed him up entirely and spit him out, destroying every shred of his credibility.


At 8/23/2005 09:45:00 AM, Blogger CMAR II said...

Cole's point in addressing Vincent's murder was to suggest he was culturally ignorant (ie didn't know what he was talking about) and that that got him killed.

He did this because Vincent had had some unflattering things to say about the quality of Cole's assessments last February (to which he didn't respond).

Cole has history of acting spitefully and underhandedly. Not to take anything away from Stefania's post, I laid it all out here.

You're right that Cole's post was not uninformed. It was spiteful, and since he waited until his target was dead, it was cowardly.

When someone *is* one, how do you tear him "a new one"?

At 8/23/2005 11:19:00 AM, Blogger stefania said...

Guys, take whatever you find interesting on my blog :)

At 8/23/2005 11:37:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Good for her! Some how, it doesn't surprise me that Steven Vincent was married to such an impressive woman!

I don't follow Juan Cole but I'm guessing he was one of the people who was so "outraged" about people criticizing Cindy Sheehan. And then, he assassinates the character of a dead man.

I could be wrong, though?

At 8/23/2005 02:33:00 PM, Blogger G-Dub said...

I only read his wife's email to the part where she confirmed that he was going to convert to islam , marry another woman and take her out of the country, he had her parents permission, yadda yadda ...

It sounds like he got caught pulling a stunt, and killed for it. I'm sorry it happened, but how realistic is it to convert to islam, marry a local woman and spirit her out if the country to freedom. All while your wife awaits you at home?

That's got bad idea written all over it.

At 8/23/2005 04:00:00 PM, Blogger ritzy said...

raf -- if we don't know the facts we should question them before we voice strong opinions; it applies to everybody, me as well. Juan Cole doesn't do well in that department, esp. not when using words as sleeping around in this context. At THAT TIME we could have mentioned honour killing as a *possibility*. He didn't. He threw up on a widow.

in general -- whatever offended his killers, and it doesn't have to be any particular reason if you're a foreigner in Basra, .. anyway, whatever the reason was it doesn't really matter now, does it?

same thing with whatever opinions we might have on his writing, the man died recently, let him rest in peace.

At 8/23/2005 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not read Juan Cole and know little about him. The allegations he made came from the Telegraph article. The Telegraph's reporter stated the allegations as possibilities that Iraqi, British, and US investigators had developed and were pursuing, not conclusions. Cole claimed that the allegations would probably turn out to be correct. And he criticized Steven Vincent's knowledge of the Middle East.

I thought Mr. Vincent was performing an essential service as an American reporting on the spot in Iraq. Most US reporters see little first hand in Baghdad and nothing outside (apart from Kurdistan, where it's safe). The South accounts for half or more of the population and receives scarcely any direct reporting. Basra is the South's largest city and Mr. Vincent's work there was unique (although I now think that British reporters have been working there, too).

I feel so sorry for Lisa Vincent and her loss. I think that the Telegraph might have been a more logical target for her to begin with.

I agree with Ritzy that Rest in Peace is something that Mr. Vincent deserves. I am inclined to think that the identity of the persons and forces that killed him is important. First of all, he and his family deserve justice, too.

Second, it is possible that, to put it in its strongest form, the Iraqi government murdered him and tried to murder his translator. I do not mean that the Prime Minister knew about it or would have wanted it. I DO mean that the Basra leadership of his party, the Dawa, or of the other main party in the governing coalition, SCIRI, may have ordered the killings.

Mr. Vincent's first post from Basra said that foreigners were in danger, apparently from ordinary criminals and from the usual insurgency of anti-government people. The Sadr supporters out on the streets probably were also hostile to foreigners, especially Americans. His later posts and articles had something to offend all of the above. He also attacked corrupt leadership in Basra government, though not by name. His New York Times article endorsed claims that policemen with ties to the one or all of the Dawa, SCIRI, and Sadr were a death squad that was assassinating Baathists. I had wondered about the wisdom of his using a woman translator, since it required her to accompany an unrelated man in public--an offense to exactly the conservative Muslim forces that he was reporting to be increasing powerful on the streets and in society generally.

The two mainline Shia parties are thus only some of the possible suspects.

At 8/23/2005 05:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


If the governing parties are involved, or it turns out to be Sadr's forces, it is a sign of audacity on their part. Iraq is trying to create a constitution. If the governing parties did it, what does freedom of the press amount to Iraq? Especially for Iraqis without access to foreign publicity. If the Sadr forces did it, I note that they have much effective power in Basra, so the conclusion is almost as bad.

I do not trust the Basra Iraqi police to investigate this because they are potentially investigating themselves. Even the British have a motive for a cover up--the avoidance of embarrassment and retaliation for Mr. Vincent's criticism of them. Maybe an affair did lead to the attack. Yet, how convenient is the story: it not only whitewashes the Basra government, police, and the British, but it also discredits Mr. Vincent and his translator.

Michael in Framingham

At 8/24/2005 01:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa Vincent's letter to jcole is a great rebuttle to a shameless coward and a testimony of her love for Steven.

Thank you Lisa.
You can leave condolences at, http://spencepublishing.typepad.com/in_the_red_zone/


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At 8/24/2005 02:23:00 AM, Blogger raf* said...

dear all-

of course the most important aspect of this whole story is the fact that steven vincent was murdered and his translator, nur, seriously injured.

i also read his pieces and i also think that he was a courageous reporter.

nothing can take anything away from that. may he rest in peace and may his wife find the strength to overcome her grief and sorrow.

that said, i thought that her letter was no better than the worst of juan cole's posts.


PS: sam, you might want to think about installing "word verification" in your "comments section". blogger.com can do that. read my post on it. ;)

At 8/24/2005 03:19:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

Raf, I think i may just do that!


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