52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the morning rain clouds up my window

I have to admit that I was amused when I read that the British Army has got the hump because Norman Kember apparently neglected to thank them for rescuing him. Kember is a 74 year old peace campaigner who had been held captive with some of his colleagues for the last four months and who was freed by a multinational force including the SAS last Thursday.

The head of the British army, General Sir Mike Jackson said that he was “saddened that there doesn’t seem to have been a note of gratitude for the soldiers who risked their lives to save those lives”.

Whilst it's true that a simple 'thank you' would only have been polite (if indeed Kember didn't offer one), I wasn't aware that one was required. I wonder how many other hostages have been left chained to radiators by over-sensitive special forces troopers simply because they didn't say the magic word.

Maybe the British army have just grown accustomed to having Iraqi civilians falling over themselves to thank them for all their excellent work in bringing peace and prosperity to their troubled nation....


  • At 10:03 pm, Blogger Stef said…

    I'm sure the SAS have never done anything to hurt anyone. They're nice boys. Don't be so mean! ;-)

  • At 12:07 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    Kember didn't neglect to thank them, he quite pointedly didn't offer thanks. The group he is with (Christian Peacemakers Teams - CPT) seemed determined not to thank the rescuers either, and in the end only did so at the urging of the Foreign Office.

    CPT also seemed determined to go to Iraq and get kidnapped. One member, Jan Benvie, is quoted by the Daily Record as saying that she still intends to go to Iraq despite what happened to Kember and that if she were kidnapped she "would certainly want to be rescued but not by the use of military forces".

    By whom then? Gerry Anderson?

    Fair enough if you want to campaign for peace, but don't go to Iraq with the seeming intention of getting kidnapped because in your simplified view that somehow proves you right about the war being unjust in the first place.

  • At 12:27 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    that's interesting but irrelevant, John. Good for the armed forces that they can carry out this kind of rescue effectively. All I'm saying is that they shouldn't expect to be thanked for it all of the time. Be honest here: if Kember's mob don't want to be rescued by the military, why were they rescued? Government getting some bad press were they? Makes their war look bad when a peace campaigner is held?

    I wonder where the orders came from.


  • At 3:15 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    Regardless of the political machinations going on behind the scenes or his personal beliefs about the validity of the war, a simple "cheers lads" for the soldiers who rescued him would hardly have been recanting his faith in those beliefs.

    I don't think Mike Jackson's saddness was out of place, and chamon, I don't think what he said in any way indicates a requirement to "say the magic word."

    For what it's worth, I don't think Black Force or whatever you call the MI6/SAS crowd commissioned with finding hostages were on some special mission to find the politically embarrassing hostages first.

    Kember's release was precipitated by the gang who were holding him losing their bottle when their superiors took away another of their charges (Tom Fox) and killed him. When that happened, the hired help grassed the rest of the them up and the SAS arrived and removed Kember et al (without firing a shot).

    I don't think the war was just, but nor do I think we should pull out and leave the Iraqi people to their civil war. While we're there, I'd rather the special forces were being used to find and kill insurgents than to find and rescue clueless old farts with high morals and no brains.


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