Tuesday, March 15, 2005

How Many Americans Has Sgrena Killed?

We already know that Giuliana Sgrena is responsible for the death of Nicola Calipari, the Italian agent killed by American fire after negotiating Sgrena's ransom and release from the people Sgrena claimed were holding her against her will (the question remains open whether Calipari's death was due merely to stupidity on Sgrena's part, or active collusion with her alleged captors). Now we can begin to quantify the comfort and material aid that Sgrena's ransom will provide to the terrorists.

Leaving aside the suspicious details of this woman's "abduction" and taking the lowest estimate of the ransom reportedly paid for her "release" gives the terrorists $6 million (some estimates are as high as $13.4 million) with which to work mischief. With that figure we can estimate some of the possible benefits to the Islamist terrorist movement. What can the $6 million buy for Sgrena's purported captors?

In terms of materiél, the terrorists can now purchase 6,000 to 9,000 rocket propelled grenades, a popular weapon for attacking US convoys. Even at a conservative estimate of 1 US death per 1,000 RPG attacks, Sgrena has managed to kill 6-9 American soldiers - or a much greater number of Iraqi civilians if the insurgents decide to operate in terrorist mode.

But maybe Sgrena's "Resistance" chums would prefer to put their newfound capital into shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, like the one that downed a British Hercules transport, killing 10. That 6 mil ought to get them 4 or 5 hundred of these missiles. And these are guided - heat-seeking - so even used by untrained, ululating psychopaths that number should bring down at least 40-50 Coalition aircraft. Figure a low average occupancy of 5 people per plane or helicopter, and Sgrena has purchased the deaths of 200-250 soldiers. Not bad for what may have been just a few weeks sabbatical communing with close friends.

Maybe Sgrena will hit the jackpot. What if her hosts are connected to al Qaeda? $6 million should be enough to get at least 1,000 dedicated terrorists into the US with top quality forged identification. On September 11, 2001 19 terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans.

Whether Sgrena actively participated in a plot to finance terrorist operations or is merely a stupid, irresponsible dupe, Americans will likely be left to pay the butcher's bill.