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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Conflicting reports: Your views
Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said the killing of an Italian secret agent in Iraq will not damage relations with the US.

He told parliament that Washington remained a close ally and that Italy had no intention of withdrawing troops from Iraq.

On Tuesday an Italian report into the shooting of Nicola Calipari was published which conflicted with the US version of events. It blamed the troops' stress and inexperience but accepted that individual responsibility for the shooting was difficult to pinpoint.

It also denied the US report's assertion that their military command in Baghdad was unaware of the Italian mission to secure the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

Send us your reaction to the conflicting reports concerning the death of Nicola Calipari.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Rules of engagement are a very delicate topic
Jeff, Montreal, Canada
Rules of engagement are a very delicate topic and persons who have never been on the ground should do their homework before they start finger pointing and making political music. It is truly unimportant if Italy loses its international reputation over Iraq. It is up to the Italian government to make a choice and even this decision does not change the fact that Mr Calipari was killed.
Jeff, Montreal, Canada

It is amazing how easily non-Americans accept the Italian side of the story, makes you wonder about their judgement.
Eddie, Eugene, US

To Martin, CA, USA: We train our troops to use maximum fire power whenever they feel threatened. That is one of the reason combat soldiers do not make good cops. On a battlefield "shoot first and ask questions later" is what will save your life. That is a reality of war.
Jim, USA

I would believe the Italians. The US Military has been conducting one whitewash after another. They go after the low ranking people to hide supervisory culpability by their senior officers. This is just the latest example.
Roger Coupal, Wyoming, United States

The top US military brass were found blameless in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, so is there any surprise that the US, playing the dual role of prosecution and judge, reached the conclusion that they did? What could Berlusconi do but continue to voice support of the US? Being a junior partner to a hyperpower means you have to swallow hard.
H Glaber, Taipei, Taiwan

Berlusconi at least has the diplomacy to reiterate his support for the coalition
Chris, US
Berlusconi at least has the decency and diplomacy to reiterate his support for the coalition, when in all likelihood he is seething inside and outraged by the loss of one of his best agents.
Chris, US

It would be unfair to point a finger at this point in time, but I personally believe that both sides are most certainly hiding something.
Patrick McNey, NH, USA

Surely Nicola Calipari knew the risks when he went into Iraq. For the Italian government to lay his death at the doorstep of the United States is, in the very least, reprehensible.
David Moore, Hyattsville, USA

I'm not surprised at all that the US report clears those involved in the shooting. We are used to it. Denying responsibilities makes people hate America and dishonours the memory of all those brave Americans that lost their lives.
Stefano Nave, Milan, Italy

The US troops are far from the best in the world
Martin, CA, USA
The US troops are far from the best in the world. They have tremendous fire power and they use it with reckless abandon. Shoot first and ask questions later. This is why the US government will never sign up to the International Court. Their soldiers would spend more time in court than on the battlefield. But maybe that would initiate some decent training.
Martin, CA, USA

The Italians have shown they did notify the Americans they were coming. This is another clear example that the US military has nothing but utter contempt for civilians.
Pete N, Racine, WI, USA

I applaud Italy for not accepting the US version of the incident. It is no surprise to me that the US government would clear its soldiers of any wrongdoing simply out of pride. There is no shame in admitting to mistakes, but anyone trying to conceal the truth when innocent lives have been lost should truly be ashamed.
Jonathan Reynolds, Brooklyn, NY, USA

The Italians are great American allies and we appreciate their help. But do not send agents into a war zone and assume no risk. The road they travelled is one of the most violent in Iraq. Under the same circumstances, I would have fired on the Italian vehicle.
Robert Brown, Pittsburgh

Accidents and innocent mistakes leading to tragedies do happen
Alex, Chicago, USA
Accidents and innocent mistakes leading to tragedies do happen. Somehow this simple fact of life eludes many of the posters. Not in every situation someone should be held accountable. And most certainly the determination of accountability should not depend on the level of respect that you hold for the victim.
Alex, Chicago, USA

Once again, Berlusconi shows little if any backbone towards the US, seeming more like a lapdog rather than a leader, the anticipation of US "table scraps" dominating decision-making rather than the will of the people. Democracy-what?
Skid, Chicago, US

The Americans have abrogated to themselves the right to invade any country for whatever reason. They have granted their military personnel immunity from prosecution from war crimes. So why should we expect any other decision from the Americans than they didn't do it? If they did, the Italians shouldn't have been there. Anyway the soldiers were stressed. We should be pleased to have such conscientious liberators.
Daclamat, Montherod, Switzerland

Who would have something to gain from a cover up of the truth?
Nate, Missouri, USA
Who would have something to gain from a cover up of the truth? By reaching their conclusion in the investigation, the American government gets only further ridicule from world public opinion, as is evident from the responses on this site. The Italian version diverts attention from the likely conclusion that the Italian government paid off the kidnappers, without the knowledge of the Americans, in order to retrieve Ms Sgrena. This could be the Italian attempt to avoid scrutiny in contributing to the perpetuation of this sort of terrorism.
Nate, Missouri, USA

How many more friendly fire deaths before countries refuse to go to war alongside the US? The US has been incompetently killing its allies for years, too many years.
Roy, El Paso, Texas, USA

