Constant readers of Middle East expert Robert Fisk's Iraq war coverage for The Independent of London覧and his sudden silence覧may want to know he's on a bit of R & R, and was not kidnapped. Among his scoops have been the Raytheon stock numbers on a slice of the missile that hit the suburban Baghdad marketplace, killing nearly 70; and, more recently, the US staged "Saddam statue toppling" in Baghdad with 200 "extras" (journalists/exiles) crammed into one corner of the vast empty square.
. A spokeswoman for the paper's foreign editor emailed early this morning that: "Having spent a number of weeks reporting from Baghdad, Mr. Fisk is now taking short break." Whew! In view of US forces rigid censorship覧jamming Net sources, shelling 2 foreign news agencies, etc.覧some of us were a bit concerned.
Fisk is a reporter who is a writer (there's a big difference) and equipped with a scholarly and field expertise of the Middle East, based on three decades of living there. If you've not read his stuff, boot up the Independent's archives (www.news.independent.co.uk). Or wait for his next filings in the paper. His book on the Lebanon "troubles" (Pity the Nation) is a seminal work for those wanting to understand that part of the region as it is today覧and a bloody prediction of what's ahead for Iraq if Bush and his blockheads succeed in setting up their puppet "democracy" ($20 at Powells, etc.; the library has 2 copies).