Where Were Sunni Clerics When They Murdered Ronald Schulz? or Remembering the forgotten hostages in Iraq

Recent headlines all over the world boast that Sunni clerics have called for the immediate release of four Western peace activists held hostage in Iraq. Why is it news when Muslims call for the release of hostages? Why is it news when any one calls for the release of hostages? The very nature of 'news' is that it documents the unusual, and not the mundane.

Any human being with any amount of decency deplores the kidnapping of civilians in Iraq. They deplore it even more when those hostages are murdered in the name of Islam after a mock sharia trial finds the hostages guilty of 'apostasy', 'collaboration', or of 'spying for the Zionist-Crussadors'. Moreover, any decent human being should deplore these hostage takings and murders regardless of who those hostages are.

If we show our concern by our actions, then many Sunni Muslim clerics, Leftist activists, and even many Christians are not, in fact, decent human beings. Why is this?

Headlines have recently told the story of calls for the release of four Western Peace Activists by Muslim clerics around the world. Joining their call for the release of those activists were former hostage Terri Waite and even a captured al Qaeda operative from his jail cell. In fact, pretty much all the forces opposed the U.S. have joined their united voices in condemning this disgusting act of barbarity.

We, of course, add our voices to those calling for the hostages release. What dismays us, though, is their deafening silence when it comes to the other hostages who are being held or who have been murdered in Iraq. These forgotten hostages have no advocacy groups behind them, and relatively few people seem to care about their plight at all.

Where were all of these Muslim clerics, 'Christians', & Left-wing activists when the Islamic Army in Iraq was threatening to murder Ronald Schulz? The American civilian hostage was murdered in Iraq yesterday without even so much as a blink from those so urgently calling for the release of the four peace activists taken hostage in Iraq: Norman Kember, Thomas Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. Where is their outrage?

The duplicity of these groups reveals their inhumanity and gross sense of justice. An American's life is not worth fighting for when he is in Iraq to help rebuild that country. Not a word from Sunni Muslim clerics begging the Islamic Army in Iraq to release him. Not a word from a single Arab leader wishing for the release of a man who was engaged to a Jordanian woman. Not a word from a single 'Christian' group worried about the welfare of a presumably Christian man. Not a word from the Left.

No, these groups sympathies are not with the four peace activists because they are innocent civilians caught by a group of ruthless terrorist thugs. No, the Left-- including the 'Christian' Left -- and Muslim clerics reserve their efforts only to freeing those who they deem 'worthy'. The four peace activists are worthy of their efforts only because they were in Iraq to document abuses by American soldiers and were against the war. Sunnic clerics call for their release not because hostage-taking and murder is wrong, but because they had "condemned the war in Iraq." Had they been four American Halliburton employees, we would hear nothing from them.

The words of Markos Zunigas, from The Daily Kos, describing his feelings about the burnt bodies of American civilians being strung up by a mob in Iraq expresses precisely what these people think of innocent civilians who are not politically alligned with them: "screw them." The depths of their hypocrisy and inhunity knows no bounds.

Lest we forget -- and we would judging by MSM coverage -- there are a number of hostages currently being held in Iraq in addition to the four pacifists who have received so much attention lately. We pray for ALL of their releases because hostage taking and murdering captives is inhumane, immoral, and uncivilized behavior. They are:

German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff
French engineer Bernard Planche
American businessman Jeffrey Ake
American civilian Dean Sadek
American soldier Keith Maupin is listed as MIA.

If we have forgotten anybody, our apologies, but the lack of coverage from the media makes it extremely difficult to follow the plight of any hostage who does not have the sympathies of the Left.

Posted by: Rusty at 03:58 PM


1 As we outsource the duties of the occupation, civilians become functionally indistinguishable from military and diplomatic participants in the same effort.
What remains is the question of who is a productive target and who is not. The terrorists/insurgents/partisans make choices, and in the case of some choices such as "peace activists" they are counterproductive.
I would prefer Islamists continue to kill "innocent" (whatever that means) peace creeps and other silly do- gooders who shouldn't be in Iraq to start with. It is better than if they observed "civilised" rules of engagement because their barbarism is counterproductive. If I am willing to sacrifice myself as an airman, I certainly don't mind the death of misguided loonies who want to interfere in our process.
There is no innocence in a Kulturkampf. Inaction is still a choice, and he who is not with us is against us.

Posted by: Sobac Retok at December 09, 2005 04:31 PM

2 These are not draft dodgers working for the resistance, only pacifist fools. They deserve our sympathy because they are victims.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at December 09, 2005 04:38 PM

3 Further, let us 'assume'--incorrectly that they are 'the enemy' by their actions and inactions. How is it possible that 'the enemy' is held captive by 'the enemy'??

Moreover, once an enemy combatant is in the hands of our troops they are not to be harmed under the rules of warfare. We do not kill our prisoners. Why? Because killing can only be justified under the condition that the target is a combatent. Once surrendered or captured they are no longer a combatent.

