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Turning the other cheek?

The recent kidnaping of some "Christian Peace Activists" has provoked a lot of heated discussion around the blogosphere. The group they belonged to, Christian Peacemaker Teams, sounds wonderful on the surface -- until one looks a bit more carefully.

CPT had its "observer" teams in Iraq since 2002, before the US invasion -- and even then, they weren't there to document existing human rights abuses, but to prepare for the attack. Their sole function seems to be to find whatever flaws they can in the behavior of the US, to the exclusion of any and all atrocities committed by the other side. In fact, as their own people are being held and threatened with death, they exonerate their abductors and place the full onus on their fate on the US and our allies.

Also, CPT has as its core belief a complete repudiation of violence. In that spirit, any attempt to rescue their team members would involve the use of violence, and the compunction to respect their beliefs is great.

With all that in mind, the temptation to simply ignore their abduction, to leave them to their own fate, is tremendous. Lord knows that was my first instinct, as well as my second, and third, and so on.

But I've come to a different conclusion. And it was, of all things, our recent discussion of state quarters that tipped my opinion.

Legend has it that in Texas, one valid defense to a murder charge is "he needed killing." It sums up the notion that there are some people out there without whom the world would be an infinitely better place.

The kidnapers of these CPT people strike me as some people that "need killing." They've already shown what sort of tactics they practice, and the next time they might not choose someone so sympathetic to their cause.

I don't think we should put a single US soldier at risk to save them from the hands of their erstwhile allies cum abductors. But I think those abductors need to be found and killed. If, in the process, we happen to save the CPT folk, all the better. I wish them no harm.

But I know that should their lives be spared by acts of violence, they will never forgive those that save them. It would be a gross violation of their stated ethical principles, and a repudiation of all they stand for. As someone who believes in respecting the beliefs and principles whenever possible, I think that must be honored.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Turning the other cheek?:

» All Things Beautiful linked with The Islamofascist Manifesto

» Religion of Peace? One-Stop Shopping For War on Terror News linked with BRITISH CHARITY WORKER, KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ

» Once More into the Breach linked with BRITISH CHARITY WORKER, KIDNAPPED IN IRAQ

» ReidBlog linked with Can/Should these people be saved?

Comments (33)

Spot on.... (Below threshold)

Spot on.

I wonder how the 'Stockholm... (Below threshold)

I wonder how the 'Stockholm Syndrome' would work in this case?

So you would allow , perhap... (Below threshold)

So you would allow , perhaps even encourage, someone to commit suicide? Sense it is what they believe is right for them at that time and "repect for other's beliefs" and all that.. right?
Just askin'

I don't think we should ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

I don't think we should put a single US soldier at risk to save them from the hands of their erstwhile allies cum abductors.

As much as I disagree with the "they had it coming/they get what they deserve" crowd, I really agree with not contributing one soldier to saving their hides.

This isn't "Saving Private Ryan"; this is "Saving Stupid Private Citizens" from a deadly situation they knowingly subjected themselves to.

Not one soldier should be sent to save them. Though it's entirely probable that a mission is already underway. After and when and if they are saved, the entire CPT organization should be rounded up and sent out of Iraq immediately. Any return or attempted return should lead to jail time.

Oh, did anyone catch this little gem on the CPT site? Brilliant.

If the "abductors" get thei... (Below threshold)

If the "abductors" get their ramson money, they'll use that to continue their operations. I wouldn't be surprised if this "abduction" isn't just a fundraiser.

'this is "Saving Stupid Pri... (Below threshold)

'this is "Saving Stupid Private Citizens"'

Actually it's even worse than that - it's saving fucking ingrates

WrongWingLiberal:I d... (Below threshold)

I disagree with your analogy, and here's why.

1) You don't risk your own life to prevent a suicide. But if you could prevent a suicide at no human cost to anyone else, you would work to prevent it.

In this case, if we knew where the hostages were being held, and they were not being guarded, yes, we would be obligated to help them. On the other hand, at present, we are not obligated to put forth effort to discover their location, or to put forth risk to rescue them.

