Ungracious Idiocy

War is such a dangerous business that the mistakes
which come from kindness are the very worst.
—Carl von Clausewitz, On War, 1832

The Father of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Vladimir Lenin, used the term “useful idiots” to describe Western progressives who, either by polemical blinders or through willful ignorance, would ignore the revolutionary terror he unleashed to focus instead on the promised fruits that might result from building a communist workers’ utopia. So, while more than twenty million Russians perished before firing squads or were worked to death building Soviet industry, Western progressives lauded the Soviet system, denied its totalitarian nature, ignored evidence of mass murder and systematized deprivation, and excused inconsistencies like the August 1939 Soviet-Nazi Non-Aggression Pact which allowed Hitler to attack Poland and plunged Europe into the Second World War.

Lenin’s prescience concerning the use of often well-meaning and kind-hearted—if naïve—people was evidenced in the March 23rd statement issued by Christian Peacemaker Teams after US Special Forces and British Special Air Services commandos rescued three of their workers held captive by terrorists in Iraq. The statement began, “Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Sing Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been safely released (emphasis added) in Baghdad.”

Wait a peace-lovin’ minute! These men were not “released” by anybody. They were rescued by American and British military pros using their war-fighter skills!Even Al Jazeera acknowledged that military force freed these activists. Why did the Christian Peacemaker Teams statement totally ignore the role of Coalition forces?

The CPT release also stated, “They knew that their only protection was in the power and love of God and of their Iraqi and international co-workers.” It seems “the power and love of God” manifested itself in the willingness for self-sacrifice and the skill of the American and British armed forces because these CPT fellows’ “Iraqi and international co-workers” didn’t contribute anything either to protecting them from kidnappers or freeing them from a captivity that could have cost their lives.

The CPT statement then transcends useful idiocy to reach the realm of ungracious idiocy by stating, “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. The occupation must end.” Then, plummeting to the depths of moral chutzpa, the CPT concludes “We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally (emphasis added) by the US and British forces occupying Iraq.” Excuse me! It was information obtained from a detainee that provided the opportunity to free the captives.

The kind-hearted folks at the Christian Peacemaker Teams might want to consider that over the past four months, thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed in attacks by Islamic terrorists and pro-Saddam insurgents. The time American and Coalition forces spent locating these men and the efforts expended rescuing them might have been spent better by finding, ferreting out and eliminating the terrorists and insurgents. Will the CPT send condolences to the Iraqi families whose loved ones were killed while Coalition forces were focusing their energies on freeing their team members?

Furthermore, their continued carping about “the illegal occupation” and accusations that “thousands of Iraqis are being detained illegally by U.S. and British forces” serves two counter-productive ends. First, such statements undermine the will to continue the struggle in Iraq. If this war is lost, it will be lost at home rather than on the battlefield. Second, such statements encourage our enemies and will result in additional bloodshed. More American soldiers and Marines, more British and other Coalition military personnel and more Iraqi military and security men will die along with those innocent Iraqis about whose suffering the CPT purports to care.

The incredible ungraciousness of CPT is beyond comprehension. Lenin’s sobriquet of “useful idiots” is not adequate to describe this group’s ungraciousness.

Earl H. Tilford

Earl H. Tilford

Dr. Earl Tilford is a military historian and fellow for the Middle East & terrorism with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Dr. Tilford earned his PhD in American and European military history at George Washington University. From 1993 to 2001, he served as Director of Research at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute. In 2001, he left Government service for a professorship at Grove City College, where he taught courses in military history, national security, and international and domestic terrorism and counter-terrorism. Email: [email protected]

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