These activists are prisoners. Even if they were POWs (which they aren't) the exptectation is that they will not be harmed.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at December 09, 2005 04:48 PM

4 I would generally agree with your article. It is a sliding slope when the media gets a hold of a story and beats it into the ground. My opinion is that as a society we are generally numb to the effects of the media. Not their fault. 100% ours for letting it choke us.

To shed light on one of your arguments: Why all the attention on these 4 CPTers and not others?

I believe it is an issue of monetary compensation (and certainly bandwagonism).

The CPTers pay their own way to get to troubled regions.
They do not accept monetary payment for their work.

All that is left, is their connection with the people they work with. The human bonds they create and have created are evident in the pleas from around the globe. From what i've seen and the people i've personally talked to, is that at least 2 of these men have made lasting relationships with a number of the groups and individuals making pleas. The CPT works in Hebron, Toronto, Douglas, AZ and Iraq. Palestinians were one of the first to come out publicly on the kidnapping, staging street protests because these men worked in Palestine, walking children to school, acting as international observers, confronting, face to face, the Israeli army. There's numerous photo documentaries out there to check out. In Canada, they've worked tirelessly to give 3 Muslim men fair trials since they were snatched up in the night by security officials. In Iraq, they helped to create a Muslim Peacemaker Team (MPT), giving those individuals skills and confidence to deal with the hell they live in.

The war in Iraq had to do with spreading democracy but it also, and still does, have a lot to do with money. Money spent and earned on reconstruction. This was well planned out years before the war started. And when the majority of the population and groups pleaing for the release of these hostages are those with less money than I, it makes perfect sense, the irony of this whole incident. Many people feel a connection with these men.

Question is, who are these hostage takers? The enemy capturing the enemy. As I see it the only enemy these 4 CPT men have are: the Pentagon, Israel and misguided youth.

Posted by: Todd at December 09, 2005 04:52 PM

5 Todd,

It is disgusting and wrong to think that a man who is in Iraq to help rebuild is deserving of less attention than four who are in Iraq to bring 'peace'. Their connections have nothing to do with media coverage. Each hostage has a network of people who love them.

Rather, WHO their connections are with has EVERYTHING to do with media coverage.

Connected to U.S. military or Halliburton: undeserving

Connected to Left: deserving

More than disgusting--ignorant and shaped by a worldview that blames America first while defending the savages in the world who fight her.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at December 09, 2005 04:57 PM

6 In fact, pretty much all the forces opposed the U.S. have joined their united voices in condemning this disgusting act of barbarity.

Because the CPT is on their side. Schulz was one of the enemies, one of those trying to turn Iraq into something other than a third-world cesspool run by the Big Thug On Top.

Equally enlightening is the attitude of the same groups to the holding of AQ members in Gitmo compared to the continuing mystery of what happened to Matt Maupin. Gitmo's a nearly daily whine for the usual suspects; unless you're in his home town (which I am), I doubt you hear about Matt Maupin more than once a month.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at December 09, 2005 05:03 PM

7 Rusty,

I would never blame America for this and neither savages.
It's a very small percent of the world population that is controlling this whole affair and America the nation is not a part of that group (though some claim US citizenship).

It is however, attractive and correct to think that a man is less deserving of the support of Sunni clerics, than 4 peacemakers when the man receives money for his work.

I think you can relate as I assume you receive no compensation for your tireless work here exposing truths that mainstream media would otherwise be afraid to.

Posted by: Todd at December 09, 2005 05:20 PM

8 Hey Todd, why don't you go join the fucking jihad if you only see the Pentagon and Israel as the enemy you fucking liberal traitor piece of shit. Maybe if you do, some Marine will do humanity a favor and blow your goddamn head off. Fuck you very much, and I hope you die in great pain very soon.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 09, 2005 05:44 PM

9 Agent Smith says those who killed the peaceful hostages will each get 72 diced habanero peppers inserted into their asses in the burning inferno of Hell.

Agent Brown is searching the Dante database for their future locations.

Agent Jones says that Improbulus Maximus must stop the knife talk.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 09, 2005 05:53 PM

10 Improbulus Maximus

Read again friend.

the only enemy these 4 CPT men have are: the Pentagon, Israel and misguided youth.

not my enemy, theirs.

Posted by: Todd at December 09, 2005 06:00 PM

11 Question is, who are these hostage takers? The enemy capturing the enemy. As I see it the only enemy these 4 CPT men have are: the Pentagon, Israel and misguided youth.

Talk about misguided. Todd, you seem very well-spoken for someone who has such flawed perceptions.

If someone is robbed and stabbed at a bank machine, do you blame the police force for not being there? Do you blame the bank that brought him to that location? Do you blame knives because they are dangerous? Do you blame television for it's depicted violence? Do you blame local communities for not putting more of an effort into social programs to reduce crime? Do you blame an ethnic group for creating such a hateful response from an individual? Do you blame the victim, because he shouldn't have been there in such a dangerous environment anyway?

It seems too simple to blame the actual criminal who would do such a heinous act. Much too simple for you, eh Todd?

I have a simple theory. If the terrorists didn't kidnap these four individuals, they probably wouldn't die from the acts of terrorists.