Whether it was a mistake or not, someone should be held accountable for the death of Mr Calipari. Be a bit more respectful of the death of somebody who was doing his job and also of Ms Sgrena who, in any case, was doing her job as a war reporter.
Clara, Monza, Italy

The US Marine Corps announced that the marine who was videotaped shooting an apparently injured and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face a court martial. It says a review of the evidence showed the marine's actions in the shooting were "consistent with the established rules of engagement." If it's OK for US soldiers to shoot the injured and unarmed, what chance did the Italians have?
Ajana, Singapore

It's amazing how cynical we non-Americans are
Andrew Hyde, Harare, Zimbabwe
It's amazing how cynical we non-Americans are. Before the US even started writing their report we were saying it would lie through its teeth, exonerate every US soldier involved, do a general whitewash and pretend it never happened. They certainly didn't disappoint.
Andrew Hyde, Harare, Zimbabwe

I believe the Italian's are telling the truth about what happened. Why would anyone run a blockade where there are men with guns? I look at the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and think the US thinks they can get away with anything. American troops overreacted.
Georgae Laposaly, Warrenton, VA USA

Since might means right, of course the US version of what happened is the correct one.
Lars, Fairbanks, USA

This mess started when a journalist went to a war zone with no regard for her safety. This Italian man was not foolish in this rescue; it was the journalist after a story. The US troops are in a war zone. If you don't understand what that means, you should not be there.
Robert, Glendale, USA

Clearly, some are using this as an excuse to push an anti-American agenda
Jeremy, Ithaca, NY USA
This was a tragedy, pure and simple. Any attempts to twist this against the US are ridiculous, and blowing the incident out of proportion. Clearly, some are using this as an excuse to push an anti-American agenda.
Jeremy, Ithaca, NY USA

It's clear from the Italian reaction that no American soldier could ever get a fair shake in an international court. The US should never, ever join the ICC.
Harold, Austin, TX

The professionalism of the US government can be seen by the way they 'leaked' the full report from their own website. Since we are all humans we are bound to make mistakes. The issue is not making mistakes but what you can learn from them so that you can avoid them in the future. I believe that it has been proven that the US policy of exonerating its troops that kill friends or civilians does not help to reduce the number of these incidents.
Zazi L, Greece

It is obvious to this troop that Italy is trying to say "we told everyone we were coming through" but in reality they knew what would happen if they came up on a check point at high speed. It is sad that there was loss of life but at the same time are we supposed to just let them come rushing on through?
M, Azle, US

What other explanation could there be other than the whole incident was a mistake?
Dave, Santa Barbara, CA
What other explanation could there be other than the whole incident was a mistake? What possible motivation would the US have to kill Calipari and Sgrena? If the US wanted them dead, there is no way that anyone would have survived. Instead the soldiers tried to help the injured. This is just political posturing on the part of those against the war.
Dave, Santa Barbara, CA

This whole conflict is a sham; Italy simply lacks the political will to stand firm in Iraq and this conflict greases the skids of its exit. Ciao! And don't come back.
Jarconay, US

How can I believe on US view? From the beginning of this war US government is lying..
Mak San, Japan

The blanket anti-Americanism of correspondents from Europe is frightening. If the BBC had a forum on wildflowers on English roads, someone would turn it into an anti-American sentiment. Get a life Europe.
Adam, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Bush will do anything to justify America in Iraq. Lying, and killing allies is just a small price to pay for his ego. Good on Italy for standing up to him. America should be mortified at the lies it has been proved to be telling. Whilst America controls reporting it controls the reports. Propaganda is what it wants not true reporting.
P O'Donnell, Auckland, New Zealand

To Mike of San Antonio, USA. You bet I am outraged. Outraged that we have a bully, liar, and murderer of a president who illegally invaded Iraq in the first place. Had it not been for the mass murder of tens of thousands of innocent victims in Iraq at the order of George W Bush the Italians would not have been in Iraq trying to help the Americans clean up the mess created by them. Outraged about poorly trained and equipped Americans who shoot first and ask questions later of dead people.
Norman Harper, Portland, USA

Nicola Calipari was a victim of American foreign policy
Bumble, Dartford, UK
Nicola Calipari was a victim of American foreign policy. That is to say the armed forces up the top will stop the truth getting out.
Bumble, Dartford, UK

Surely Mr. Calipari is a very courageous man, giving his own life in defence of another. My condolences to his family. For those that say that that the US planned this in order to silence Ms Sgrena by killing her I ask "if that is true then why didn't they?"
Roger, Naperville, US

If this is Italy's reward for being America's ally, Berlusconi should show some backbone as Bush would say, and withdraw from Iraq in protest. It is essentially an Anglo-American conflict anyway, with a few token European, Asian and African countries thrown in mostly for PR purposes. If Italy does nothing but whine, it will be seen as a wimp throughout the world.
Nathaniel, Canada

No need to be frightened by American patriotism. Americans have always been patriotic. Never has it degenerated into destructive nationalism, the likes of which we have witnessed several times on your side of the world.
Robert Taylor, Stafford, VA

"The gloves are off" was a statement trumpeted from the highest powers in the US administration and military from the start of the conflict. It is this attitude and policy which leads directly to tragedies like Abu Ghraib and Calipari's death. Those who instituted the policy should answer for it.
Ken, Pretoria, South Africa

This is ridiculous; it was a mistake. Stop the US bashing and accept it for what it was: a car going too fast to a check point with ill-trained, nervous, young soldiers manning it. What would you do given the prior car bombings?
Patrick, NH, USA

