Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So Is This Story Real Or Not?

Members of a US anti-war group are taken hostage in Iraq. Al Jazeera has footage.

Oh, and what were they doing in Iraq? LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE OF US ATROCITIES! But is this kidnapping real or staged?

If it's real, the irony is just too tasty. Let's look at the possibilities.

1. They get beheaded. Bummer. US soldiers have done some bad things, but we haven't beheaded anyone and shown the world on tv or the internet. The anti-Bush hostages, in their farewell video addresses, complain about how little President Bush has done to free them.

2. A ransom (which facilitates and funds more terrorism) is paid to the kidnappers and the hostages are freed. They then recognize where the real evil in this situation lies.

3. A ransom (which facilitates and funds more terrorism) is paid to the kidnappers and the hostages are freed. They then go back to pointing out that the US in general, and President Bush in particular, are the fount of all evil in the world.

4. Due to a tip by locals, the hostages are freed by US and/or Iraqi forces. They then recognize where the real evil in this situation lies.

5. Due to a tip by locals, the hostages are freed by US and/or Iraqi forces. They then go back to pointing out that the US in general, and President Bush in particular, are the fount of all evil in the world.

I'm sure there are other scenarios, but these seem the most likely to me.

Or it could all be staged. Time will tell.

I'm still wondering about the Zarqawi "death". Several people said it's "highly unlikely" that Zarqawi was actually killed when the house was surrounded and the inhabitants blew themselves up, but no one has said anything definitive. We have DNA samples from his relatives--how long do these tests take to tell us for sure one way or the other? The silence on this issue bothers me. Is it possible I missed the definite "we didn't get him" announcement? Or has that story just disappeared?


Anonymous said...

does one deny that the terrorists are evil by acknoladging that the US has done wrong? If the US forces in Iraq did commit an atrocity, and this group found it, wouldnt it be better to know what happened so that we can fix it, then not know about it at all? (thats not saying that this group was right in its actions)


Darren said...

Ken, there are lots of people we could send them. He's been out of the news lately, but let's send Michael Moore to meet his Freedom Fighters....

Evan, you're making the classic mistake of "adding to the story" so that the result is an easy answer. This group *has* found no atrocity. They're a bunch of so-called Christian peaceniks, who initially were against throwing Saddam out of Kuwait, were against keeping him confined in Iraq with sanctions and no-fly zones, were against removing him from power, and now are against the presence of our forces and contractors who are improving Iraq each day.

Put simply, they're ANTI-AMERICAN. They want whatever is antithetical to US goals. If this kidnapping is for real, they'll pay for their stupidity with their lives.

I'm not gleeful about this, but I admit that I *do* see a certain justice here--IF, and it's a big "if" right now, this is a real kidnapping.

Isn't it ironic (don'cha think?) that these people despise and work against the very people most likely to rescue their sorry skins? Much more ironic than rai-ee-ain on your wedding day.

Apologies to Alanis :-)

Have you been to their web site? http://cpt.org:

"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."

No, what happened to your teammates is the result of sociopaths that YOUR organization supports, CPT.

If I read any more, I'm going to start feeling glee at these circumstances. So I won't read any further on that site.

And yes, Evan, if (again, BIG 'if') we're committing atrocities, it is better that we resolve and indeed fix the problem. I'm not convinced we are, and if we were, these don't strike me as the people to find such atrocities.

Darren said...

Suzi, your last line is a classic.

But aren't some kinds of foolishness worse than others? Weren't these people in the super-mambo-foolishness category?

Anonymous said...

I met several members of the Christian Peacmaker Teams during my year in Iraq with the 1st ID. They often met with Iraqi judges and spent a lot of time pointing out problems with Iraqi jails as well as our own (all pre-Abu Ghraib). While a lot of their criticisms were just flat out wrong they did keep us on our toes and helped ensure, at least from my perspective, that we did our best to protect the basic human rights of the many detainees we were capturing. I'm sorry to hear about their compatriots being kidnapped but they all knew the dangers of what they were doing and all seemed pretty dedicated to me.