2) In war, rules are a bit sketchier than on the streets here at home. If someone works against our cause, it's not immoral to deny them aid.

3) Suicide is illegal in the States for the sole purpose of encouraging intervention. In Iraq, we have no such obligation.

4) They will never forgive us if we rescue them. And while that's probably the same thing that would happen if we prevented a suicide, these guys are likely to get more press coverage.

The thing is, if we save th... (Below threshold)

The thing is, if we save them, will they not turn-around and condemn those that risked their lives for theirs? Frankly, we should do nothing...save put a JDAM through the window if we figure out where they are. You want to work for the other side in a war...then you pay the price for your convictions.

Hopefully they Jihadi's will make an example of them and we can watch them get their heads chopped off.

Good points. I shoulda thou... (Below threshold)

Good points. I shoulda thought some more before posting.

ICall:Yup, I proba... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Yup, I probably didn't think that one all the way through to that logical conclusion. lol

This is a no win situatiuon... (Below threshold)

This is a no win situatiuon for the coalition forces.
If they save these idiots, the story will be they used violence and/or killed the kidnappers who were just about to release them (truth won't matter, this will be the spin).
If they let the kidnappers saw off some heads, they'll be demonized for not riding to the rescue.
The only way I could see the spin not happening is if Uncle Sam's Misguided Children charge in just as the tape is rolling to slaughter the first activist, and left rolling during the rescue.
I wonder, would Al-Jezeera run that tape?

If our soldiers do happen t... (Below threshold)

If our soldiers do happen to come across them I suppose they could kill the kidnappers but leave the kidnapped in whatever shape they are found: tied up, blindfolded, gagged, and go on about their business of finding and killing more terrorists. Seems fair to me.

I suspect these guys will u... (Below threshold)

I suspect these guys will ultimately be released without military action (I somehow doubt this Pentagon is expending much energy on them) given their organization's stance on the war.

They'll likely be released as part of a propaganda push by the kidnappers (cleaving to the Osama beNicer strategy we saw played out when the boss slapped Zarqawi's wrists on the beheadings earlier in the fall) return to their homes, join Cindy Sheehan for a few appearances, and write right lovely books for a small, Santa Monica book imprint.

I'm sorry, I might need a f... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry, I might need a flameproof vest for this one...but as ingrateful as they are, I think they should still be rescued. They may be assholes afterwards, but in NOT rescuing them we'd become a little more like the monsters they support. And we'd also justify their stupid agenda, as they can then screech about how the U.S. military shows "favoritism" in their hostage situations, or something to that effect.

Tempting as it is to let them rot--and it is, trust me--it would still be wrong. And you never know, some of those kids might just have a change of heart.


The world of "intelligence"... (Below threshold)

The world of "intelligence" is far more complex in reality than most people ever understand. The web is fraught with so-called representing this and representing that groups and they all appear oddly similar in design and statements, save but for key words changed here and there.

But, in my experience, they all seem to share a certain revulsion for anything suggesting good, old fashioned support for American military personnel. And actual Christianity.

This group, don't know, but it would not surprise me one tiny bit if there was correspondence between nappers and kids.

I think the CPT, and folks ... (Below threshold)

I think the CPT, and folks like that may be on to something. Maybe the US is really responsible for everything! Flash -- tomorrow the sun will rise in the East. Millions will live in freedom and prosperity! Diseases will be cured, lives saved! Thank you, USA!

A lot of people are unduly ... (Below threshold)

A lot of people are unduly attracted to and suckered in by efforts that proclaim "peace" and "anti war" ideology when they are, actually, promoting defeat of one perspective, group, nation with triumph for another. Our liberal press and entertainers never seem to see past the ends of their noses and make for willing patsies to many of these, unfortunately. I just wish people were more astute, aware. Because, some things are worth fighting for.

Ha, I just noticed the CPT ... (Below threshold)

Ha, I just noticed the CPT group's mailing address is in Chicago.

Doesn't anyone recognize a ... (Below threshold)

Doesn't anyone recognize a racket when one sees one?