I am an American, but I believe the Italian version of events
K C, USA
I am an American, but I believe the Italian version of events. Those who lie about these events betray us in America as well as the rest of the world. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are for the most part good people. But we went to war on the lies from our administration, so why believe their version now?
K C, USA

I believe the cause of truth and justice will be served if the event is subjected to a judicial review by judges from both countries under the prevailing situation in Iraq. They will be in the best position to come to their own judgement and make recommendations against any repetition of such incidents in the future. The unfortunate fact is nobody seems to be safe in the 'liberated' Iraq.
Saravan, UK

It is ridiculous to accept comments that the American soldiers were all out to silence the Italians. The distasteful scandals of the Abu Graib prison could have marred the American soldiers' reputation but that does not imply they are all undisciplined and reckless. We should understand that stress and danger surround these American soldiers 24/7 and it is human instinct to protect oneself when faced with imminent danger. So, could the cynics accept death of an American better?
Alexandria, Singapore

If they were hit, it was because something in the US procedures went wrong
Victor, Miami
I don't think the Italians in the car would have put themselves willingly in a compromising situation vis-a-vis the US troops. If they were hit, it was because something in the US procedures went wrong.
Victor, Miami

I wonder what would have happened if it was Italians troops that had killed US citizens.
Fani G, Greece

The only surprise in the incident is that the Italians have the courage to conflict with USA.
Andres Wang, Taipei, Taiwan

According to Ms. Sgrena, her car was on a special road reserved for VIPs. She also said the bullets came from behind, not from the front. The US says the soldiers fired at the engine to stop the car. The dead and injured were in the back seat. Why is the driver alive, apparently not even injured? We have to answer these kinds of questions before any of us can come to any informed conclusions.
Peter Swindells, Stafford, Virginia, USA

I believe it is pretty obvious: both sides are to blame
Nick, Stuttgart, Germany
I believe it is pretty obvious: both sides are to blame. The soldiers thought the car was laden with explosives with the intent to kill them so they defended themselves. The Italians thought their approach speed was adequate and were safe. Why don't we move beyond the politics and hatred and see the disaster as it really is - a mistake.
Nick, Stuttgart, Germany

The incident in which Calipari was shot by American soldiers is typical of repeated incidents of the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians at checkpoints. The USA never admits the culpability of American soldiers in indiscriminately shooting down the innocent.
Nathan Pace, United States

Yes, Calipari's death is a tragedy. However, it also an equally tragic mistake of the Italian government to release a full uncensored report by the US government to the public, revealing the names and ranks of US soldiers, putting the individuals at risk. Furthermore, how do we know what was censored and now is uncensored in the US report is accurate and not falsified by some outside group?
Micah Harding, Cincinnati, USA

Calipari was a great man, he did so much for many Italians, and now he deserves respect. We want the truth.
Valentina, Modena, Italy

The friendly fire situation, is an American army problem that never appears to be addressed
David, Brussels, Belgium

Let me start out by saying, my mother is American and I am both pro-American and for the war, but I think this situation goes to the heart of the issue. American troops are poorly trained in coping with stressful situations. They have always lacked the discipline that other nations troops have had in holding fire. The friendly fire situation, is an American army problem that never appears to be addressed.
David, Brussels, Belgium

US can approach the UN humbly and ask them to do a third party inquiry into the incident. Hand them all the facts without any change and then the UN can publish its findings. Of course the Italians and any locals involved should also give their facts.
Senthil Kumar, Canada

The patriotism of correspondents from USA is frightening.
Historian, Orpington, UK

Sgrena owes America and Mr Calipari her sincere apologies. Both versions of the report agree that the shooting death was accidental. That is obvious. The rest is politics.
Dave M, Tonopah, NV, USA

I would just demand that the media stay off of their high moral horses
Lisa, Wisconsin, USA

I think the media is trying its level best to keep this story/issue inflamed. Nothing sells today better than anti-American rhetoric, which pulls in big money for media TV and newspapers around the world. For the media to use this man's death in such a way as to make money is hardly shocking to any of us; I would just demand that the media stay off of their high moral horses, especially when their motives are so obviously profit driven.
Lisa, Wisconsin, USA

America not willing to take responsibility for its mistakes. How surprising. I get so tired of the myopic fellow Americans who tirelessly make excuses for our government and military mistakes, ineptitudes, and even blatant crimes. If my America wants to better the world, we must except responsibility for our actions.
Skid, Chicago, US

There are two tragedies here, the death of Mr Calipari, and the misuse of the event for political gains. Had this incident happened with any other nation than the US manning the checkpoint, the world would consider this to be the terrible accident that it was. Instead, the world refuses to accept the truth because it cannot see beyond it's hatred of the US. I am happy that you are so confident that your own soldiers would never allow this to happen, but I seriously doubt that they wouldn't have acted in the same manner, especially when faced with the every day dangers inherent at that checkpoint.