Kilian Betlach said...

Darren, I believe you are just as guilty of adding to the story, as the poster whose ideas you critique. If one goes in search of ethics violations, wherein does that make them Anti-American?

You describe them as "Christian peaceniks" ... who "want whatever is antithetical to American goals." Christians are not Anti-American. People who believe in peace are not Anti-American. People who desire outcomes different from the publically stated goal of an administration are not Anti-American.

One could say that -- just as in the case of adolsecent farting -- the only individuals who are truly "Anti-American," are those who choose to hurl that particular insult.

Anonymous said...

This is what really gets me.

These people are seeking to bring down the reputation of our military. Their aim is to blacken the name of our military.

So, now they need help. They want our military to come help them. They want the people who they are trying to ruin, come risk their lives to rescue them.

And you know what the real kicker is? We will do it. Our soldiers will risk their lives for these sorry excuses.

I say, let them rot.

Darren said...

TMAO, they're not anti-American because they're Christian peaceniks. They're anti-American for the reasons I listed--mainly, they work against the goals of the US government. Wouldn't that, by definition, be anti-American?

ns, I agree with you for the most part.

Kilian Betlach said...

I think that is far too simplisitic an argument. Elements of the U.S. governement routinely work against the goals of other elements of the U.S. government in matters great and small. When a president vetos a piece of legislation, is this Anti-American? It works against the goals of the Congressmen who wrote and voted for it. When the Supreme Court overturns legislation, are they Anti-American for working against the goals of those in favor of it?

Hardly. Ours is an adversarial government, where disagreement and conflict are both prevalent and necessary. These people think this war is a terrible idea. Without debating the nature of their complaints or how they choose to exercise the force of their conviction, the presence of a contrary position to portions of the U.S. government does not make them Anti-American.

Moreover, what happens if the current policy shifts? Then, according to your logic, these people whom you revile will become the true Americans, while everyone who supported the war would become Anti-American. How ridiculous is that? Or, what if a president, congress, and supreme court immediately repeal the Bill of Rights. Is the opposition to this Anti-American?

I do not believe that "American-ness" is inherent within a governing body or a group of elected officials.

Darren said...


It's not considered good debating technique to make a straw-man argument and then thrash it and claim victory. In fact, that's anti-intellectual. No one said that different portions of our government, doing different things, was anti-American.

If you're going to attempt to respond to me, please respond to what I SAY, not what you want me to have said.

Anonymous said...

inversely does that mean a good american works for all the goals of the US government?


Kilian Betlach said...

I do not believe I created a straw man. I was arguing against this assertion:

Your earlier post: "They're anti-American for the reasons I listed--mainly, they work against the goals of the US government."

I am aware that in the above quote you are paraphrasing a long position, but I believe you have paraphrased yourself accurately.

My response: Portions of the U.S. government work against the goals of the U.S. government all the time. Are they, by your standard, Anti-American? It was the goal of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government to seat Harriet Myers on the Supreme Court. There were many both in and out of government who worked against that goal. Are they, by your standard, Anti-American?

Moreoever, this standard implies that the goals of the current U.S. government are the benchmark of American-ness. If Iraqis cannot "stand up," by 2008 and a new U.S. government sees to fit to change policy, do war supporters suddenly become Anti-American? Do the "Christian peaceniks" suddenly become American again?

The term "anti-american" is fairly ridiculous anyway, falling to further debate, and since you seem to be fan of these things, functioning as an ad hominem attack.

Darren said...

TMAO, I *do* believe you created a straw man argument, so I'm not going to refute it.

You acknowledge that I offered a "long position", then claim that my summary of that position doesn't mean much and that it constitutes an ad hominem attack. Does that not sound inconsistent to you? It does to me.

Darren said...

Evan's question: inversely does that mean a good american works for all the goals of the US government?

