Four "human rights workers" are being held hostage in Baghdad. They are members of a group called Christian Peacemaker Teams. The mission of the group is to "get in the way" on behalf of violence reduction. They have been in Iraq since October 2002, according to the website. These four are not young, idealist college students. They are grown adults. One American, Tom Fox, age 54 from Clearbrook, Virginia, and One Brit, Norman Kember, age 74 from London. I am quite sure that the American and British forces in Iraq would like to send them a thank you bouquet for all their assistance. Also held are two Canadians, James Loney, 41 from Toronto and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, an electrical engineer studying for a masters degree in English literature in Auckland, New Zealand.
To illustrate the thoughts of this group, on the website's statement about the hostage taking, they state they are angry because it is the fault of America and the British government, due to the governments "illegal" attack on Iraq and the occupation and oppression of the Iraqi people. So, blame America for the evil in the world. Same old theme. I guess it was peace and sunshine under Saddam Hussein for the Iraqi people.
MoveOn.org put up an anti-war ad at Thanksgiving time. All pulling at the heartstrings about how many families would not have loved ones around the table due to evil Bush. They used pictures of soldiers in Iraq at a food table to illustrate the holiday meal. Unfortunately, the soldiers were British soldiers, not American. Oops. The uniforms are different, guys.
Cindy Sheehan, on the paid lecture circuit to capitalize on the death of her son in Iraq, was scheduled to speak at The State University College at Oneonta last night. She asked for $11,000 as compensation for a speech to last an hour in a ballroom with the capacity for 800 people. Only after some students complained about the fee coming out of the lecture budget, paid for from student activity fees, did the College Union Activities Council book Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, now retired from the Army after leading a mechanized infantry battalion into Baghdad, to give a multimedia presentation entitled "A Soldier's Story". His presentation includes hundreds of photos from the front lines in Iraq during the 2003 fight for Baghdad. He was booked to give his presentation in Hunt Union Square, with a 75 person capacity. The lectures were free to students, with a $3 price for members of the public. The College Union Activities Council paid for advertisement in the local newspaper for the Sheehan speech. No advertising for Lt. Col. Rutter. Lt. Col. Rutter was awarded the Silver Star for leading 850 men into combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lt. Col. Rutter was to be paid $600 for his presentation.
Today is the official last day of hurricane season. This year there have been a record 26 named storms. Enough already. New Orleans Mayor Ray Naquin held a town meeting style get together at a local church Sunday afternoon here in town. Evacuees were encouraged to come home and help rebuild the city. Of course there is still no electricity and water in many parts of the city, especially the 9th ward where most of these evacuees were living. It is debatable if the lower 9th ward will ever be rebuilt. He said soon angry demonstrators will march on state and federal offices to demand help. What, no marches on city hall, mayor? But don't worry, he is now guaranteeing free high speed internet citywide. OK, then. Why worry about shelter and jobs. That's someone else's job.