Why isn't anyone outraged that Ms Sgrena was in Iraq in the first place? Everyone has been warned that Iraq is not a safe place for foreigners and past examples have proven that foreigners, especially westerners, are prime targets for hostage takers. She is as much to blame as anyone for Mr Calipari's death. I am starting to think that this is nothing but a ploy to make the world forget that the Italians pay ransoms for their hostages.
Mike, San Antonio, USA

This was just another day in the new Iraq
David Kersten, Singapore

Amidst all the bereavement, apologies, excuses, and self-righteous justifications one important point has been overlooked. This was just another day in the new Iraq. If Mr Calipari and Giuliana Sgrena were not Italians, and as such citizens of a nation from a somewhat fragile coalition of the willing, this would not have made the headlines it did. It would have passed unnoticed, especially by the majority of American respondents in this forum.

It is not the unfortunate death of Nicola Calipari which is being fretted over here. It is the undermining of an already shaky alliance which has caused so much consternation. This will continue as long reports over this tragedy conflict and similar such unfortunate incidences occur under circumstances that are clearly beyond anyone's control.
David Kersten, Singapore

Americans and Italians both suffer by this conflict. It is a tragedy when they add more suffering by such event like this. The way is to be found how to get out of this war.
J Pauco, Kosice, Slovakia

When something goes wrong people always look for someone to blame other than themselves. The Italians should be asking themselves, "What should we have done differently?" Not just, "What did the Americans do wrong?" The blame is equally on both sides. Any seasoned professional planner could have easily anticipated that this disaster was a possibility and that it could have been avoided. There is too much animosity, politics, and too many recriminations in this discussion and too little focus on facts.
John, NJ, USA

There surely should have been a safer way for the Italians to transport the hostage to the airport than to drive at night in an area notorious for suicide car bomb attacks. Ms Calipari's assertion that she was targeted deliberately is indicative of her hostility toward the American forces. It is ludicrous to think that they even knew she was in the car. When the methods of securing the release of prisoners by paying ransom is used, and the authorities are kept in the dark, mistakes happen.
Barbara Plestow, Weston, CT, USA

Tragic though this shooting is, it is highly unlikely this incident was planned
Brian Carey, Salt Lake City, USA
Tragic though this shooting is, it is highly unlikely this incident was planned. I fear it's just another case of overly trigger-happy soldiers. It's not the first time innocent people have been shot and killed in such circumstances, it is simply that the people involved have made people pay attention. I do find US criticism of paying a ransom offensive, however. Knowing what has happened to others in Ms Sgrena's position, I applaud the effort to free her, it's just unfortunate that to some this is deemed "wrong". To some people life is worth saving, and to others life seems to be no more than a tally of numbers.
Brian Carey, Salt Lake City, USA

The death of Calipari was the result of a poorly planned and misguided covert operation carried out by the Italian government. The real question now is how many Iraqi civilians, Iraqi police, and US servicemen are going to be lost to the ordinance the terrorists are going to buy with the estimated 6 million dollars worth of ransom?
Steve, Middletown, USA

Of course his death is a tragedy, but you have to remember that we are asking soldiers to be policemen. Soldiers are trained to fight wars not be policemen. These same soldiers have been under constant threat the entire time they have been in Iraq. The blame for their actions cannot be laid on them, it must be laid on those who put them in this situation, the Bush administration. Perhaps if Bush or Cheney had actually served in a combat situation they wouldn't have been quite so eager to send other people's children into harms way.
Doug Fisher, Asheville, USA

I am a US military wife and proud of it. First I am sorry for Mr Calipari's death. Everyone needs to understand that those roads are dangerous and our troops can not trust any of those cars that come up to those checkpoints. Bottom line is that. The car should have stopped and it did not. Our troops were only protecting themselves like they have a right to do.
Tina, US

Do they want to try this soldier for murder? Will this give them satisfaction -or- just feed their hunger for revenge? The soldier that accidentally shot Mr Calipari made a sad and tragic mistake. Mr Calipari is clearly a hero and should always be remembered in our prayers. The true criminals are the terrorists that kill innocent Iraqis, behead fellow human beings, drive bomb-laden trucks into buses full of schoolchildren and assassinate Iraqi politicians committed to liberty. Let us exercise common sense here.
Brad, Chicago, IL, USA

If the US had wanted to kill one or more of the occupants, would they have done it so openly, i.e. close to a US checkpoint? Would the US have even contemplated such an action in view of the relations between the US and Italy and the value that they attach to the presence of Italian troops in Iraq, which would be jeopardised by such an action.
Brendan Carden, Malindi, Kenya

The first accounts by those in the car, including Ms Sgrena, claimed there was no warning whatsoever. Now, the driver says that he stopped after light was flashed at the car. Let's allow the investigation to take its course before jumping to conclusions that fit too neatly with one's own biases in either direction.
Ted, Washington, DC

I definitely think judgement should be held until all facts are laid out for all to see
Karen Morales, Jackson, USA

When this accident appeared in the news before any comment I told my husband serving in Iraq: "I bet the reporter will say it was on purpose by the US soldiers to cause more trouble than she already has." Being held captive apparently had no impact on her big picture of the world.

