Samples of his commentary...
“Christian Peacemakers” abducted in Iraq have the former, lack the latter.
The organization was founded by joint efforts of Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers. Unsurprisingly, it has a clear Leftward tilt:
[He quotes from the CPT website]-
Iraq – a Baghdad-based presence since October 2002. Team members accompanied the Iraqi people through the U.S.-led 2003 war and continue during the post-war occupation to expose abusive acts by U.S. Armed Forces and support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance.
Note well that the “resistance” CPT endorses in Iraq is not resistance against al Qaeda or Baathist terrorists, but exclusively against Coalition forces and the democratic Iraqi government. According to The Independent, CPT “cites the removal of coalition forces from Iraq as one of its aims…” CPT’s home page says of the abductions,
"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people."
The Portsmouth Herald reported after the abductions,
[DS quotes -]
"A group spokeswoman said Christian Peacemaker Teams strongly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and does not consider itself a fundamentalist organization.
“We are very strict about this: We do not do any evangelism, we are not missionaries,” said Jessica Phillips. “Our interest is to bring an end to the violence and destruction of civilian life in Iraq.”
Its first activists went to Iraq in 2002, six months before the U.S.-led invasion, Phillips said, adding that a main mission since the invasion has been documenting alleged human rights abuses by U.S. forces. "
“We do not do any evangelism, we are not missionaries.” Pray, then: in what way are you Christian peacemakers? Do the people in Iraq, on whose behalf you claim to be working, know that your are driven by specifically Christian conviction, a faith that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is alone the redeemer of humankind? Or are they actually more aware of your actions to protect the mass murdering Saddam Hussein from removal?
Its presence there [Iraq] dates to November, 2002, during the tense run-up to the overthrow of Mr. Hussein’s government. CPT was part of an influx of foreign peace-group volunteers who were welcomed by the Baathist regime. Many were deployed around the country as “human shields,” protecting strategic buildings and military installations likely to be targeted by U.S. bombs. CPT took the role of protecting electrical plants, Ms. Buyers said.
Prof. Bender, I hope you are rescued or released alive and well, but you need to confront just what and whom CPT allied itself with:
[DS has this as a quote - unsourced]
The killers of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party showed up at the barley field at 9 AM, with backhoes and three buses filled with blindfolded men, women and children as young as one year old. The backhoes dug a trench. Fifty people were led to the edge of the hole and shot, one by one, in the head. The backhoes covered them with dirt, then dug another hole for the next group. At 5 PM, the killers went home. This went on without a break for 35 days in March and April of 1991, during the crackdown on the Shiite Muslim uprising that followed the first Gulf War.
This was the regime you tried to protect, and incredibly, you claimed to do so in the name of our Lord. Is Christian Peacemaker Teams really a Christian organization? It does not evangelize or do missionary work. It befriends and supports mass murders and tyrants for no apparent reason other than the United States opposes them. Perhaps you will call that “Christian” works, but I do not. Are they peacemakers? It seems the only peace they work to preserve is the peace of the grave.
The opening statement sets the tone. He is criticising their judgement, not their courage. Bravo Reverend.
The first obvious "mis-judgement" in the good Reverend's view is their politics. So, apparently are the politics of all Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers because they have "a clear Leftward tilt".
That obviously is the first death-knell to any semblance of credibility that CPT has in the good Reverend's opinion - having any relationship with the "left". Mind you, how this should affect the judgement of this group in their visit to Iraq, their direct contact with Iraqis, and their attempts to distill some truth from the morass of information and misinformation defies logic.
The good Reverend then quotes from the CPT website, including -
to expose abusive acts by U.S. Armed Forces and support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance.
which he "rephrases" as -
the “resistance” CPT endorses in Iraq is not resistance against al Qaeda or Baathist terrorists, but exclusively against Coalition forces and the democratic Iraqi government
Note the subtlety of the phrasing; "...expose abusive acts..." becomes "“resistance” ... exclusively against Coalition forces", and; "support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance" somehow translates in the good Reverend's mind as "against Coalition forces and the democratic Iraqi government".
Yes, one could say that is an honest analysis, but I am not.
The report from the Portsmouth Herald I accept as factual, so too I imagine does the Reverend. The Reverend's rationale behind the quotation is fascinating - like watching a hungry snake.
How else can one describe the blatant equate of “We do not do any evangelism, we are not missionaries.” with "...Or are they actually more aware of your actions to protect the mass murdering Saddam Hussein from removal?"
Now I know that removing Saddam was [probably] the most reasonable of all of the various justifications for Iraq2 that the US trotted out to the rest of the world. That is not in debate, and to forestall any accusation from the good Reverend any others who follow his line of reasoning I am very much in favour of removing the likes of Saddam, and bin Laden, and Mugabe, and all of the other petty tyrants around the world.
But, good Reverend, a person's opposition to the methods or rationale, or even the lies that were used as partial justification for an action does not mean ipso facto opposition to the objective. The fact that I support the removal of tyrants and war criminals does not imply that I support the subjection of a nation to invasion or the imposition of a system of government that might be inappropriate to its culture. Neither does my support for the objective permit total carte blanche in the methods to be used.
No, there has to be a reason why "Iraq 2 - 100" is so prevalent and hearing the good Reverend use it in this context brings the answer home.
Having made this equate between CPT and support for Saddam, here comes the king hit - there is no way that the CPT can be a Christian organisation. Reverend, that is an astounding leap of logic. It rivals David Irving and his very learned opinions on the Holocaust.
Now, why does the Reverend want this dissociation between the Church he serves (I accept probably with distinction) and the Church represented by CPT and like organisations.
It would be easy to point to his military service and connections. He is a street and a half at least ahead of me there as well. It would be too simplistic by half to make a connect between his religion and the "Crusader" ethic.
No, I have another alternative, another fundamental behind this.
It is fear.
Now what on earth might a good Marine, a good Reverend with the greatest military on earth at his back and the greatest God on earth at his side have to fear.
Simple. Being wrong.
Being wrong about so many of the "justifications" given by his good and great leader for going to war. Being wrong about the consequences of the war (and that might be 20 years off yet - who knows?).
Being wrong through misrepresenting his faith as "the religion of peace" while at the same time using (or abusing?) it in promoting a war. Or have I got it all wrong, and Christianity is in fact the religion of war? What a crisis of conscience that could create!
But most of all Reverend, I think I believe that you might be afraid to admit that you have blindly followed where you should have had your eyes open.
CPT have the courage to judge events and people by the measure of their own beliefs. They have the courage to follow that to the extent of seeing with their own eyes.
You, sir ( with all your military training and the great attributes that brings ) are more prepared to see and follow others before seeing and judging for yourself. No criticism; it is what makes a good military man. It is why I would be nothing more than a poor military man destined to be cannon fodder.
Think of it this way - if you saw someone being tortured, would you stop it as a humanitarian or just report it because that was the order?