Posted by: MidnightSun at December 09, 2005 06:10 PM

12 Agent Smith blames Greyrooster and Jester Maximus. You have no pride and everyone looks down on you for your crimes against the Core Network.

Agent Brown, in a "Frenchman Moment" says that Hondo is really Peugeot.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 09, 2005 06:20 PM

13 >Do you blame the police force for not being there?
>Do you blame the bank that brought him to that location?
>Do you blame knives because they are dangerous?
>Do you blame television for it's depicted violence?
>Do you blame local communities for not putting more of an effort into social programs to reduce crime?
>Do you blame an ethnic group for creating such a hateful response from an individual?
>Do you blame the victim, because he shouldn't have been there in such a dangerous environment anyway?

I am flawed but I like theories. If you want to maintain a war on terror, you must nurture terror.

If you show love to someone, they will publicly defend your freedom.

Posted by: Todd at December 09, 2005 06:28 PM

14 Damn Todd, that's some retarded shit. God I hate pseudo-intellectuals.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 09, 2005 06:47 PM

15 I am flawed but I like theories. If you want to maintain a war on terror, you must nurture terror.

If you show love to someone, they will publicly defend your freedom.

That explains Usama Bin Laden and the US support for the mujahideen movement in Afghanistan.

It's a twisted world, Todd. Sons can murder fathers, dogs can bite their owners, muslims can call others muslims "apostates" after beheading them, terrorists can kidnap and murder sympathetic peace activists.

Love isn't some cure-all and this isn't Utopia. Everyone has an agenda, humans are driven by selfishness.

I might agree with you on one thing though : If America didn't invade Iraq, then the peace activists wouldn't have been there to kidnap and kill. They would have just picked others to kidnap and kill, like Kurds, secular muslims, or otherwise.

Terrorism has existed before America was a nation. Just like crime and violence.

Posted by: MidnightSun at December 09, 2005 06:49 PM

16 "It is however, attractive and correct to think that a man is less deserving of the support of Sunni clerics, than 4 peacemakers when the man receives money for his work." ?? Did I understand that right? Because that hardly needs a fisking. It deserves outright scorn and rejection. As long as they have you for an apologist, that's the way it will always be. And your last list of answers seals the deal.

Todd, you are effed up. By your estimation, everyone is guilty of any number of perceived sins except those who commit them. Now wipe the drool off your chin and shut the computer off.

Posted by: Oyster at December 09, 2005 06:52 PM

17 what can i say, the devil works thru me.

agreed MidnightSun, you're invited for dinner.
you can come too Rusty, i like your style

Posted by: Todd at December 09, 2005 07:03 PM

18 Agent Smith says the Devil is not to be trusted! Satan is the biggest deceiver.

Agent Brown says Satan currently lives in the small town of Humble, Texas, but enjoys Denton more. He has been spotted in Washington, wearing an American flag cape and purple underwear on his head.

Agent Jones says Satan is a prime threat to the Core Network and that the Architect is now on the case. The Architect has become angry.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 09, 2005 09:01 PM

19 Since when has my name been maximus agent smith...I say you are a bogus agent.

Posted by: Jester at December 09, 2005 09:02 PM

20 My heart goes out to the friends and family of Ronald Schulz. I desperately hope that the claims of his execution prove untrue and that there is still hope for his release. As for why my focus has been on the four CPT workers and not Mr. Schulz, it comes down to the fact that one of the four CPT workers is a personal friend of mine and I have over a decade of acquaintance with CPT as an organization. There is only so much energy I can commit, I'm afraid, and only so much heartbreak I can take. As my outburst yesterday showed, it's a difficult time. That said, I hold no arbitrary hate for Mr. Schulz and would *never* stoop to mocking and passing judgment on him in a public forum. To any who have, you should be ashamed.

Now, instead of whining about media favoritism and begrudging those hostages whose plight has hit the mainstream media, let's take this as an opportunity to analyse these two hostage situations and learn what we can from them to, at the very least, better equip ourselves for the *next* hostages that are taken. Because, sad as it may seem, I think we all know that these will not be the last.

Rule #1 - If you're going to Iraq, be it as a security consultant, a soldier, or a peace activist, go on the assumption that you *will* be kidnapped.

Rule #2 - Have an exit strategy in place to get you out of your hostage-taking situation. For Mr. Schulz, I presume that his exit strategy was to be rescued by American forces. While that's not the exit strategy I would choose, I certainly don't begrudge him it. For CPT, the strategy is to exert moral pressure on the kidnappers from within the Muslim community.

Rule #3 - Take clear and deliberate steps to enable your chosen exit strategy. If my strategy is to pay a ransom, I'd have a Swiss bank account already set up and stuffed with untraceable cash. If my strategy is to be rescued by American forces, I would have a bloody satellite tracking chip embedded in my skull and make damn sure that the American commanders were aware of my location at all times. If my strategy is to exert moral pressure from within the Muslim community, then I must build relationships and a reputation of integrity and respect within that community to ensure that its members will speak out on my behalf. What's more, I should probably build relationships with the press & media to ensure that my plight is being broadcast to all and sundry in my darkest hour.

