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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Italian agent death report: Your reaction
Nicola Calipari
An Italian journalist who was held hostage in Iraq has branded a US military report into the killing of the agent who helped secure her release "a slap in the face".

Nicola Calipari was killed by US forces in March as he travelled towards Baghdad airport with journalist Giuliana Sgrena who had been held by kidnappers for over a month.

US military investigators have concluded that American soldiers who killed an Italian secret agent at a Baghdad checkpoint were "not culpable" in a report which Italy has not endorsed.

What do you think of the US military investigators' report? Do you think Italy should accept the findings? What affect will the report have on Italy's relationship with the US?

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:

This topic was suggested by Luca Biason, England:
Clearing the US soldiers of any responsibility for Calipari's death is another outrageous verdict. Is this country really the standard-bearer for human rights?

You are guarding a checkpoint, there have been many car bombings in the area, you see a speeding car come toward you and you signal for them to stop, they keep coming, what would you do? If the soldiers had been wearing any uniform except that of the US, everyone would understand and probably praise them for doing the right thing.
Mike, USA

The smart thing for US to do is to conduct a joint-investigation with the Italian government and don't issue a report until all sides agree. The worst thing USA can do is to issue a report without Italian government endorsement. Hopefully, US military won't do anything stupid to alienate one of the few remaining allies in Europe, but I guess Iraq war is coming to a close so Bush probably doesn't care.
Man Cho, Chicago, USA

I am retired from the US military and I have seen US guards shoot our own soldiers for failing to halt when told to halt. You cannot drive through guarded checkpoints and run when the guard says stop. If you ignore the guards you are asking to be shot and should not complain if that happens.
Dennis, Alabama, USA

These people are meant to be professionals
DW, Chicago USA

The US Army has a ridiculously high volume of friendly fire incidents. It must be held accountable, training should be improved, and the gung ho trigger happy mentality should be stamped out! These people are meant to be professionals, not merely cannon fodder!
DW, Chicago USA

It was a predictable outcome. I think Italy should withdraw all its troops to register its disapproval. The US doesn't respond to anything but decisive action.
Alexander Johnson, Kingston, Jamaica

The American soldiers said the car was speeding and did not stop when warned. The Italian witnesses say the car was driving slowly, they had informed the US they were coming and there was no such warning. What we know for a fact is that several hundreds of rounds were expended at the car. Personally, I don't believe that Calipari was killed because of who he was, but rather through nerves and incompetence.
James Simmons, Slough, UK

From what I read the report concludes that the American soldiers were "not culpable" as they had followed correct procedure to the letter, which is to say that the Italians that were shot at in the car are lying. I don't know as I was not there but I would think that if a heavily armed quick triggered American soldier shouted, flashed lights and fired warning shots at me I would stop. That fact the this report does not even consider this more likely scenario makes it nothing more than a white wash.
James, Finland

Greatest respects to Mr Calipari. He died doing what he believed in, sacrificing himself for the welfare of his charge. It takes no great leap of imagination to see scared troops, on the most dangerous route in the world, overreacting to circumstances. To heap scorn on the US over this incident says more about your prejudices than your knowledge of actual facts or how they relate to the investigation.
Chris, US

The USA needs to take responsibility for what they have done. Innocent people are dead and the USA government stands by and holds no-one responsible, again.
J Myers, USA

The purpose of these investigations is to buy time and later dismiss the charges
Aamir Ali, Pakistan

The purpose of these investigations is to buy time and later dismiss the charges. How many times have we heard before that the Americans were going to investigate and then all a few months later all charges are dropped?
Aamir Ali, Pakistan

In the time honoured tradition of the US military, which I served for 20 years, officers and, when possible, soldiers are exonerated for crimes in mock justice proceedings calculated to lodge a legalism. I have heard that in the past they were tried and convicted, then fined $1 in order to clear the books. Later, it was decided that they could be tried and found innocent with adequate protection.

I was never a victim of this justice, but have suffered from the lack of honesty within the military structure. Soldiers shirk their duties, but officers lie through their teeth. The higher the rank the easier they get by with it. Lower ranks may pay the price if they can serve as a scapegoat for higher crimes and misdemeanours by generals and colonels. There are terms for the system and information in the slang of soldiers.
Frank Goodman, Sunrise, Florida, USA

If this happened to a car with allied military forces onboard, what can happen to an Iraqi person driving a normal car? What happens every day to common people that we'll never know about?
Alessandro Marchi, Verona, Italy

If they think they may be punished arbitrarily for their actions they will hesitate when they should act
Rusty, Trumbull, Connecticut

The report does not state that the US did everything right, it states that the soldiers themselves were not culpable because they were following standard procedures. They did what they were supposed to do. Any wrongdoing leading up to this horrible accident could be attributed to the visibility of the checkpoint, the attentiveness of the driver, and a breakdown in communications.

