I didn't know anything about Steven Vincent until I read the op-ed piece he wrote for this past Sunday's New York Times on the unwillingness of British troops to confront Islamic extremism in Basra. If he was a supporter of the war, well, fine by me -- the Times column makes it clear that he was willing to criticize the Coalition and the Iraqis now in power. It seems to me that he wanted a pluralist, tolerant Iraq and wasn't going to close ranks with other war supporters and mindlessly cheerlead.
And now he's dead. It seems likely that some of the assassins he wrote about in the New York Times piece killed him to silence him, but The Times of London offers another possible explanation:
James Hider, Times correspondent in Iraq, was with Vincent in Basra last week....
Hider said that there was another theory about why Vincent died. "He openly criticised the militias, in particular the influence of the maverick Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr over the police. But he may also have been a victim of the strict moral codes now imposed on the once libertine southern port: people knew he was having an affair with an Iraqi woman, and spoke of it [in] disapproving whispers around the hotel."
Assassinated for having an affair. The mere fact that a friend and colleague finds that plausible gives you a sense of what sort of monster we've allowed to develop in southern Iraq.