Ever notice that when there's a fresh suggestion (Presidential speech, for example) that rallies support for defeat of terrorism, for a democracy in Iraq, that heads are threatened, that there's more of this sort of thing (at least publicized) than "usual"?

These are not Christians but I pretty sure they are Islamafundamentalists.

Hmmmm.1. CPT as an... (Below threshold)


1. CPT as an organization was fully aware of the dangers unguarded and unescorted members faced in Iraq as early, or as late, as 2004. So for at least a year these 4 men knew exactly what danger they faced.

2. In the video/photos none of these men are blindfolded. Which is markedly different from many other hostages.

3. In the video/photos none of these men are bound or shackled in any way. Which is markedly different from many other hostages.

4. In the video/photos none of these men show any signs of abuse or beatings. Which is markedly different from many other hostages.

5. These 4 men were in Iraq specifically to work with former detainees. In part to document "abuses" but they also have programs to aid these people. Include a *Adopt-A-Detainee* program.

Frankly I can't think of any other demographic that would have a better chance of containing terrorists than those who have already been picked up in anti-terrorism sweeps or caught fighting.

6. The CPT group is proud of having defended "power plants" and "hospitals" and what not during the invasion against Coalition bombers. I.e. they were human shields.

Really. You need to read CPT's website. Even Wretchard of BelmontClub seems amazed at these people.

Hmmm... Ramsey Clark is in ... (Below threshold)

Hmmm... Ramsey Clark is in town. Sounds like just the kind of bagman they'd need to get out of it alive.

/trying hard not to think about 5--count 'em!--severed heads...

Simple solution: priortize ... (Below threshold)

Simple solution: priortize the rescue mission in terms of military necessity. That's a neutral criterion. The possibility that it would result in no action to rescue the "hostages" is neither here nor there, of course.

Good points, Ed.Al... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Good points, Ed.

All you said is particularly striking considering the fact this is a Christian group accused of espionage by the previously unknown Islamic Terrorist Group.

If this was truly a kidnapping they probably would have forced a confession out of at least one of them (i.e. My name is Mike and I am a spy for the Crusaders and Zionists).

This is all simply a publicity and money raising scheme.

Ed:This is a new g... (Below threshold)


This is a new group, so maybe they're not up to date on the common practices for taking hostages.
Or, like Proud Kaffir says, they might be a made-up group.

I'm split. I definately le... (Below threshold)

I'm split. I definately lean toward "You worked against us, and suck to to the terrs? Screw you". Other side is, I don't like the idea of the bad guys getting the idea they can grab people and not have to worry about being hunted down.

Overall, I lean toward the "They may be assholes, but you people don't even fuck with our assholes" action; hunt them down and kill them, and if the 'activists' don't like it, too damn bad.

Mind you, I'd hate to see any of our troops hurt saving these jerks

Jay Tea Just becau... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea
Just because their title has "Christian" in it doesn't mean they are. Many groups and individuals claim Christ or His title, but as some know, they have nothing in Him.

From the CPT website:... (Below threshold)

From the CPT website:

In selected situations being Christian is a clear advantage. For example, in Muslim areas the Christian nature of CPT helps to create confidence because of a shared sense of monotheism.

Um..yeah, that's the ticket. That's why all those Christians and Muslims always get along so very well. Probably also a whole bunch of monotheistic conversation going on whilst they play their captors in Parcheesi.

I don't want these folks to die. I want them to be rescued, put out of Iraq, and allowed to loudly and publicly condemn those men who saved their pitiful hides. Give 'em all the airplay they can stand. It would probably be the quickest way to make the CPT go away.

"they all seem to share a c... (Below threshold)

"they all seem to share a certain revulsion for anything suggesting good, old fashioned support for American military personnel. And actual Christianity."

