Thursday, March 23, 2006

How About a Little Gratitude?

By now, you've probably heard that U.S. and British troops successfully rescued those three peace activists in Iraq. The three men--two Canadians and a Brit--were kidnapped by insurgents more than three months ago, along with an American colleague, Tox Fox. The body of the American was found near Baghdad almost two weeks ago, bearing signs of torture. Today's rescue mission was apparently prompted by a tip from a detainee, which sent Anglo-American teams to the spot where the remaining activists were being held.

If you read accounts of today's rescue mission, you'll find a couple of elements missing. First of all, there's the term "freed," used by more than a few media outlets in their reporting of the story. There is an obvious distinction between someone who is voluntarily released by their kidnappers, and someone liberated from captivity by military professionals. Today's liberation of the self-styled activists definitely falls into that latter category. If the kidnappers weren't around when the Brits and the Americans kicked down the door, it's probably because they fled the scene to avoid being killed.

Details of the operation are still a bit sketchy, but as most readers know, the British military presence is concentrated largely in southern Iraq; the sudden presence/participation by U.K. forces in the Baghdad mission suggests the Brits were likely an SAS team, working alongside U.S. SOF personnel. If that was the case, the terrorists were well-advised to flee, because the SOF teams would have "neutralized" every insurgent on the property. There is also no mention of the danger faced by U.S. and British operators who took part in the mission. Hostage rescues are often based on "thin" intelligence, hastily planned, and executed without the level of study and preparation that SOF teams usually prefer. Until they actually find a hostage, SOF teams don't know if they're liberating hostages, or walking into a carefully laid trap.

Also missing from today's accounts is any display of gratitude by the rescued activists. It's no secret that the activists (and their organization) are opposed to the coalition military presence in Iraq. In a statement announcing the liberation of their personnel, the organization (Christian Peacemaker Teams) actually criticized the U.S.-British "occupation" of Iraq, and called for "justice and respect" for "thousands of Iraqis being illegally detained by U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq."

Perhaps the Peacemaker Teams interpret the scriptures a bit differently than I do, but I seem to recall the Story of the Good Samaritan, who risked his life to aid a helpless man. As I recall, the victim was forever grateful to the Samaritan, who saved him from certain death. The same parable would seem to apply to the rescue in Iraq. At the risk of their own lives, British and U.S. troops saved the lives of three men who (apparently) have a higher regard for their captors than their rescuers.

Examine today's events in Baghdad, the aftermath, and tell me: who best exhibited the values of Christianity? The rescuers, or the ingrates that they freed.

1 comment:

blert said...

Saving them: a counterproductive use of resources.

Simply a mistake.