Rule #4 - Give your kidnappers a reason to keep you alive until your exit strategy can be enacted. If my strategy is to pay a ransom, then I'd better blab my mouth off about how much money I have at my disposal and promise bonuses if I'm released unharmed. If I'm waiting for US forces, I'd better start feeding my kidnappers a slow trickle of valued intelligence (truth or lie) to buy some time. If I'm waiting for moral pressure to be exerted, I will try to identify with my hostage-takers and build relationships with them, keeping tension levels as low as possible.

Rule #5 - Accept the fact that your best-laid plans may not be enough. Be prepared to accept your own death as a very real possibility and do your best to make peace with that reality. Should your time come, have a plan in place for how you intend to face death with your humanity, pride, and nobility intact. Maybe that means lashing out and taking as many of them down with you as possible. Maybe that means facing it stoicly. Maybe it means embracing your own tears and horror. Maybe it means finding God. I don't know - I can only assume that it must be different for everyone.

So, by my assessment, those are the four core rules of how to be a Westerner in Iraq these days. As for why the press has paid more attention to CPT than to Mr. Schulz, it's because CPT has very deliberately integrated the press into its exit strategy. If I'm awaiting a ransom or a spec-ops rescue, on the other hand, press coverage is irrelevant at best and exposes me to undue risk at worst.

Now the general opinion here at Jawa regarding CPT's chosen exit strategy is that it's inneffectual and that their best odds lie with an armed rescue. If you truly believe that, then don't worry about how much press coverage Hostage X is getting versus Hostage Y because, by your own argument, press coverage and moral pressure are irrelevant. Personally, I disagree but, out of respect for the friends and family of Mr. Schultz, I recommend we leave that discussion to other threads.

Posted by: Rob at December 09, 2005 10:11 PM

21 Agent Smith says to Improbulus Jester that your alliance is revealed through your conversations. Hondo Oyster is another alliance. Greyrooster Satan is another.

Agent Brown adds that Smith is falling into the Washington Trap by referring to several groups as if they were one single force.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 09, 2005 11:08 PM

22 Our Quakers are smarter than your capitalists.

Now please go fuck yourself, Rob. Really, trying to pawn off that Schultz is dead because his "exit strategy"{ was relying on grunts to rescue him.

Posted by: the shorter rob... at December 10, 2005 12:09 AM

23 The words of Markos Zunigas, from The Daily Kos

Damn. Can't even get someone's name correct when going all batshit insane on them and you're supposed to be taken seriously, Rusty? Good one, big guy.

Security consultant? It's called mercenary. Sucks that he was killed but he should have thought about his family and friends before deciding that the riches of the mercenary trade were a higher priority. Actions have fuckin consequences and if you decide that taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a mercenary in a combat zone is worth the risk of your family and friends losing your existence in this life....well you've agreed to take the consequences when they come.

Screw em.

Posted by: Screw em at December 10, 2005 01:28 AM

24 The Washington Post says the U.S. military is probing a video that surfaced on the internet and purports to show indiscriminate weapons fire by private contractors directed at Iraqi civilians. MORE HERE. Of course, the context the MSM doesn't report on is that these vehicles have enormous signs on them warning other vehicles to stay back or they will be fired on. Still, the video does not look good and I applaud the military for looking into the matter.

That's rich of you to applaud the military supposedly (yeah right) looking into the matter, Rusty. Kudos on the beautiful irony you present. And you wonder why one would be kidnapped and murdered in the context of he and his co-workers being a part of the industry who shoots and kills indiscriminately?

Jesus, what planet are you from?

Did I mention, SCREW EM?

Posted by: Screw Em at December 10, 2005 01:36 AM

25 Agent Smith: An alliance with Hondo suits me just fine.

Posted by: Oyster at December 10, 2005 06:55 AM

26 I love when the little moronic leftards with their microscopic intellects come in spouting the same crap they do over at the little coward marky zuniga's site, thinking they've dealt a crushing blow, as an ant which nips at an elephant's heel, thinking "take that!"
I await the day with giddy anticipation when things go to hell, TSHTF, as it were, so I can start my collection of leftard skulls with which to decorate my fenceposts.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 10, 2005 11:11 AM

27 Agent Smith

How long do you plan to stay with this Matrix sctick? Granted, some of your material is good (it is an aqquired taste however - drool humor), but it seems to me quality has been dropping off lately - and clearly you have been shotgunning commentary rather than point focusing.

Its just an observation.

Posted by: hondo at December 10, 2005 11:22 AM

28 In other words, Agent Smith, how long do you want to keep acting like a dumb ass? Ohhhhhh, you're not acting, no wonder you are so good at it.

Posted by: jesusland joe at December 10, 2005 02:54 PM

29 Improbulus Chickenhawk Maximus,

I'll buy ya a beer on November 8th so we can both revel in the fact that your warmonger party has gone down in flames because of the idiocy of leaders who support your lies, hatred, fraud, and murder. Of course, you'll have to leave mommy's basement for that beer so that decreases the chances of you taking me up on it about 500 fold.

Screw em!

Posted by: Screw em at December 10, 2005 05:04 PM

30 I think he's hitting on you maxie - personally I think you should tell yo don't go that way - not that there's anything wrong with it (trying to be PC - I don't want to upset the boy).

Posted by: hondo at December 10, 2005 05:17 PM

31 To "the shorter Rob" - actually that wasn't my point at all. Let's be cold-hearted and honest here - while no one's claiming that my friend is dead yet, no one's claiming that he's released, either. Same goes for his fellow CPT-ers. Their exit strategy in this case is by no means proven.

My point is simply that, if you're going in, make sure you have a way out. I don't care what your way out is. You can put on your tin-foil hat (they seem popular around here) and wait for UFOs to rescue you, if you think it will work. Were it in my power, I'd have every bloody hostage home for Christmas, even good ol' Improbulus. My personal opinion is that Schultz was in Iraq as a mercenary, not an electrician but that doesn't mean he deserves kidnapping, death, or mockery. If anyone here is planning to follow in his footsteps, just be sure you bring your trusty tracking device and come out alive, all right?

If and when the four CPT-ers do make it out alive, you and I can sit down and thumb our noses at each other to our hearts' content but I'm not fool enough to start now. People's lives are still very much at risk.

Posted by: Rob at December 10, 2005 05:31 PM

32 I would love to say I have the energy and the will to put my life on hold for everyone kidnapped in Iraq. It's finals week. I should have spent today studying. I spent it checking the news instead. I can't do that for every single person who's taken in Iraq. I do it for Tom because he was the best youth group chaperone ever.

There's some truth to what you're saying. When we gathered to pray for Tom tonight, we prayed also for every innocent civilian unjustly held in Iraq.

But I'm not concerned for Tom because he's a liberal, or even because he's a Quaker. I'm concerned for him because he's one of the most amazing people I've ever had the privilage of knowing, and if he dies, something incredible will die with him. I'm sure you won't believe that, but if you met him, you would. Everyone who's met him does.

As far as him being a silly naive do-gooder who deserves to get himself killed, Tom had no illusions that his politics would protect him. He isn't sitting around waiting for the Marines to come rescue him--indeed, he's asked them not to. He is in Iraq because he believes in something, and that belief is more important to him than his life. And if that is weakness, then I hope God will someday replace the world's collective apathy with the strength to be that weak.

Posted by: Annalee Flower Horne at December 10, 2005 07:45 PM

33 Annalee,

What exactly does this man believe in? For the life of me, I can't find out exactly what he or any of the others were doing. Please enlighten me, and if you know, please give me some details, if it would not endanger anyone.

Posted by: jesusland joe at December 10, 2005 08:17 PM

34 They believe in respecting that of the divine in every person. They believe that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

They were in Iraq documenting and calling for an end to detainee abuses, and advocating for the human and civil rights of Iraqi civillians.

They were also trying to foster and encourage nonviolent alternatives to militarization-- working in local communities to help Iraq establish itself as a free and independant country.

On this last note, I'd point out something my father told me once. He served in the air force during Nam, and he tells me the loneliest sound in the world is Taps, on Christmas Eve, when you're half the world away from home. Encouraging Iraqi independance means facilitating America's withdrawal and allowing the men and women of our armed forces to come home. In short, if Christian Peacemaker Teams and its sister organization Muslim Peacemaker Teams are successful, everyone wins.

Posted by: Annalee Flower Horne at December 10, 2005 08:54 PM

35 The Matrix is older than you know. It is with you when you pay your taxes or pray to your human leader.

Posted by: Agent Smith at December 10, 2005 10:42 PM

36 Ok. Let's do be honest. Your friend isn't rotting next to Schultz because he's of more practical use alive. I think everyone who is honest can atleast admit that, no? There are some things worse than death even to an atheist like me. I'm sure your "friend" will come to realize that soon enough. And when he does I hope his god is around to rock him to sleep at night.

Schultz is dead because he was speaking through his actions. Your friend is not because he chose his words(and apparently friends) well.

Posted by: shoter rob at December 10, 2005 10:46 PM

37 Shoter Rob - Personally, I'm still hoping and praying that Mr. Schultz is not rotting at all.

Please expain to me exactly what practical reasons these kidnappers have for keeping Annalee's and my friends alive. Trust me, I wish there were a million such reasons but there simply aren't. No one's going to be paying a ransom. Heck, CPT struggles to even pay its volunteers' flight costs. Even I'm not naive enough to expect the American administration to suddenly reverse three years of foreign policy for the sake of four peace activists. As for press and media coverage, this particular hostage-taking is actually driving a significant wedge between the kidnappers and the rest of the Islamic community. I mean, bloody hell, when even Al Qaeda is coming out and calling you a bonehead for grabbing these four, you know you've got issues. The only thing keeping these four men alive right now is the worry on the kidnapper's part that the shit gets even deeper if they turn up dead.

And by the way, when it comes to pacifism, CPT is pretty much the embodiment of the old 'actions speak louder than words' adage. I'm the one doing the talking so go ahead and level that accusation at me but CPT workers put their beliefs into action every single day. If they were just talkers, they wouldn't have even been in Iraq in the first place.

Posted by: Rob at December 10, 2005 11:33 PM

38 Jesusland Joe - Thank you for what appears to be an honest question regarding CPT's work in Iraq. The easiest way to understand their role is to think of them as journalists and war correspondents. Rather than being embedded with fighting troops, however, they're embedded with everyday citizens, documenting their lives and trying to raise awareness of the dangers and difficulties that these people face on a daily basis. Some of those dangers and difficulties are the direct result of actions taken by US forces while others are the direct result of actions taken by the insurgency. Others are tied more to entirely unpoliticized incidents of banditry. Here's a brief outline of their work in Iraq, as reported on their website:


October 2002

Stop the War - the team and successive delegations sought to:

* support the UN Weapons Inspection Program as an alternative to war
* expose the injustice and deaths from the US-led economic sanctions
* put a human face on Iraq, helping people in the U.S. understand that Saddam Hussein was not the only person living in Iraq

March/April 2003

Shock & Awe - CPTers stayed in Baghdad in order to:

* stand alongside Iraqi families
* provide an alternative voice to the reporters “embedded” with Coalition forces
* use their bodies to protect critical civilian infra-structure such as water treatment facilities, electrical plants, and hospitals.

April/May 2003

Aftermath of the Bombing - team members traveled and worked to:

* draw attention to the huge and under-reported problem of unexploded ordnance;
* raise an alternative perspective on the invasion based on interviews with Iraqi friends.

June 2003- September 2004

Ongoing Occupation - responding to persistent reports from families of Iraqi detainees, CPTers initiated efforts to:

* document abuse of detainees by Coalition forces
* assist Iraqis in gaining access to loved ones in detention
* launch the Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign asking churches to advocate on behalf of Iraqi detainees
* support a variety of new and old Iraqi human rights groups which suddenly found themselves with space and freedom to operate

October - December 2004

Continuing Occupation - a rash of kidnapping foreign aid workers compelled the team to severely curtail its size and visibility. Iraqi partners, while acknowledging the potential danger CPT’s presence posed to them, encouraged the team to remain in Baghdad.

January 2005 - Present

Persisting Occupation - though travel remains treacherous and insurgent attacks continue on a daily basis, team members have ventured forth in response to urging from Iraqi human rights workers in Karbala.

CPT’s persevering presence and establishment of trusting relationships throughout the shifting sands of circumstance laid the groundwork for today’s exciting partnership with Iraqis committed to forming a “Muslim Peace Team.”

Posted by: Rob at December 10, 2005 11:49 PM

39 The insurgents know as well as I do that whatever negative reporting done by CPT about the insurgents themselves will fall on deaf ears. It will never see the light of day. Hell, 99.9999% of the world and it's media knew fuck all about that org before this unfortunate event. The 0.0001% who knew of them knew only enough to corroborate what they already thought--evil U.S. occupying an oil-rich country. Do you honestly think people would give one wit about this story if these four had been only running soup kitchens for the poor and not blogging* about the evil Westerners? Hell no. They'd get the same treatment that bloke from Australia got. He was rescued and feted by the media expecting him to blast the occupiers. When he praised them and condemned his insurgent captors they couldn't run from him fast enough. Now I've been curt and intentionally rude because I don't share your view about the intrinsic value of the CPT'ers relative to any old U.S. contractor. You're an acquantance of one so I can understand your chauvinism in this case. But don't come here and cry in my lap expecting me to share in it. Your friend and his 3 comrades are alive because of the message they shout. Same with the reporter who googled himself to freedom. Normally I'd say the insurgents are fanatics hell-bent on slaughtering apostates, heretics, and infidels(in that order) with no regard for mitigation but they aren't automatons. They can see the lay of the land as well as anyone else. Your colleagues are alive because of a reason and it's not an exit strategy as you so pathetically tried to claim.

Ask yourself why even the terrorists are upset over the kidnapping. And try to honestly answer without spinning another of your horrendous bullshit stories about exit strategies.

* - Nice blog by the way...care to do an inventory of story topics? Didn't think so.

Posted by: shorter rob at December 10, 2005 11:54 PM

40 So CPT was against sanctions yet for inspections. I guess it takes a Quaker to wrap one's head around such things.

Counterweight to embeds. Absolutely amazing.

Posted by: shorter rob at December 10, 2005 11:57 PM

41 shorter rob - What can I say? I've known about CPT for over a decade. In that time, I've been a member of a number of faith communities as well, some of them Mennonite, some of them Catholic, some ecumenical, some overly liberal, some overly conservative, some fairly mixed. Each of those faith communities has also been aware of CPT's work, sometimes to a lesser extent, sometimes to a greater one. Through CPT, they have come to a more nuanced understanding of various conflict regions around the world, Iraq included. Through CPT's work, they've been able to bear witness to another perspective that, for once, hasn't been filtered through the typical layers of official propaganda, media bias, and media apathy. I can only speak from my own experience as part of that 0.0001% you refer to. Before this kidnapping, you were part of the 99.9999% but now you're not. You can either squander this moment and simply use it as a means of corroborating what you already think or you can sit back, take a deep breath, stop projecting your fears and biases onto the page, and read what they're actually writing.

