Anorak News | Desert Norm

Desert Norm

by | 24th, March 2006

‘IN the pantheon of stories guaranteed to get the Press excited – up there with “Model Takes Drugs”, “Footballer’s Sex Shame” and “Diana Mercedes Found On Moon” – is any story to do with the SAS.

Beats Margate

The Sun even employs an SAS writer, the loquacious Andy McNab. “SUN SECURITY ADVISOR AND EX-SAS HERO” is on hand to cast his trained eye over the operation to rescue 74-year-old British hostage Norman Kember from somewhere in Iraq.

McNab talks about information being the most powerful weapon in war (comforting indeed for our soldiers equipped with non-firing guns and boots that melt in the heat).

The specialist then talks of the rescue. Using his in-depth knowledge, McNab muses that the rescue team would “have been pleased to be unopposed”. Well, he is the expert, and trained to kill, so let us not argue.

“OPERATION DESERT NORM” was, as McNab rightly says, another great success for the SAS.” Kember is free. No-one was killed in the mission. This was a job well done.

And while Kember reflects on his experiences over a cup of Horlicks, and makes ready to collect his pension back pay and buy a celebratory packet of ginger snaps, the Mail shows us just how the raid played out.

“SAS storms into free hostage Briton,” says the headline. “++After 118 days of captivity, how they rescued Norman Kember++,” comes a second headline, this one wrapped in code-like plus symbols lest it fall into enemy hands at the Express.

There then follow four drawings of what occurred. Readers see a helicopter flying before a very round sun. The Mail says helicopters were used to survey the “hostage house”. This is an artist’s impression of what one might have looked like.

Soldiers would have watched the building, and we see a man in a hard hat doing just that. And at 8am a “heavily-armed” SAS assault team stormed the building. The artist notes that one of the crack squad ran through a window; another entered via a doorway.

The three hostages (Kember was being held with two Canadians) are all seen unshaven and blindfolded. Kember wears the OAP uniform of beige shoes, grey jacket and light brown Comfi-Slax.

The only thing missing from the image is a shot of the kidnappers, believed to be members of the Swords of Righteousness Brigades.

Armed with just swords, they didn’t stand a chance against the best weapon in war that we now know to be intelligence. So they ran. And, as the Star puts it, they are still running. Although we, like the military, don’t know where to…’

Posted: 24th, March 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink