I yield to no one in my admiration of Her Majesty’s Special Forces—except perhaps Michael Portillo—but there’s one detail in the Guardian‘s account of the casualty-free rescue of three hostages in Iraq yesterday that gives me pause:
As SAS troopers prepared to raid a house in one of the most dangerous parts of Baghdad in the early hours of yesterday morning, they were not certain that they would find what they were looking for on the other side of the door. The location was correct, but there remained some doubt about how accurate the tip-off was.
As soon as they burst in, they got the answer they wanted: there, bound but unharmed, they found Norman Kember and his fellow hostages, Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. After 118 days in captivity, their ordeal was over. Their kidnappers, however, were missing. “We are assuming they buggered off out the back when they heard the soldiers coming,” said one intelligence source.
The crafty swine escaped capture by deploying Basil Liddell Hart‘s buggering-off-out-the-back manoeuvre? Is there no end to the fiendish ingenuity of the “insurgency”? Our finest tacticians must immediately begin research into counter-measures that could prevent this from happening in the future.