All who saw today’s harrowing tape of Margaret Hassan, the CARE worker based in Iraq, pleading for her life on video after being abducted by insurgents, could not fail to be outraged. This woman has devoted her life to working FOR the Iraqi people. She has spent 30 years in that country on humanitarian causes, and is described by her Iraqi husband as considering herself an Iraqi (as anyone would who had lived for that length of time in another country).

The absolutely worst action the British government could take right now would be to withdraw troops per her request. The most harmful thing to do would be to take any military action on the basis of this tape. It is a gut-wrenching duty for Tony Blair (or any world leader), to be pleaded with by someone who could lose their life as a result of whatever response he may or may not make. But it is important in times such as this to be logical and think reasonably. How many more hostages will be taken when it is discovered that the British government will crumble under certain threats and ultimatums? Under no circumstances, even those which are hardest to ignore or which evoke the most emotional response, no matter how difficult the duty, should Western governments bow to terrorist threats.

It is impossible to know whether Hassan has been speaking of her own free-will about her apparent desire to have the British remove troops to save her life, or whether she has been told what to say at gunpoint. Certainly her anti-war opinions have been on record in the past, even when her life didn’t depend on it. But either way, such action by Tony Blair would be foolhardy, with serious consequences, not only for other Westerners in the region and our troops, but for the Iraqis themselves. Once Western armies leave the region, the warlords take over and all the progress that HAS been made (despite what liberal idiots over here would have us believe) amount to nothing.

Overwhelmingly frightening though the thought, for the sake of Westerners, our soldiers and all Iraqis…. we must swallow a very very bitter pill and ENTIRELY IGNORE Hassan’s pleas for withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. The best we can hope for is that these murderous scumbags will free her under fear that we will hunt them down forever lest they do.

John Wright