I feel very sad for the individual who was trying to save her and wonder how long and what training had he had to be doing what he did. He apparently was not following rules and regulations. Why the Italians would not communicate with those who were enforcing rules and regulations at check points while a war is going on is very curious in its own merit. I definitely think judgement should be held until all facts are laid out for all to see.
Karen Morales, Jackson, MS, USA

It looks like a lack of training and control and a lot of confusion more than a plot to silence a witness. CIA and US army are perfectly able to perform targeted assassination. Lack of control results in thousands of civilian victims often at random, killed by bombing or sometimes by firing at crowds. The main responsibility lies with the people who sent those poorly trained soldiers to a place where they should not be.
Michel, Geneva

What a heartbreaking tragedy, and after such high hopes for the reporter's release. Shame on those claiming it was anything but an accident. American soldiers die every day fighting the forces behind Sgrena's kidnapping.
Matt, Houston, Texas

It's incredible the assumptions that people are making without knowing the full details of what occurred!
Mamadou Diallo, Boston, USA

Italy should immediately retreat from Iraq. Continued support of the American invasion has no sense.
Julio Ricardo Hernandez, Managua, Nicaragua

To shoot or not to shoot? To live or die. These are split second decisions made everyday by men barely out of their teens. I do not believe that any of the soldiers at the checkpoint had any (political) motives beyond trying to stay alive. Both Calipari and Sgrena where in a war zone doing their job. Just as the soldiers were. Is the Italian government going to ask for an investigation and punishment of the kidnappers?
Reinhard Schwarz, London, Canada

The US made a mess of this but you can't blame the soldiers, they are doing a difficult job
Brian Cutler, Southampton, UK
The version of the soldiers on the checkpoint have to comply with their rules of engagement. They're likely to face prosecution if they give any other version. Ms Sgrena is a reporter who wrote some very unflattering reports on US actions in Falluja, a communist, against this war and with little recollection about what went on. However, the driver is quite clear about the events that took place and deserves to be believed. The US made a mess of this but you can't blame the soldiers, they are doing a difficult job. Take it on the chin George and have the grace to admit the mistake.
Brian Cutler, Southampton, UK

Rather than calls to put Sgrena on trial for her behaviour, as some comments have suggested, it would be nice to see some compassion shown for a woman who had spent a month as a hostage victim, only to be followed by the shock of being shot herself and having Calipari, the man who had saved her shot and die on top of her. This compassion should be given regardless of her politics or opinions. If we could see the humanity of everyone, rather than always fixing people with labels, the world might start to be a better place.
Sarah, Madrid, Spain

We should wait for the facts of the case to be exposed before we start making judgements of the motives of the people involved
David Frey, Port St John, FL, USA
First and foremost we should wait for the facts of the case to be exposed before we start making judgements of the motives of the people involved in this incident. Any trained accident investigator should be able to give us an estimation of how fast the car was going. Other questions; what calibre of bullet killed the agent? Where is a picture of the car? Why didn't the Italians have a safe passage plan? Why do some of the quotes of the reporter not match some of the obvious facts. The investigation and the answer to these questions will make someone out to be a liar, or worse, and it may not be the Americans.
David Frey, Port St John, FL, USA

Having often rubbed shoulders (almost literally) with soldiers on patrol in Northern Ireland and Israel, I cannot help thinking those who opened fire and killed Mr. Calipari would have observed the various rules their training drills into their minds before using their weapons. This is a tragedy and I suspect it is nobody's fault, and would rather all who have so much to say let Mr Calipari rest in peace by admitting that.
Peter Fleetwood, St Gallen, Switzerland

I thought we were there to free the people and bring democracy to the country
Gregory Clay, Rome, Italy
It has been nearly two years since the invasion of Iraq and still one cannot drive to Baghdad airport in safety. I thought we were there to free the people and bring democracy to the country. Perhaps, if the Italians get their troops out of Iraq, as the majority of Italians want, we will be able to say the US has brought a bit of democracy to Italy.
Gregory Clay, Rome, Italy

Where in the civilized world can one be safe from the American military juggernaut? Mr Calipari was a hero in the truest sense of the word, and my heart goes out to his family. There are some who accuse that this tragic debacle would not have taken place if a ransom had not been involved, but it was no ransom that murdered Mr Calipari, and it is now patently clear as to why the USA is against an international war crimes court.
Julian, Mainz, Germany

The claim that they were deliberately attacked is incredibly absurd. Sgrena is just using the whole tragic affair to further the anti-American sentiment in Italy.
Robert G, Calgary, Canada

My thoughts go also to soldiers who know they have killed innocent people, by mistake, or by overreacting in self-defence
R Luypaert, Belgium
I wish to express my condolences to the family of Nicola Calipari. But my thoughts go also to soldiers who know they have killed innocent people, by mistake, or by overreacting in self-defence and have to live with that thought for the rest of their lives. I hope that there will be peace in Iraq, and that the forces are doing their best to limit casualties as much as possible.
R Luypaert, Belgium

My sympathy goes out to Mr Calipari's family - they have lost so much, and we have gained a hero. But why? Why was Mr Calipari required to be heroic? Does anyone know anymore with Iraq? It's time the US admitted it didn't know what it was doing when it went in to Iraq, that it doesn't know what it is doing there now. It is time to let the Iraqi's enjoy the freedom the Americans so graciously won for them, before anymore families are asked to swap a loved one for a dead hero.
Graeme Morris, Crewe, England

Yet another case of poorly trained and fatigued soldiers making mistakes, the USA has embarrassed itself once again. Maybe instead of blaming the driver they should rethink their communications apparatus and their roadblock strategy?
Angus Matheson, Dunedin, New Zealand

