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February 16, 2004
Terry Waite: Still Crazy After All These Years

One of the early direct victims of Islamofascist terror, Terry Waite, has returned to Beirut, where he was kidnapped and held for five years before being released in 1992. Unfortunately, his experiences and the passage of time has not dimmed the almost legendary naivete that caused Waite to become a hostage in the first place:

Self-knowledge has never been, even his friends acknowledge, his greatest virtue. He went to Lebanon in 1987, the year he was kidnapped, as the envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury after successfully negotiating the release of British hostages in Iran and Libya. At the time he naively believed, to the alarm of some colleagues in Lambeth Palace, that his status as church representative would keep him safe.

The article in the Independent goes on to blame his association with Oliver North for the kidnapping by Islamic "militants", as the paper calls them. I recall when Waite made his much-publicized trek to Beirut to negotiate for the release of the primarily American hostages, and numerous officials warned him not to do it. For one thing, the West supposedly didn't negotiate with terrorists, although that policy was already out the door by that time. For another, Waite had no idea what he was doing in Beirut, which was a completely different situation than he had faced in either Iran or Libya, neither of which were in the throes of a civil war. But Waite publicly insisted on going, with an arrogance that managed to surpass his naivete, and asserted that there would be a basis of mutual respect that the Americans couldn't give the "militants". In fact, Waite intended on showing up the warmongering Americans and their allies, including and especially Margaret Thatcher. He instead became the poster child for the cluelessness and fecklessness of appeasing terrorism and spent the next five years paying for his faults.

After all that, you would think that Waite would have learned something, but sadly, Waite hasn't changed at all. On the current state of terrorism in the Middle East, Waite offers his analysis:

"I do see a parallel between what was happening in Lebanon years ago and what is happening in Iraq," Mr Waite said yesterday. The war against Saddam Hussein was "a mistake" because "a dictator holds down the disparate groups in the country by force [and] if you remove him suddenly, the disparate groups spring up and inevitably you get conflict, as we are seeing".

He believes the war in Iraq, the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the Palestinian conflict have created another generation of terrorists even more extreme than those who took him hostage.

For Terry Waite, who once represented the Archbishop of Canterbury, the evil of removing a man like Saddam Hussein outweighs the evil of his continued presence because -- because -- his oppression of minority and opposition groups is so brutal that they keep quiet (permanently, in most cases, as we've seen in Iraq's mass graves). Efficiency and security have been rationalizations for dictatorships ever since Hitler got the trains running on time, and its sounds like the peace of the dead suits Waite just fine and dandy.

As for the ridiculous assertion that Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta has created a more extreme brand of terrorists, well, it must be a very quiet and less mobile brand. Terry apparently pines for the day when terrorists merely killed thousands of people in a day by plunging commercial airliners into crowded office buildings. His assertion is so ridiculous that the Independent's sympathetic treatment of it speaks volumes about the slant of the paper and the intelligence of its editors.

As we grow older, we pray for and work towards wisdom and enlightenment. Unfortunately, Terry Waite reminds us that such growth does not come to those who go out of their way to resist it.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 16, 2004 8:06 PM

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