Today, American led forces rescued three western peace workers who have been held hostage by Iraqi terrorists for the past four months. Not all of them were rescued. Their American colleague, Tom Fox, never made it out. He was murdered just two weeks ago while being held in captivity.
The three men — James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, both from Canada; and Norman Kember, 74, of Britain — had been kidnapped last November along with the American man, Tom Fox, in Baghdad while working with the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Mr. Fox’s body was found this month. He had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad.
“Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been safely released in Baghdad,” said a statement from the peace group. “Together we have endured uncertainty, hope, fear, grief and now joy during the four months since they were abducted in Baghdad.”
The delegation coordinator for the group, Claire Evans, said by telephone that Mr. Loney, a 41-year-old Canadian, had contacted his family this morning from the Green Zone, the fortified compound in Baghdad where some American military forces, Iraqi government offices and the American Embassy are located.
“He said that they were all in reasonable health,” she said, adding that the three men were undergoing medical checks.
The men were freed by multinational forces in a military operation.
In the past, Christian Peacemaker Teams has criticized the US led coalition of the willing, calling them occupiers undertaking an illegal operation. You would think, on the day their loved ones are rescued, the organization would stop their protests and extend thanks to those involved in the rescue effort. You would think someone at CPT would deliver a simple acknowledgement confessing that the hostages would have certainly been killed by their captors if it hadn’t been for the bravery of the military. Well, think again…
The CPT doesn’t even recognize the rescue effort. In the press statement released today, the CPT rejoices in the ‘release’ of their colleagues, not a rescue. Release and rescue – two words with very different meanings. By using the word ‘release’, the CPT diminishes the work of the military. They downplay the effort, the bravery, the risk taken by the men and women involved in the operation. Furthermore, using the word ‘release’ creates an impression that the terrorists willingly let the hostages go, as if they somehow came to their senses in the last 24 hours and with complete contrition, broke the shackles off the feet of the CPT volunteers.
The CPT should immediately release a second statement which praises the work of the military, the brave, selfless efforts of the individuals who executed the operation, and apologize for not recognizing them immediately upon hearing word of the rescue.
Others: James Joyner |