It is these ransoms that are in part financing the terrorist attacks in Iraq
John, Luxembourg
Mr Calipari died a hero. That is clear. The events leading up to his death are not, as yet. Also, it is not yet clear if a ransom was paid for Ms Sgrena's release. The Italian government should make this just as clear as the US government should come clean with what happened that night. It is these ransoms that are in part financing the terrorist attacks in Iraq which kill innocents and coalition forces every day. Is the life of one Italian journalist, who knew the risks, more important than hundreds of others, including brave men like Mr Calipari, now and in the future? I don't think so.
John, Luxembourg

The death of the Italian agent is tragic and sorrowful. I never believed in this war and still do not. However, to say that my countrymen would willingly shoot at a vehicle to kill unknown people is a lie. The situation is probably one of confusion and apprehension. If the check point was makeshift, then there is good chance that the Italians did not see the warnings. In a country where shootings are common place, warning shots may have had an opposite effect on the car's driver. This shooting is tragic, and may be irresponsible, but not malicious.
Diego, Philadelphia, PA

I am an Englishman living in Rome and the only thing that is clear to me about this tragic affair is that we will never know the truth about what happened and that whatever one's opinion, Signor Calipari obviously died in an incredibly brave and selfless manner - rightly he is celebrated as a national hero here in Italy. What I do not understand is how everyone seems to be so utterly sure about the actual sequence of events, when that sequence is apparently infinite in its variety of possibilities. My feeling is simply that this whole situation is a tragic one and that the sooner the western democracies leave Iraq the better.
Ian Pearson, Roma, Italy

Yet another tragic death in a senseless war. My sincere condolences to the family of Nicola Calipari.
Hank Meves, Shelbyville, KY, USA

Does Giuliana Sgrena really think the USA fired on her purposely?
John, Chicago, USA
It is truly tragic that Nicola Calipari died while performing a heroic duty, but does Giuliana Sgrena really think the USA fired on her purposely? If they wanted everyone in that car dead, everyone would have died. Stop with the conspiracy theories already.
John, Chicago, USA

As a US citizen, I offer my condolences to the Calipari family and to the people of Italy. I am grieved for your loss, and I am grieved for my nation's complicity in this tragic incident. My soul is heartbroken that a number of my countrymen have taken this opportunity not to offer condolences, but to point the finger of blame in the direction of the Italians. I suppose that's easier and less threatening than taking a hard look at the deficiencies of our present policies and actions, and doing what we can to demand a more honest and righteous government.
Denise Spaulding, Catlettsburg, KY, USA

I feel sorry for Mr Calipari and I pray for his wife and children. It's sad to think the life of this man is lost because of a mistake. What is the value of human lives nowadays?
Lucia Argibay, Bella Vista , Buenos Aires, Argentina

A man that sacrifices his life for another without hesitation is so rare in today's world
Annalisa, Cameri, Italy
A Hero! This is the only true comfort for his family. A man that sacrifices his life for another without hesitation is so rare in today's world that he must be taken as an example in our everyday life. What is very important for us all is that the US must learn a little bit of humility and maybe they must not act as it they are the sole owners of the truth. I hope that Mr Bush, as a true Christian, tells Nicola's family the truth so that his family can be sure that his courage was not in vane.
Annalisa, Cameri, Italy

I am very surprised at several of the comments blaming Ms Sgrena. She was doing her job in Iraq, trying to report the news. Everyone seems to have forgotten this is not a war, but an invasion that has terribly wrong. Ms Sgrena should be lauded for her courage to try to bring the truth of Falluja to the world.
Carla Veltman, Amsterdam, Nederland

Ms Sgrena works for Il Manifesto, a newspaper at the left of the left. Her comments are therefore designed to generate the maximum amount of damage for the United States. She never mentioned that her captors were in for the money and Italy, after all, had always paid.
Marino Fabris, Groveland, Massachusetts, USA

It is absurd to believe that a man of Mr Calipari's experience would not be aware of the danger of ignoring warning signals in that area, and under those circumstances. It is also absurd to build conspiracy theories. Panic reaction from inexperienced and over exposed troops appears to be a more logical explanation for this tragic war incident.
Enrico Clerici, Singapore

The Italian government ought to realise that paying ransoms can only reinforce that hostage taking is a viable source for terrorist funding
Gian Piero DePaolis, Rome, Italy
Ms Sgrena, before attacking the US, ought to examine her own conscience. After all it was her decision to enter into Iraq without the support of her government that led to this tragic event. Secondly, the Italian government ought to realise that paying ransoms can only reinforce that hostage taking is a viable source for terrorist funding.
Gian Piero DePaolis, Rome, Italy

If the argument that Ms Sgrena was shot because the US wants to keep her silent is to be considered a legitimate possibility, then the possibility that she is making false accusations because she is personally against the war in Iraq should also be considered just as legitimate.
Bob Anders, Westwood, CA, USA

I have just read Ms Sgrena's first person account of her escape 'This is the Truth', in which she is adamant that it was an attempt to kill her which resulted in Mr Calipari's death. I would trust her testimony over the denials and obfuscations of the US propaganda machine, which is known to be self-serving.
Nigel, New Zealand

This shooting is typical of the Americans' policy of 'shoot first, ask questions later'. People ask why the car was driving so fast, but on what is quite possibly the world's most dangerous road would you drive at a serene 20mph? The Americans must at last reassess their 'rules of engagement' that have been a problem since the war began, and attempt to show that they are not occupiers, but a security force.
James, London

