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March 28, 2006
Honoring 1979

Yesterday, Canadian PM Stephen Harper thanked the United States for our efforts to free two Canadians held captive in Iraq for four months by kidnappers and terrorists. Harper did what the hostages' own organization could not bring itself to do -- graciously recognize the risk and the skill of the British and American special-forces troops that had saved the lives of their friends:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has phoned U.S. President George W. Bush to thank the United States for helping rescue two Canadian hostages in Iraq last week.

White House spokesman Frederick Jones says the phone call lasted about 20 minutes. ...

The hostage crisis ended Friday with the release of James Loney, 41, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, and along with fellow Canadian Harmeet Sooden, 33, formerly of Montreal. They were kidnapped off the streets of Baghdad on Nov. 26. Mr. Loney returned to Canada on Sunday. Mr. Sooden now lives in New Zealand.

Harper shows a lot of class and skill in his opening months at the helm in Ottawa, and this is yet another example. However, this American would be remiss is he did not remind readers that we certainly owed Canada in this case. n 1979, when Iranian "students" sacked our embassy in Teheran, they held dozens of Americans captive for 444 days, finally releasing them on the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated into office. A handful managed to escape in the chaos of the first hours of the attack, however, and they made their way to the Canadian Embassy.

It may seem a small thing now, with the passage of time, but the Canadians had no reason to believe that the Iranians would not attack them next in any event, and certainly giving sanctuary to Americans would have sent the mobs screaming towards their gates. Regardless of the risk, they quietly sheltered the Americans while they scrambled to provide false travel papers identifying them as Canadians. They eventually brought them home to the US.

Their embassy risked their lives to get our people out of a war zone. The Canadians acted courageously in the face of Islamicist mob rule to protect and rescue Americans. I'm delighted that we had the opportunity to finally return the gesture in kind, and so we can say to Mr. Harper and all of Canada that we remember 1979. We will never forget it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 28, 2006 6:23 AM

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