Thursday, March 30, 2006
Anti-War Hostages Air-Dropped Back into Iraq
The British military announced today that they had air-dropped former hostages Norman Kembler, James Loony and Harmeet Singh Sooden into the Iraqi desert, just a week after their rescue from a house west of Baghdad. The men had been held by insurgents for four months.
Since their release, the three men, all from a Christian Peacemaker team, have spoken with deep admiration and respect for their captors, while not offering any degree of gratitiude to the British commandos who risked their lives to save them.
?We realize now that we made a huge mistake,? said Captain Ian Coates of the British Army, ?and it was time to return these men to the people they love and respect."
Coates wistfully related the story of how the former hostages were told of the decision to reunite them with their brethren in Iraq.
"To keep it a surprise, we used our commandos to gather the men in the middle of the night," he said. "They were so surprised and excited that we needed to duct tape their mouths and tie them up. But there was no doubt that they were overjoyed to be returning to Iraq. Their eyes were as big as saucers, and Kembler even wet his jammies in excitement!"
The men were whisked by military jet back to a British Military base in Kuwait, and flown by helicopter into Iraq at dawn. Captain Coates struggled to keep his composure as he described the reunion.
?The air drop was a remarkable moment, something I was honored to see,? he said. ?The men were writhing around, screaming and crying with joy. There wasn?t a dry eye in the helicopter as we rolled them out.?
The British Military was concerned that the men would not be picked up quickly, leaving them to wander in the dessert. So each man was given a bright red parachute emblazoned with one of the famed Danish Mohammed cartoons.
?The cartoons really did the trick,? said Captain Coates. ?As they drifted downward, you could see the insurgents gathering to welcome them. Some had even set fires to help guide them as they landed. We could hear the chants of welcome even over the whir of the rotors. Did you ever see Born Free? It was like that, but better.?
Coates would not comment on reports that the three men were all wearing ?Jesus Rules, Mohammed Drools? T-Shirts.