A tragic loss for the Italians. He was a courageous man and obviously loved his country greatly. I hope that there is a real explanation to what the US forces did.
Mahmoud Khobieh, Montreal, Canada

This was a tragic event and a horrible accident. This man served his country well and should be remembered with great admiration.
Maggie, Portland, Or, USA

Surely the Italians could have made arrangements to safely transport the reporter by air
Sharon, Pennsylvania, USA
Americans mourn the death of a brave civil servant. No one condones the event. But the road to Baghdad airport is the most dangerous six miles in the world. Our government people use helicopters to travel it. Surely the Italians could have made arrangements to safely transport the reporter by air. I believe it was a bureaucratic screw-up of monumental proportions. No one in civil authority will take the blame... only the lowly soldier whose life is on the line each day.
Sharon, Pennsylvania, USA

This tragic event is just another indication that the USA now regards Iraq as its own property and that anybody, regardless of their country of origin, is regarded as an "insurgent" - and shot. All European nations should think very hard before sending their people to Iraq, and consider where the biggest danger to their safety lies.
Sally Jones, Liverpool

This was certainly a terrible tragedy and my sympathies go out to his family. However, before we start throwing out conspiracy theories or mislabelling US soldiers, I hope that you'll remember the frequent suicide bombings that these soldiers face each day. If I were there and a car was speeding toward me, ignoring my signals to stop....I'd shoot first and ask questions later, too.
Chris Cobb, Florida, USA

His death is devastating to those of us who still believe in Iraq and the sacrifices of the bold American and coalition forces
John Willard, Atlanta, USA
Many Americans have been questioning the courage of Western Europeans. Mr Calipari answered that question with a rare brand of self-reflexive bravery and a genuine, heroic sacrifice for another human being. This agent was a soldier and a hero. And his death is devastating to those of us who still believe in Iraq and the sacrifices of the bold American and coalition forces. Ms Sgrena is a communist columnist who hated this war. And the cynic in me is confident she and her publication see this entire story as a good thing. I fear they will exploit Calipari's death. Ciao Nicola - you were a better man than most.
John Willard, Atlanta, Georgia USA

Enough US soldiers have been killed at these checkpoints that any "secret agent" should know to slow down when instructed, or risk the chance of being shot. I'm sure the US government will lock up one or two of the young men who involved in the shooting in order to please the Italian government. But the fact is that in many other cases those soldiers would have been saving their own lives by taking the exact same actions. This was not a case of shoot first. These people ignored common sense and multiple warnings. The allegations that this was part of a conspiracy are absurd.
Jim, USA

Poor Mr Calipari - now Nicola for every Italian - he has done much more than his duty and somebody has the courage to doubt if our presence in Iraq is right or wrong. If Nicola hadn't been in Iraq the two Simonas wouldn't have been freed, neither would Ms Sgrena. Stop polemics, please; if journalists are in search of their scoop but they risk their own life, please thank people like Nicola, because it's only thanks to their sense of duty that they - hostages - can return home. While Nicola can do it no more.
Patrizia Zanetti, Verona, Italy

Every Italian should be aware they are now kidnapping bait for terrorists
Rich Steinmetz, Winchester, US
I am saddened by the death of Mr Calipari. He was a brave man that did a brave thing for a government that just made one of the most irresponsible decisions. Will Europe never learn? Every Italian should be aware they are now kidnapping bait for terrorists. The first time they don't pay the question will be why save Ms Sgrena and not me, not to mention some of that ransom will go to buy weapons that will be used against their very own troops. Mr Calipari was shot because Italy tried to hide the decision to pay off the terrorist. They knew it had to be kept secret, thus they told no one. So when they sped away as fast as possible to avoid the terrorist and detection they made a fatal mistake. I am sorry for that, I'm sorry this man was put in that position. He like so many secret agents are the heroes that pay the price for bad government policy. Europe is going to pay a high price for this. As for Mr Calipari, may he rest in peace.
Rich Steinmetz, Winchester, US

The killing of Nicola Calipari is completely unacceptable, as is indeed any killing of innocent people; however, I find it hard to accept Ms Sgrena's allegations. The US would achieve nothing by killing her after the negotiations were completed - except the kind of condemnation they are now facing.
Nina, Spain

A day ago a Bulgarian soldier was killed by American friendly fire. It seems the talk about the quality of US troops training is highly exaggerated. Judging by these killings, the US soldiers seem more like teenagers playing a computer game. Unfortunately, the targets are real people. It's a shame.
Stefan Kirov, Knoxville, USA

You have to feel sorry for Mr Calipari and his family, but there has to be more to this incident? Do you really believe the Americans would shoot them on purpose and hope no one would notice? If they did it on purpose I don't think they would have left some alive to tell the story.
Fran, USA

This is a shameful time for Italy. Sgrena speaks lies because she is emotional. First, when the US military orders your car to stop you must stop! Do not accelerate. Second, our country paid a huge ransom for Sgrena's release. The insurgents need money badly, now they know where to get it, more Italian kidnappings! Third, Sgrena will never speak the truth about Americans. What happened to the golden rule about not speaking false testimony about a neighbour?
Adriano Arrigoni, Nicoletti, Italia

Mr Calipari is a real national hero! I hope the Italian prime minister will now review his stance towards the war and presence in Iraq, let him now ask himself was the US mission in Iraq as human as his agent's!
Nada, Syria