A good American supports his government in general. That doesn't mean he supports every single thing the government does, but he clearly doesn't actively work against the government--especially as a major component of his activities. Look at the web site of this organization--they exist to work against the US government. The actions of those yahoos who are now captives were part of that work.

And please don't ask about protests, working in elections, pressuring politicians for changes in the law. Those are all actions done within the law. Civil disobedience? I'd have to put more thought into that one.

But allow me to change the topic back to the putzes at hand. Do they sound like "good Americans" to you, Evan? Remember who they're blaming for their kidnapping--everyone *except* the people who kidnapped them! Are those *really* the kind of people you would welcome into your home, or would expect to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Ask *me* the two questions I've asked you in this paragraph and the answers would be "no" and "no".

Anonymous said...

I would agree with you saying no and no. The question i am more concerned with in this post and the ensuing comments is what is a good american. To sumerize what i bieleve your take to be is that a good american is a person who supports his or her government on principle, in that they dont agree (nessacarily) on every issue, there is just an overall support. Then you clarified that by saying that when there is a protest you are still a good american if you are within the law. However, the people in this situation were working within the law. We have no laws agianst being an idiot, or against trying to find an atrocity commited by the US milatary which would most probably be classified as whistleblowing if they found anytihng. (unless the process for that was treason, im not sure in this case) so i was just wondering how you would define a good american, a side note , your definition of a good american includes the people of san fransico who legally excluded military recruiters from their schools as an act of prostest againt war and who in another post you reffered to as bad americans.


Darren said...

Good call on the San Franciscans.

They've certainly committed several un-American acts lately, the situation you mentioned and their refusal to dock the USS Hornet are two recent ones. Their acts were entirely legal, but that alone doesn't make them 'good'. These people in Iraq who may soon be headless--their acts are legal, but still un-American.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying about protesters. I was trying to head off the argument that "protesters don't support their government". Anti-abortion protesters don't agree with our laws on abortion, but they're not anti-American by protesting, but rather are working entirely within the law to change the law. Wanting to change laws isn't un-American, depending on the law. Want to repeal Roe v. Wade? Not un-American. Want to repeal the First Amendment? Un-American! Want a definite, black and white definition that explains the difference? I haven't put enough thought into it to come up with one at 9:36 pm :-) But much like the Supreme Court justice in reference to porn, "I know it when I see it."

That's not good enough for you? Give me your definition and I'll tell you why I would or wouldn't accept it.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is GO ARMY BEAT NAVY!

Darren said...

Yeah, beat 'em!

Anonymous said...

Suzi expresses the feeling that these foolish CPT "useful idiots" don't deserve the logical consequences of their actions. This doesn't make sense. When a drunk driver slams into a bridge abutment and dies, such compassion is rarely expressed. If the drunkard manages to kill other people, we hear nothing but disgust. Yet if you look at the odds, you'll probably find that these CPT fools faced far higher probability of lethal outcome than a drunk driver. Further, because of the actions of these stooges, the soldiers who are trying to locate and rescue them are at far higher risk and may well be seriously injured or killed.

Each night on the news, we hear about utterly innocent people whose lives were snuffed out through no fault of their own. These are the type of people who deserve our compassion, our thoughts, our prayers, not a bunch of meddling fools facing the logical consequences of their actions. And while we all do foolish things, the vast majority of those foolish things are decided non-lethal.

Risk-wise, what these CPT zealots have done is far more akin to dashing across a major road with your eyes closed during rush hour than forgetting to buckle your seat belt or overimbibing before driving. Thus they deserve the same sort of reaction from us as someone smoking in a gunpowder factory would receive.

Sorry, but I won't shed a tear for these idiots if a gang of Islamofascist thugs saw their heads off with a large, dull knife, for through their own actions they placed themselves at greater risk than the drunkard driving home from a binge at the local bar.

Darren said...

Mike, interesting comparison to the drunk driver.