The US cannot punish its soldiers for following procedures. These soldiers have to make life or death decisions in seconds, and if they think they may be punished arbitrarily for their actions they will hesitate when they should act. Keep in mind, there have been hundreds of successful car bombs and other attacks on military personnel and relatively few incidents of this sort.
Rusty, Trumbull, Connecticut, USA

We here in the US support out troops 100%. The investigation is over and the final report is issued. Live with it you EU people.
Barbara, New York City, USA

Sadly it seems the US population have succumbed to the brainwashing of their media and feel the Iraq war and the way they have gone about it was the right thing to do because "they were attacked". I feel nothing but shame for my country being involved in this mess as do the many people I speak to on the subject. My heart goes out to the family of Mr Calipari and the countless other innocents the Americans have killed in this war of aggression.
Martin Shaw, London, UK

In my observation of the facts I stand solidly behind the Americans. In a war zone everyone must play their part to prevent casualties. If the car was speeding even for good reasons, then the US forces should have been notified clearly as to the situation. Anything short of this can be a matter of life and death.
Ron Henderson, New Brunswick, Canada

The sad truth is we have an administration that buries the truth more often than pirates bury treasure. There is zero reason for anyone in our government to come clean about either mistakes or actual abuses as they will almost always get off lightly, if not walk scot-free, so long as they toe the line. Did we bear some responsibility for what occurred? Who can actually tell? My guess from talking to those returning for action is that is that someone got a bit trigger happy and that this time it was not some worthless Iraqi whose family got shot on the way to the store, but a figure worthy of media attention.
David Antolovich, Solon, Ohio

Let's see, put a young 18 or 19-year-old out in the middle of a area that is known to attack troops without any warning, then tell them to not fire on what they consider to be a threat to their very lives, come on folks think about it! Maybe we should ask ourselves, what would we have done in this situation? Maybe it's time we all stop blaming these young men and women that in reality would rather be home doing what most teenagers do, you know go out on dates, spend time with their family's. Until you know what it's like to stand the wall, keep your opinions to yourself, either that you can volunteer for four years to put yourself on the line, grab a weapon, and lets see how you would react!
Bryan R, Syracuse, NY, USA

What does "not culpable" mean exactly - I suspect it means one can't build a case against the soldiers who actually fired. I wonder if they have been briefed that the car was coming and what form that briefing took (which might put the responsibility on the command structure). Apart from that: US bullets, US command, US soldiers, US investigators, yes this is about the result I expected.
A Schaefer, Cologne, Germany

Blaming the Americans for the danger overlooks the fact that it was in an extremely dangerous place
Andrea, NY, USA
Italy should make its own conclusions. We all know it was a dangerous predicament to be in. But blaming the Americans for the danger overlooks the fact that it was in an extremely dangerous place, in an extremely dangerous war. To expect absolute safety is impossibly naive. More American bashing if you ask me.
Andrea, NY, USA

The USA, Italy and all democratic nations of the world, as well as the citizens of non-democratic nations, have a common goal in consolidating democracy for the good of the Iraqi people. Any victim in the ultimate analysis is a victim of terrorism (first kidnapped by them, then killed under a tense environment full of risk from them) and since they went to Iraq taking huge risk in order to help the Iraqi people, is ultimately a hero in this common effort. The enemies are those people who, with the use of indiscriminate terror, are trying to deny the people of Iraq their opportunity to build their future on a democratic, non-terrorized society.
Rodrigo Montealegre, Managua, Nicaragua

First you must understand the dangerous situation the soldiers are in. When the car received warnings to stop they should have stopped. This is a war zone, even if I was driving here at home and a police officer signalled to slow down or stop - you do it!
Maureen Thompson, New York, USA

This is another US whitewash. Of course they never do anything wrong. Berlusconi would go down if he was facing another election.
Ken Landers, Sydney, Australia

The Americans were following their orders. If the car was moving at too fast a speed, they were correct in what they did. For the Italians it is 20-20 hind sight and sour grapes.
Richard Pence, Charlotte, NC, USA