It is unfortunate that Ms Sgrena has elected to use the death of this brave soul to sell newspapers
Thomas, Heidelberg, Germany
It is truly tragic that her repatriation had to end this way. Mr Calipari is a true hero as is any person who voluntarily sacrifices to save another, much the way 1,500 US soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for the Iraqi people thus far. It is unfortunate that Ms Sgrena has elected to use the death of this brave soul to sell newspapers and advance her political agenda. Her actions are disgraceful and at the end of the day I suspect we will find that it was her actions and not the conspiracy she intimates that cause this tragic incident.
Thomas, Heidelberg, Germany

Apparently the Italian secret service agents bungled a simple operation, but the Italians won't admit it. Everybody in Iraq knows that you don't speed toward US checkpoints, and you certainly don't speed up when soldiers fire warning shots. And for Ms Sgrena to claim that US troops fired on her on purpose? Preposterous! How could she possibly believe that she is that important? While making an outrageous claim like that, it suddenly brings into perspective that she's a journalist for a left-wing newspaper.
Sandin, Wheeling, WV, USA

There needs to be some sort of standardized procedure while entering checkpoints in Iraq
Ralph Kimball, USA
There needs to be some sort of standardized procedure while entering checkpoints in Iraq. Troops are under a lot of pressure, light on the trigger and in life or death situations. All of this and only a split second to make a decision. Tragic, the death of Calipari, but this is a recipe waiting to be repeated, again.
Ralph Kimball, USA

Italy being a coalition partner the shooting is being investigated, but how many shootings and killings of the innocent Iraqi people have not been investigated. The driver who took the released journalist has confirmed that the maximum speed they touched was a mere 40/50 km per hour. Will the truth about the shooting ever be revealed ?
SH Moulana, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Although it is very sad that this man died there is absolutely no reason for the ex-hostage to be speaking so damningly about the conduct of American troops. She put herself in the situation, caused the hostage situation, caused the PR situation so should accept all responsibility for this agent's death. To my mind she is passing the buck and true to journalistic bias is making news which she is paid for. She should be arrested and face the courts for her irresponsible behaviour.
Stan, St Lucia/UK

His death is truly an unfortunate event and shows the dangers still present in Iraq. Ms Sgrena has been saying that the US shot at the car on purpose. She should put aside her hatred of the US and understand that a mistake was made.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

It is only when westerners die do these stories get our attention
Maria P, Greece
The incident is really tragic. What is equally tragic is that although Iraq is full of similar stories where Iraqi civilians died, it is only when westerners die do these stories get our attention and someone bothers to count the dead.
Maria P, Greece

The European Union can't allow this kind of behaviour. A European citizen has been killed possibly because someone from the US wanted to hide some information about this illegal war. It's necessary to open an official investigation from the UN about this terrible incident and responsibility must be taken at the highest levels of US administrations.
Mario, Spain

He probably knew something (maybe about the kidnapping) that the US didn't want anyone to know. Maybe everyone travelling past the armed guards at those checkpoints need to wear body armour.
Gita, India

I fear that this ugly incident will further tarnish the already soiled reputation of US troops in Iraq
AJ, Baltimore, MD, USA
Mr Calipari died performing a noble and courageous act, and in doing so has earned the respect and grief of many around the world. Like many Americans, I am eager to find out exactly why US troops fired upon Mr Calipari and Ms Sgrena, and to see those responsible brought to justice. I fear that this ugly incident will further tarnish the already soiled reputation of US troops in Iraq.
AJ, Baltimore, MD, USA

Makes one wonder how many innocent Iraqis are killed the same way.
Mario Antoni, Rome, Italy

It was a mistake pure and simple. Why keep asking for apologies?
Phil Mulley, London

My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Calipari's family at this difficult time.
Mohamed Ahmed Ali, Cairo, Egypt

I'm sure Mr Calipari was a brave man and I extend my deepest sympathy to his family. The reason for his tragic death is the Italian government's decision to negotiate and untimely pay for the release of Ms Sgrena without informing the US forces in the region.
TM, Virginia, USA

He gave the ultimate sacrifice to secure a fellow Italian's life
Mary McCannon, Hungary
He gave the ultimate sacrifice to secure a fellow Italian's life and became a national hero of Italy. I wish everybody would stop for a moment and ask themselves: would I do it? As for me, I know I would have not, since I am far too scared to go any near to Iraq. Knowing this he became my hero as well.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

A very tragic end for a real hero. The US has a lot of explaining to do to its own soldiers, its allies and to the Iraqi people who they said would be liberated from fear and violence. So far, so bad.
Rafael M Alunan III, Manila, Philippines

A terrible shame, a woman who had shown great courage and strength throughout her ordeal and the moment that all of Italy has been waiting for is ruined by the "shoot first ask questions later" actions of the US military. I would be a little more understanding but after repeated incidents of friendly fire it is hard to sympathise.
Chris, Dundee, Scotland

Human words will never do justice to his bravery; tears and sorrow are never going to express the sadness of his people, those who killed him are going to be sorry for the rest of their lives, his memory will always be a wake up call to all those who sent frightened young Americans to liberate Iraq. In their panic, the death toll is always on the up. This casualty had a story that made it to the papers. Many Iraqi lives just expired at the checkpoints, some bled to death, others blown up in smoke.
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan




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