March 11, 2006

Iraq - "Getting in the way"

Getting in the WayOn Thursday (March 9), American forces recovered the body of Tom Fox, and American member of a religious peace organization who had been kidnapped by an Iraqi group calling itself the Sword of Righteousness Companies (Surayat As-Sayf Al-Haq) on November 26, 2005.

The death of any hostage is regrettable. That said, this is a death that could have been avoided - it was unnecessary and a waste.

Tom Fox was a member of an organization that calls itself
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Their motto is "getting in the way" - that's exactly what they are doing. It also directly lead to the death of one of their own.

Let's take a further look at this "Christian" organization. They are against the U.S. presence in Iraq and are involved in many activities that might be construed as supporting the insurgents and terrorists that kidnapped four of their members. Perhaps my memory fails me, but I don't recall them protesting the regime of Saddam Husayn.

From the
CPT in Iraq Statement of Conviction (March 2005), signed by Tom Fox:

  • As a peacemaking team we need to cross boundaries, help soldiers and other armed actors be humane, and invite them to refuse unjust orders.
  • We unequivocally reject kidnapping and hostage-taking. In such an event, CPT will attempt to communicate with the hostage-takers or their sponsors and work against journalists' inclination to vilify and demonize the offenders. We will try to understand the motives for these actions, and to articulate them, while maintaining a firm stance that such actions are wrong.
  • We reject the use of violent force to save our lives should we be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. We also reject violence to punish anyone who harms us.
  • We forgive those who consider us their enemies. Therefore, any penalty should be in the spirit of restorative justice, rather than in the form of violent retribution.

On March 10, CPT issued a press release about Tom Fox's death. Rather than just concentrate on condolences to the family, they couldn't resist the urge to take a shot at the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of the comments:

  • At the forefront of that support are strong and courageous actions from Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world for which we are profoundly grateful. Their graciousness inspires us to continue working for the day when Christians speak up as boldly for the human rights of thousands Iraqis still detained illegally by the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Let us all join our voices on behalf of those who continue to suffer under occupation, whose loved ones have been killed or are missing. In so doing, we may hasten the day when both those who are wrongly detained and those who bear arms will return safely to their homes.

This all reminds me of the "can't we all just get along" naivete we see among many of these groups. Did they think they were immune from the violence? I am sure they mean well, but, in the end they lived up to their motto and are "getting in the way." U.S. forces who are trying to bring stability to a bad situation were taken away from their duties to try and find Fox and his cohorts, putting those American troops at even greater risk.

I suppose they would prefer that Saddam Husayn still be ruling Iraq. Where was the CPT when 400,000 Iraqis died in Saddam's prisons?