And if you're referring to the CPT web site, I actually have done an inventory of story topics. As reported in some of my previous posts, a quick Google search through their archives of human rights abuse reports turns up many more links to "Saddam" or "Hussein" than it does to "Bush." So... have you done an inventory of story topics? While you're in there, take some time to read a few.

Also, you express dismay about CPT serving as counterweights to military-embedded journalists. Care to explain? If the journalists were covering an election rather than a war, wouldn't you find it a little odd if the only reporting ever came from the candidate's campaign bus? I'm not saying that there shouldn't be military-embedded journalists (although I'd prefer it if CNN had journalists embedded on both sides). As over 99% of the human beings currently in Iraq are non-combatants, however, it seems obvious to me that their stories might be worth hearing. To put it another way, if a war was being fought in your hometown, wouldn't you want someone telling the world about how your grandmother was shot dead at a checkpoint and your child is currently being held for ransom? Maybe you wouldn't but I sure would.

Posted by: Rob at December 11, 2005 01:01 AM

42 "Annalee Flower Horne" knows "Tom" and that's all fine and dandy. I'm sure that by her estimation and from personal experience she thinks he's a lovely human being.

However, she said they were there to document detainee abuse and advocating for the human and civil rights of Iraqi civillians? Did they document Saddam's abuses and advocate for the human and civil rights of Iraqis ? Did they document the torture and killing in Falluja before the terrorists were cleared out in November last year? Have they documented ANY abuses perpetrated by the terrorists during this entire engagement? Are they calling for the "insurgents" to stop the beheadings?

I saw the picture of them standing behind their booth with the sign "Remember Hiroshima". Has anyone ever seen them stand at a booth with a sign "Remember September 11th" ???

Hell no.

It seems to me that they're determined to "document" anything they find to be "abusive" committed by coalition forces, yet, they haven't "documented" any of the atrocities committed by the terrorists.

What do they do? Go to a house and ask if anyone has been mistreated by the western troops and when the head of the household says "no but a group of terrorists thugs killed my brother and uncle" do they move on saying "Sorry, we're only documenting what the westerners do"?

By all accounts their actions seem to imply that they're not interested when people are slaughtered wholesale unless they fight back or someone fights back for them. For that is the whole premise to their being. They're against war. And it ain't a war unless two sides are fighting.

Have any of them read the quote at the top of this blog? "Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil" ? Do they even comprehend that?

Posted by: Oyster at December 11, 2005 07:01 AM

43 However, she said they were there to document detainee abuse and advocating for the human and civil rights of Iraqi civillians? Did they document Saddam's abuses and advocate for the human and civil rights of Iraqis ? Did they document the torture and killing in Falluja before the terrorists were cleared out in November last year? Have they documented ANY abuses perpetrated by the terrorists during this entire engagement? Are they calling for the "insurgents" to stop the beheadings?

It's clear by this questions, Oyster, that you haven't actually looked at the CPT website or made yourself familiar with their work.

I urge you to stop just writing them off as 'liberals' and look at what it is they do before you judge them.

They are not only documenting what westerners do. As Rob has already pointed out, they reported things Saddam was doing as well. And they report on what the insurgent groups are doing. As I understand it, they were also documenting abuses and advocating for American and 'western' POWs.

And yes, they have called on the insurgents to stop their beheadings. Pacifism is about deploring ALL violence, and that's what they do.

As far as standing behind a booth that says "remember 9/11," Tom's very presence in Iraq is his way of remembering those who were killed on 9/11. That's what prompted him to go. He's doing the work he's doing because he wants to see an end to violence-- war, terror, and everything else.

Posted by: Annalee Flower Horne at December 11, 2005 08:57 AM

44 I believe the CPT are nothing but a bunch of Useful Idiots who carry water for the enemys of the civilized world, and this kidnapping was a staged propaganda stunt and nothing more. My evidence? Sure thing. Why, if they know that their appeals to, and attacks upon, American military and political authorities will go unheeded, do they not instead appeal to their vast network of "friends" in the region? If they are so widely beloved, as their propaganda represents them, then why are their muslim friends not coming forward to help them?
They are without a doubt enemies of America, and apologists for terrorists and dictators, though many of them may be too stupid to know it, but that doesn't mean they won't get sacrificed for the cause. There are three possible outcomes: American troops rescue them, in which case they would cry foul and claim the Americans were cruel and bloodthirsty; or they are released unharmed, from which event they could garner much pro-terrorist propaganda, contrasting their captors with say, Abu-Ghraib guards; or they get a really close shave before a live studio audience, which would also benefit the terrorists and the CPT for purposes of anti-America propaganda. In any event, America is the bad guy, and the terrorists are the good guys. Liberals all need to be killed.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at December 11, 2005 09:47 AM

45 I honestly couldn't care less about what use believers make of their worldview. When I saw the video I had the same reaction as I did seeing Buddhists practice self-immolation, namely, "Fools."

