Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
I'm back from the Kentucky Derby, I'll have a summary of the trip up here eventually... well if I can edit away at least some offensiveness without compromising the integrity and entertainment value that is, 5 guys in an RV from Chicago parking in a legitimate - but friendly - crackhead's yard can make for an eventful weekend.
On to the Good News.
BAGHDAD -- He came running in his stocking feet, busting out of the mud-brick shed. He waved his T-shirt in the air wildly. He stumbled a few times and then focused on his goal: a platoon of U.S. soldiers in the Iraqi desert.
"I'm an American!" he shouted. "I'm an American POW!"
No one in the Army patrol knew quite what to make of this vision in the midst of a war zone. Then one sergeant recognized the face behind the scruffy beard.
"You're the KBR guy," he said.
That was the dramatic conclusion of the 23-day hostage ordeal endured by Thomas Hamill, a truck driver who went to Iraq to earn some extra cash after selling his failing dairy farm in Mississippi. He was taken hostage April 9 when his convoy was attacked outside Baghdad.
Here's how he escaped:
"What we do is an ugly business at times," Lt. Joseph Merrill said. "But this was a great day to be out there. It was a great day to be a soldier."
A platoon of about 35 soldiers was on foot, assigned to provide security for a team of civilians repairing a ruptured pipeline.
Hamill apparently heard the Humvees accompanying the platoon. It was the moment he had been waiting for, he told the soldiers. Hamill pried the door open and emerged in the sunlight. There was no guard, so he ran.
Hamill's captivity, it turned out, was not maximum-security. The door to the mud-brick shack had no lock; it was jammed shut with a piece of sheet metal and a wooden stick. An armed guard usually was outside.
"I could have escaped a bunch of times," Hamill later told Sgt. Forbes. "But where am I gonna go? I got one bottle of water. Where am I going? No map, nothing."
Sure seems like there's been a dearth of this flavor of news coming from the Middle East lately, it was nice to hear of this as we stopped in a diner on the drive back from KY.
But I got a kick out of Neal Boortz's thoughts so he gets the last word:
Despite some media efforts to downplay the escape of American hostage Thomas Hamill as being "freed, released, or discovered," make no mistake, this guy made a daring escape that is the stuff of Hollywood movies. He would still be captured or dead had he not taken action. He chose not to be a victim, and wasn't going to take anything laying down.
Late Sunday morning, Hamill was sitting in the house where he was being held and he heard a military convoy go by. At that point, he made a decision: do I sit here like a sheep and wait to be executed, or do I make a break for it? He chose the latter, and pried open the doors and ran a half-mile to catch up with the convoy. After identifying himself, the convoy went back to the house where he was being held, surrounded it, and arrested two of his Islamic terrorist captors. Hamill was flown to Baghdad, where he received medical treatment. A happy ending for sure.
But there is more to this guy's story. Thomas Hamill was a dairy farmer in Macon, Mississippi, and apparently the dairy farm business wasn't working out too well. Needing to pay off some debts, he sold his cows and signed up to go to work in Iraq as a truck driver for Kellogg, Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary. It was a high-risk job, but it paid well and he needed the money for his family. He didn't sign up for government assistance, he went out and got a job. This should be an inspiration for all those loser types on welfare feeding at the government trough. Of course, liberals have already been saying that people are "forced" to go work in Iraq, because there aren't any jobs here. What a crock.
And so what did Mr. Hamill want to do after his escape? According to U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, "He has spoken to his family. He is now ready to get back to work." That's the American spirit. The rest of the world should take note.