Skip to comments.Briton Thanks Soldiers Who Rescued Him
Posted on 03/25/2006 1:12:45 PM PST by Libloather
Briton Thanks Soldiers Who Rescued Him
By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 21 minutes ago
Norman Kember the freed British Christian peace campaigner smiles as he reads a statement after arriving at London's Heathrow airport Saturday March 25, 2006. Kember on Saturday thanked the soldiers who rescued him from kidnappers in Iraq, in a statement made shortly after flying into London. (AP Photo/Luke MacGregor, Pool)
LONDON - Freed British hostage Norman Kember returned home Saturday after four months in captivity in Iraq and thanked the soldiers who saved him and two other peace activists.
Kember, 74, arrived on a commercial flight from Kuwait and was reunited with his wife, Pat, in a terminal in Heathrow Airport. He waved to the waiting TV cameras.
A joint U.S.-British military operation freed Kember and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, on Thursday. They were rescued without violence from a house west of Baghdad.
"I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my rescue," Kember said in a statement he read to journalists while smiling and holding his wife's hand.
After their rescue, the three members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams group learned that a fellow hostage, 54-year-old American Tom Fox, had been killed by the hostage-takers weeks earlier.
Kember declined to answer questions about his ordeal and said the world's focus should be on the needs of the Iraqi people.
"There's a real sense in which you are interviewing the wrong person. It's the ordinary people of Iraq you should be talking to, the people who have suffered so much over many years and still await the stable and just society they deserve."
Some British media were critical of what they viewed as an apparent lack of a formal thank you from the peace activists for the efforts to rescue them. But Kember's supporters maintained that thanks was expressed quickly.
"We are thankful to all the people who gave of themselves sacrificially to free Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom over the last four months, and those supporters who prayed and wept for our brothers in captivity, for their loved ones and for us, their co-workers," Christian Peacemaker Teams said Thursday in a statement.
Kember was flown out of Baghdad Friday on a British military plane, saying: "I'm very much looking forward to getting home to British soil and to being reunited with my family."
The two Canadians left Iraq on Saturday on a flight to the United Arab Emirates.
The Rev. Bob Gardiner of the Harrow Baptist Church in London, where Kember and his wife worship, praised the soldiers for carrying out the rescue without any violence or loss of life.
"We were impressed by the sensitivity with which it (the British government) responded to our concerns about any possible use of force in any rescue attempt," Gardiner said.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said the rescue was launched three hours after a detainee captured the night before told American forces where the hostages were.
The four activists were kidnapped Nov. 26, and Fox's body was found dumped in western Baghdad on March 9. He had been shot in the head and chest.
The release of the trio has raised hopes among U.S. officials and family members that American reporter Jill Carroll, a freelance writer for The Christian Science Monitor who was abducted Jan. 7, could eventually be freed.
Peggy Gish, a Christian Peacekeeping Team member in Baghdad, said Kember and the two Canadians did not appear to have been tortured or abused. Most of the time, the captives were not tied up, and the captors a little-known Iraqi radical group provided Kember with medication for high blood pressure and an aneurysm.
Gish said the captors tied up the hostages, then fled before the multinational forces arrived.
They weren't the only ones who noticed...
Day late............dollar short.......
He's a naive fool...but God doth love fools...
Ex post facto "thank-you's" are worthless.
Make the SOB pay for rescue expenses or take him back.
I don't believe it. Sounds like a PR damage control statement.
He sounds a bit different that the talking heads from his head office.
Their the ones who told him to what to say.....IMO
Give him some time. He spent 24 hours in debriefing and it was mentioned that he gave some good information about his captors. It is always said that extreme liberals are often shaken from liberalism after the really meet evil.
Our soldiers risked their necks to save this turd?
They should have let the bad guys keep him.
Notice how they immediately killed the American.
I hope we killed the hostage takers out back someplace.
Ok....The clock is ticking.
Dont worry about Jill Carroll , she is woorking with her captors. She will be "allowed" to come home when she is ready.
It seems the 'thank you' only came after a couple of days of PR pressure and negative press for those 3 who were 'released'.
My sentiments exactly. I wonder if his understanding of good versus evil gained any clarity during his ordeal.
Hey, still looks that way but this guy's figured it out.
'Bout time! I could not believe how rude and unthankful these jerks were -- and pretty unChristian, too -- to come out badmouthing America, Bush, the military.
Gee, we're glad it met with your approval. I kind of wish we'd had to use bayonets and flamethrowers now.
Finally got one thing right you G__D__ senile worthless SOB. You put brave young men's lives at risk for the sake of your scummy morally diseased A**. Now get the hell out of the spotlight, go home, and may you die a stinking traitor's death in well deserved obscurity.
" I do not believe a lasting peace can be achieved by armed force..."
You dumb schmuck. Without armed force, you'd be speaking German or Russian today.
I am on the record as saying that the abduction of Jill Carroll is bogus and that Ms. Carroll is in bed with the jihadis...........
Stupid, idealistic twerp.........
I say - you have to post a RescueBond before you go over there. Then if you need to be rescued, YOUR organization gets it whiny act together, hires its own militia, and rescues your sorry behind. We the taxpayers paid our military to risk their lives to rescue these traitors. What if one of our guys had been hurt? THAT would definitely have been a life wasted, imho. grrrr.
Sounds like a PR damage control statement."
Did these asshats fabricate a kidnapping to get a taller soap box to spew the antiwar message ?
I guess it just appears that way.....:o)
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