This and another post strike me as strange. Why do so many on the right equate Christianity with militarism, when clearly New Testament Judaism as practiced by Jesus was so pacifistic ("blessed are the peacemakers ... if a man should strike you on one cheek, give him the other ... etc.) Jesus made a point of dwelling with sinners and outcasts, he didn't march off to the battlefield and smite terrorists -- that's why he was rejected by the Israelites, who were expecting a messiah who would defeat the Romans... I somehow doubt Jesus would be a Dittohead... actually that's a bad example, since Rush is a chickenhawk ... let's see ... I somehow doubt Jesus would like Dick Cheney. Oh crap, another chickenhawk. ... anyway, you get the picture.

Render unto Caesar, guys. That said, I still think these guys will come out without a scratch on them...

"A lot of people are unduly... (Below threshold)

"A lot of people are unduly attracted to and suckered in by efforts that proclaim "peace" and "anti war" ideology when they are, actually, promoting defeat of one perspective, group, nation with triumph for another."

--yeah, all that "peace and love" crap is a bitch, isn't it? Hell it's Christmas time for Chrissakes, we should be celebrating kicking ASS and blowing shit up, the way Jesus did ... sheesh...

Hmmm.This... (Below threshold)


This is a new group, so maybe they're not up to date on the common practices for taking hostages. Or, like Proud Kaffir says, they might be a made-up group.

Well I'll admit that Terrorism for Dummies isn't out yet but I still think most people are well aware what the proper terrorist kidnapping "protocols" are.

Hmmm. Terrorism for Dummies. That would be an interesting book to write, but I don't need that much trouble in my life. I can only imagine how quickly the government would climb all over the author's backside.

IMHO, and a lot of people think this is way harsh, anybody who goes to Iraq, knows the dangers thereof, and does so without sufficient or any guard force pretty much deserves what they're going to get.

Anybody remember Sgrena? I think that's her name. The Italian lefty journalist who got kidnapped because she thought she was immune *because* she was a lefty and "on their side".

Whoah....... (Below threshold)


The only good commie is a d... (Below threshold)

The only good commie is a dead commie. I would not lift a finger let alone endanger a GI to save these commie traitors. they have no business going there and all they are doing is aiding the enemy. The US Government is not obligated to come to the rescue of every fool citizen from their folly, particularly those who have been warned not to go and go anyway and on top of it all are aiding the enemy.
What these arrogant leftist shit heads don't seem to get is they are not authorized to carryout their own foreign policy. that is what our elected officials are charged to do. Hate to break to you but you lost the last election in spite of all the Democrat vote stealing in the Mid West and urban areas. get over it. finally when the idiots are trapped in their own stupidity they start with the chicken hawk bullshit. of course it never occurs to them if chicken hawks have no right to make war policy using their own logic neither do they.
Perhaps they would prefer Robert Heinlein's Star Ship Trooper's philosophy of only those who serve in the military have full citizenship.
Or net taxpayers having the only say on tax and spending. or cops, prosecutors and victim's relative having a say in capital punishment cases.
These left wing asses tried to institute a sham draft. I say lets call them on this. let's institute a draft. draft all the commie leftist crap as well as the gansta criminal crap. then take a page from Uncle Joe Stalin and put the scum in front line special units. armed with single shot rifles. behind them Regular Army troops armed with the best we have. give the scum a simple choice, take your chances fighting the enemy or immediate summary execution for desertion. Hey it worked for Stalin. Political prisoners, ordinary criminals and deserters and malcontents were put in special punishment battalions. behind them were armed to the teeth NKVD troops to make sure they went in direction only-forward.
How can the commie scum object? It's 100 percent dyed in the wool Communist methodology as conceived and practiced by the ace commie Joe Stalin. It would be a beautiful sight. dead commies, criminals and Islamofascist terrorist.
A real win/win situation!

To those who get their rock... (Below threshold)

To those who get their rocks off on this "What Would Jesus Do" thing...

Try actually reading the bible. It's helpful to know what you're talking about. The same Jesus who said "blessed are the peacemakers" ran the money-changers out of the temple with force.

And the same God who ordered the wholesale slaughter of many of the nations Israel conquered is the one who sent Jesus and His message to the world.

Christianity teaches to strive for peace, but not "peace at any cost."






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