Jill Carroll: target in Iraq, target at home

Imagine if you will this situation. A young woman in a foreign country is abducted at gunpoint by extremists. They kill her translator/guide/driver, and hold her captive. After almost three months of threatening to kill the woman if their demands are not met, the extremists finally release her unharmed. Within days, she is reunited with her family and friends.

You would expect that all observing this chain of events would be overjoyed she survived her ordeal. You would not expect that hours after learning of her release, some of her own countrymen would denigrate her as a traitor, enemy sympathizer and coward, and suggest that, if she were a true patriot, she would have taken a bullet in the head instead of kowtowing to her captors.

Incredible, but yet true. Jill Carroll, a gutsy freelancer for the Christian Science Monitor, to some rightwing bloggers is no better than a Benedict Arnold. Within hours of seeing Carroll’s statements that she was “well treated” by her captors, the ultra-right jumped on her like hungry piranha at a pool party.

Most have, thank goodness, recanted, because Carroll explained her actions once on US shores. For a more moderate rightwing response to the feeding frenzy, check here.

Some, like Debbie Schlussel, a female version of Rush Limbaugh, continue to lambast Carroll as a traitor and liar. Schlussel, who is some kind of Middle East expert, links Carroll to several pro-Arab, pro-Iraqi, anti-American groups. Her invective is so over the top that she even demands her fellow conservatives apologize to her, Schlussel, for their repudiation of her comments.

Words cannot express my dismay at the level to which some people will stoop. Regardless of Carroll’s supposed politics (the CSM is hardly a leftist rag, after all), she was abducted and held prisoner, in fear of her life, for 82 days. If she had been such a friend of the “enemy,” why did they capture her at all and threaten to kill her? Wouldn’t they have picked a more “patriotic” correspondent, say someone from Fox News?

Wait, those people hardly ever go to the front lines. They’re hard to reach. Carroll was a real war correspondent; she was not “embedded.” She put herself in the thick of things and was thus an easy target.

Too bad she seems to be a target at home, too.


For a biography of another gutsy war correspondent, Edward R. Murrow, check these links.

Good Night, and Good Luck (Widescreen Edition)DVD: Good Night and Good Luck

Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. MurrowBook: Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow

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