I had hoped that the death of a European would bring attention to these injustices
Mark Chakoian, Chicago, USA
Because of car bombs and other attacks, it is understandable that checkpoint troops are on edge, but there is something terribly wrong with operating procedures when innocent victims are shot as they approach. I'm sure that this has happened to many Iraqis, and I had hoped that the death of a European would bring attention to these injustices so that the problem could not be ignored. There is no excuse for the death of Nicola Calipari and other innocent victims of US troops. If those responsible of killing Calipari truly 'did nothing wrong,' then the procedure that they followed needs to be changed.
Mark Chakoian, Chicago, USA

One man is dead two people are injured. The US claims that everything was done by the book and no one is to blame. Either things did not happen by the book or the book is wrong.
Elsa G, Greece

Sometimes it seems as though it's inconceivable to the rest of the world that any actions or controversy committed on the part of Americans isn't apart of some widespread and dastardly American Imperialistic design. What seems more at issue here is the world's gullibility in believing that several privates are so enmeshed in this conspiracy to punish the world's political dissidents that they intentionally fired on a journalist because of her political beliefs. I'm politically active and I was barely aware of her politics, you're telling me 19-year-old boys on the front line are analyzing the impact of her paltry reach and deciding it was actionable? Much more likely that they were doing their jobs and protecting their lives, and the lives of their buddies as best they could.
Frank, Houston, Texas, USA

I hope that Italy withdraws its troops from Iraq and stops supporting this occupation
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK
He was a brave man risking his life to help others. I hope that some good comes from his death at the hands of the Americans. I hope that Italy withdraws its troops from Iraq and stops supporting this occupation.
John, Hemel Hempstead, UK

The US military investigators report is a cover up of grave proportions. I also believe an independent investigation is needed and Italy should not accept the findings until this occurs. The findings if you can loosely call them that are a disservice to Calipari's family. I however do not think the relationship between the US and Italy will suffer but the US owes Italy a better and far reaching explanation than what has been given.
Dorothy VanBrocklin, Tucson, AZ, USA

I'm glad that the investigators reported the facts and defended the actions of the soldiers despite political fallout with the Italians. This is an unfortunate loss of life however, it would be even more unfair to penalize soldiers for following standard operating procedures especially in a danger zone.
Kathy, Dacula, GA

I think the report is quite simply a whitewash. Yet again the arrogance and contempt for human life by the US astounds me. The only believable findings would be from an independent investigation, say made by the UK or another participating country in Iraq. Had the boot been on the other foot I think the US would be shouting from every corner.
Ed H, UK (currently US)

While Calipari's death is a tragedy, it is hard to believe that American forces conspired against Sgrena. Isn't it possible that this was just one of many terrible accidents that happen in Iraq every day?
David Klein, Philadelphia, USA

These dangers are ever present in a war zone
Dwayne Chastain, Ohio
The whole situation, as unfortunate as it was, should be put to rest. These dangers are ever present in a war zone and anyone within it is taking a constant risk with their lives. With that said, my hope is that the Italian and American relationship will suffer no long term damage and the findings of this investigation will finalize the whole ordeal.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio, USA

Let me see, US military killing, US investigation, no US guilt or responsibility - yeah right. Italy should not accept this finding but demand answers. This is yet another classic example of abuse of power. Just because you are the most powerful war machine in the world today does not excuse you from bullying behaviour.
Daz, Basingstoke, UK

The fog of war. Note to self - if in Iraq riding in a speeding car heading towards an American checkpoint... stop!
Todd, Virginia, USA

Well, they would say that wouldn't they! Would it not have made more sense to have a neutral body conduct any enquiry?
Lucy, Stirling

The "culpable" people are the terrorists who capture, imprison, behead, and humiliate their captives, not the US troops who are trying to defeat them. Where is the criticism of these so-called insurgents? I have never heard Sgrena speak out against her captors. This event is another opportunity to pour vitriol on the US while exonerating the real criminals.
John C, New York, USA

Does anyone really expect something different after the official report on the Abu Ghraib inquiry? It seems to be a whitewash-season for the US. Despite that I feel terribly sorry for the relatives of the late Mr Calipari. They probably will never get any close to the truth as to how their beloved one died and who is responsible for his death, hence they will never find their inner peace.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

US clears troops over Italy death
25 Apr 05 |  Americas


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