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"Getting in the way" doesn't "reduce violence"--it creates more targets

As seen on RedState under the apt headline "But we're leftists, too!," the Columbian media is reporting that five members of Conservation International and their cameraman were kidnapped in northern Colombia, most likely by members of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, a "guerrilla" group listed in the US State Department's 2002 Patterns of Global Terrorism report. According to the State Department, the ELN, which "annually conducts hundreds of kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreign employees of large corporations," is a "Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara." In October 2003, following logic common to leaders who have little or no will or capability to fight, "the Colombian Government released top ELN leader Felipe Torres from prison, hoping to spur the ELN to accept government demands to declare a cease-fire and come back to the negotiating table." It goes without saying that this peace offering -- akin to the consideration by Israeli leftists that the release of thousands of criminals and terrorists will actually solve the current (a misnomer, as this is a continuation of the past conflict and a premonition of future conflict to come) conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah -- was ineffective, to say the least.

This is but the latest example of the unfortunate outcome which results from liberal activists' acting on the misguided belief that radical leftists and terrorists around the world, with whom they oftentimes seek solidarity, will in fact recognize them -- even though they may come from America, Israel, or another target of the terrorists in question -- not as members of the enemy, but as ideological allies, and will thus grant them safe passage and preferential treatment.

ImageThis type of thinking, and its result, has been seen on a grander -- and far less intelligent -- scale in Iraq, as well. One example is the kidnapping of four "peace activists" late last year. The members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (motto: "Commited to reducing violence by Getting in the Way") were taken captive by radical Islamists, and were held hostage for four months before being rescued by coalition forces earlier this year (after one of the hostages had been murdered by their captors). The coverage of this event -- and the response by the "Christian Peacemaker Teams" to the activists' rescue -- speaks volumes about the left's view of the West, of the war, and of who is actually responsible for any violence committed by terrorists, be it in the middle east or elsewhere.

The Washington Post reported the activists' rescue by saying that "Three Christian peace activists kidnapped last year in Iraq were freed [in a] military operation," and Christian Peacemaker Teams co-director Doug Pritchard said the following in an interview after the rescue:

We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq today. The occupation must end. Today in the face of this joyful news, our faith compels us to love our enemies, even when they have committed acts which cause great hardship to our friends and sorrow to their families. In a spirit of the prophetic nonviolence that motivated Jim, Norman, Harmeet, and Tom to go to Iraq, we refuse to yield to a spirit of vengeance.

Throughout these difficult months we have been heartened by messages of concern
for our four colleagues from all over the world. We have been especially moved by the gracious outpouring of support from Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in Europe, and North America. That support continues to come to us day by day. We pray that Christians throughout the world will in the same spirit call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being held illegally by US and British forces occupying Iraq.

There are two very serious problems with this. First, both the media and the "Peacemaker" group misled the public about the nature of the restoration of freedom to these hostages. They were not "freed," as many would be led to believe (a connotation which implies that their kindhearted-but-misunderstood captors released them of their own free will); they were liberated in a rescue operation by American and British troops, most likely Special Operators -- coalition forces who are, as they have throughout the war, risking their lives to save those of innocents who foolishly inject themselves into the middle of combat situations.

Second, rather than thanking the US and her allies for saving their people's lives from brutal Islamist captors, the spokespeople for the "Peacemaker" organization are blaming the US's activity in Iraq for the danger to their people in the first place--and asking that "Christians Imagethroughout the the same spirit" as our "Muslim brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in Europe, and North America" also "call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being held illegally by US and British forces occupying Iraq." Tom Fox (photo at right), the one member of the group who was murdered before being rescued, was tortured and shot in the head a month before. One would think that, wherever he is, he is wishing that the oppressive, occupying coalition forces--the "soldier[s]" which he wrote were "as much my enemy as the terrorist[s]," had been able to perform this rescue just a few weeks earlier.

ImageAn Army Ranger named Kevin (last names of Special Operatiors are not published, in accordance with USSOCOM and DOD policy) articulated the problem with this and similar situations very well in a call to the Rush Limbaugh radio program:

"What these people, you know, don't realize or maybe do realize and just don't care is that the type of mission that these guys had to go on, the hostage rescue mission, is by far the most dangerous type of mission out there that guys overseas are having to go on. Planning is rushed...

You know, the thing is, the guys overseas that went on--I don't know what unit actually did this, actually that's all classified and everything, but they probably don't care if these guys are ungrateful, that's not really their concern. What really I think probably concerns them is the fact that they're wasting their time. Instead of going and getting terrorists and getting the bad guys and bringing this war to an end possibly over there, they're having to worry about these peace activists, devote time, devote money, devote assets to them instead of possibly going and getting terrorists on that same day.

...Our motivation is not for gratitude. Our motivation is, you know, hunting down and killing terrorists or capturing them. This is just a side mission, and that's not our main objective out rescue peace activists."

Kevin speaks very articulately for all of the troops bravely fighting for freedom in Iraq and around the world. America's forces continuously put their lives in far greater risk than they would otherwise have to in their effort not only to limit -- or eliminate -- any civilian injuries or deaths, but also to rescue misguided innocents who wander into the combat zone, thinking that a terrorist who wants to destroy the country of Iraq, as well as the entire Western world, will recognize them as "nonviolent people of principle" and leave them alone -- and that the soldier who is firing back at the enemy will lower his weapon and be attacked without retaliation because unarmed men have walked directly into the line of fire. This is tantamount, both in its blatant illogicality and its striking naivete, to wandering onto a race car track and hoping that the drivers, who are all working singlemindedly toward a driving-based goal, will recognize that you do not have a car -- and will not only not hit you, but will all stop, agreeably dismount, and walk with you wherever you wish to go.

America and her allies' Special Operations Forces (SOF) are the best trained in the world at a variety of tasks, including counterterrorism, foreign internal defense (training foreign militaries and special operators), and personnel rescue. Unfortunately, with the self-injection of misguided people like the Christian Peacemaker Teams into combat zones, our SOF troops are forced into performing more of the latter mission, to the detriment of the former two. This not only puts our operators' lives in greater danger, but it keeps us less safe for a longer time, as the best counterterror operators in the world are distracted from doing that mission.

Radical leftists are, by nature, essentially utopian in worldview; they have every right to be. They also have the ability to inject themselves into virtually any combat or revolutionary situation they so choose; again, they have every right to do so. However, when they do decide, of their own accord, to put their own lives in danger, these radicals have the horrible habit of "squealing like a stuck pig," blaming everybody but themselves and their persecutors -- and demanding that the "evil" nation they entered the combat zone to protest then divert its resources and endanger its troops to rescue them from the predicament which was entirely of their own making.

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