Thursday, March 23, 2006

It Was Real, And I Was Right

Back in November I posted about the Quaker peace activists, in Iraq to dig up dirt on American atrocities, who had been kidnapped by terrorists. More recently I posted that the American in the group had been killed. Today the rest have been freed by American and coalition forces.

Take a look at the November post and the five possible outcomes that I foresaw. Unfortunately, it appears that #5 is the winner.

Update, 3/25/06: A member of an emaillist of which I am also a member had his own comments on this topic. I received permission from him to post them here:

You might have thought he was stepping through a minefield -- the way that Doug Pritchard, co-founder of Christian Peacemaker Teams tip-toed through a press conference called to celebrate the "release" of three members who were kidnapped in November, along with an American whose body was found recently in Baghdad.

Pritchard got through a lengthy statement and almost through the Q&A without even acknowledging that US and British soldiers had risked their lives to free the hostages. And that's not easy: how exactly do you announce a rescue without ever mentioning the rescuers. Well, you remember your real agenda, and choose your words carefully: you express your joy (not once, but three times) at their "release".

As though some sort of conflict resolution had prevailed and sweet reasonableness had persuaded the kidnappers to let these hostages go -- just weeks after they tortured, handcuffed and shot the one American among them. As though the lion had at last lain down with the lambs. That is to say, you lie.

As though to do the normal, "Christian" thing, and express gratitude in your prepared statement, or even acknowledge the selfless bravery of soldiers with guns, might somehow shake your belief system and contaminate a joyous occasion.

And so for all anyone listening to this press conference knew, the hostages were simply "released" onto the streets of Baghdad or "returned" in some sort of immaculate reception, to allied forces.

Except that it was difficult for Pritchard in the Q&A to dodge obvious questions about the "operation" that had secured their release. The closest he came to acknowledging that soldiers had played a role came when an opportunity to smear them presented itself in the form of a question about the earlier circumstances of the American's death. Having viewed a video clip of the press conference, I can only paraphrase, from memory: "we don't know those details . . for all we know, he may have died in a prior raid, like this one".

So much for Christian virtues, at least as practiced by Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Jim O
Tarrytown, NY

P.S. (sent later--Darren)
I see that CPT published this "addenda" to their 3/23 press conference at 9 P.M. that night -- after being skewered for half a day, both here and in the UK, about their ingratitude. Just an oversight, they pretend. In further atonement, the next day they judiciously used the word "rescue" for the first time -- the one they avoided like the plague in the first prepared statement.

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