What?

A Disgusting Smear On A Brave Man

This apparent attempt to totally discredit Steven Vincent and his writing just gets weirder and weirder. I noted yesterday a Juan Cole piece where Cole claimed that Vincent’s lack of knowledge about Islamic culture was to blame for his death. Now, the Scotsman says he was killed because he was going to marry his Iraqi interpreter Nour Weidi and had already paid a $2,500 dowry to her family. The story is apparently being spread by British officials. Of whom Vincent was openly critical.

The article, um, fails to mention that Vincent already had a wife and family.

USS Neverdock noted the story to begin with, but Captain Ed digs in:

Vincent wrote most of his blog posts as open letters to Lisa Vincent, including his last original post on the blog days before his murder. It seems unlikely in the extreme, given Vincent’s writings, that this dowry story holds water. Beyond the gossipy official, however, the Scotsman offers no evidence and no corroboration for this nasty rumor — making the newspaper no different than the sexist Islamists who cannot conceive of men and women having working relationships.

I’m not dismissing allegations of romance between Vincent and his interpreter, though I guess it would be nice to see more than after-the-fact finger pointing by those who would be covering tracks if there were, indeed, tracks to cover.

The very end of Vincent’s book contained a little story. I quoted it in my review of the book:

Nour was noticeably subdued when two British press officers finally pulled up in a civilian car. “Sorry about the delay,” said a tall, handsome captain wearing a beret and neatly-pressed desert camo. “But when you said you were coming, we thought you were flying in like all the other journalists. We weren’t prepared for someone who actually lives in Basra and drives to the airport.”

“Makes you wonder about Western reporters, doesn’t it?” I said to Nour. She avoided my eyes and didn’t answer.

The officers drove us into the airport and escorted us to the main terminal. Here, in a waiting lounge turned into an impromptu briefing center, a portly, avuncular major spent about forty-five minutes describing the situation in Basra as viewed by the British army. It was essentially the same woes we’d heard before: crime, religious mafias, Iranian smugglers, Wahabbi spies. And the Brits’ main task in Basra?

“We provide psychological stability,” was the major’s wan response. “When the CPA dissolves in June, we will restrict ourselves to our bases. Then, it’s up to the Iraqi police to keep order.”

“The police?” exclaimed Nour, who had remained silent until now. “My God, no! Look at their cars, their stations–they are all flying Islamic flags and banners. They know that once you leave, the religious parties will take over Basra and they are trying to curry favor ahead of time!”

The major gave the “Coalition shrug”–I was getting used to seeing it–and said nothing; the interview was at an end. We rose in uncomfortable silence, trying not to see Nour’s distraught expression. Suddenly, she stepped in front of the beret-wearing captain, blocking his path. Looking up at the officer, who seemed nearly twice her height, “You musn’t leave us,” she pleaded. “We trust the British more than our own police. Please don’t leave us to the criminals and religious parties. Please don’t abandon us.”

No one said a word. There was nothing to say.

Nothing more to say, perhaps. But maybe not the end of the story.