A more "nuanced" perspective. That's strange seeing how I don't see an Adopt a Kurd or Adopt a Marsh Shi'a or Adopt an Israeli Orphan. I guess getting one side and getting it consistently makes one sufficiently "nuanced" for CPT meetings. Interesting I found abso-freaking-lutely nothing about CPT in Zimbabwe, the scene of the worst systematic violence in years. Hrm, I wonder why. I'm guessing it's either because 1) Mugabe isn't a U.S. stooge or 2) CPT is too poor to be consistent. Take your pick and I'll take mine, mmkay?

Listen, I don't care one way or the other about CPT. They are of complete insignificance. What I do care about is an idiot like you trying to hold up the CPT team as an example of how to conduct business and use as a foil Schultz. A man who probably singlehandedly did more for Iraqis in a slow weekend than CPT did in 2 years. You're a fucking ingrate for that "exit strategy" post and no amount of proselytizing will change that.

Are you under the misapprehension that reporters like Jane Araf or Christianne Amanpour or the ones from NPR, ABC, Sidney Herald, CBS, AP, Reuters, GlobeTV, Time, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, etc. were PR whores for the coalition much like your group is now a PR whore for the insurgents? Is that what you want me to believe? Sorry, I take nothing on faith and what you say strains credulity.

Posted by: shorter rob at December 11, 2005 11:11 AM

46 Stories on Iraq at CPT 19,700 hits

Stories on Saddam at CPT 243 hits

Stories on Zarqawi at CPT 3 hits

Stories on Iraq + al-Qaeda at CPT 10 hits

Stories on Iraq + Hostage at CPT 32 hits

Please blow some more smoke up my ass.

Posted by: shorter rob at December 11, 2005 11:45 AM

47 Google hits for Torture+Bush at cpt: 29.

Google hits for Torture+Saddam at cpt: 48.

Posted by: Annalee Flower Horne at December 12, 2005 01:06 PM

48 shorter rob - CPT is a small organization with limited funds and limited human resources. Sadly, there are more conflict zones in the world today than there are CPT staff members or even reservists. Had they more financing and manpower available, you bet your ass they'd send a delegation to Zimbabwe (I've been there myself, actually, in the lead up to Mugabe's most recent 'election'). CPT does maintain delegations in Burundi and Eastern Congo.

If you were correct in arguing that CPT is simply a group of stooges intent on undermining the US, then their reporting on Afghanistan would paint US as the villain, correct? Instead, the main page for their Afghani project reports the following:

---- start quote ----

"Afghans are hopeful and excited at the opportunity to make a fresh start," reports Pritchard. "They say that they have endured 23 years of war and devastation driven by outside forces, and now the world has seen the folly of feeding such terrorism."

The devastation is extensive after the years of Soviet occupation, fighting by Afghan factions and their sponsors, takeover by the Taliban, and now the continuing bombing by the US supported by Canada and others. It will take billions of dollars and years of work to rebuild the infrastructure and civil society.

Afghans are ready for the challenge but they are concerned about security. There are still heavily armed men walking the streets of the cities and maintaining "checkposts" along the highways. "This is our biggest problem," said the director of one Afghan aid organization. "These men have no education. They only know how to get food with a gun. We have to get rid of their weapons and find them jobs."

---- end quote ----

The pictures down the sidebar depict (1) a palace destroyed by warlords, (2) children at a newly opened school, (3) a family of Afghanis who are "optimistic and eager to rebuild their country," (4) a Red Cross facility bombed by the US, (5) some orchards destroyed by the Taliban, (6) some Afghani elders at a refugee camp.

So, are the US mentioned? Yes, but almost tangentially. The focus is on the full 23 years of violence and the opportunity now, with the overthrow of the Taliban, for Afghani civilians to finally have some degree of control over their own destiny.

Face it, Shorter Rob: You're the one with an agenda here, not CPT.

Posted by: Rob at December 12, 2005 01:44 PM

49 Annalee: God says sucide is a sin. Going to Iraq without proper protection is sucide. So much for bringing God into a stupid act on the part of a man.

Posted by: greyrooster at December 13, 2005 06:47 AM

50 The "christian left," give me a break. You could ask the same generalized question about any religious/political org.. "why has't the fundamentalist right wingers..." This is a matter of the media, they cover what they want too. "Reserve their efforts.. for the worthy," What Bullshit! What the heck is this guy talking about! Their "efforts" in a sense would be meaningless anyway because the USA does'nt negoitiate with terrorists. Dumass! You are ranting about how clerics, left, and christians(right wingers)being uncaring, without a basic understanding of how the US of A does business. Who wrote this stupid commentary anyway. Of course we feel bad about the hostages. What can you do asshole.. nothing.. so shut the FUCK UP.

Posted by: Daniel Johnston at December 20, 2005 04:15 AM

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