Best Defense

Thanks to the British military

It was good of the British to find and free their kidnapped countryman, Stephen Farrell of the New York Times, near Kunduz, Afghanistan. A lot of us had known about his disappearance and had worried about it, but had refrained from mentioning it in print. My condolences to the Times for the loss of Sultan ...

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BAND E TIMOR, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 6: A British Army soldier from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment secures the helicopter landing strip (HLS) during operation Southern Beast on August 6, 2008 in Maywand District in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The British Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment spearheaded a strike operation in the Maywand District of the Kandahar Province, setting the conditions for a permanent ISAF presence to support the Afghan National Government in their fight against the Taliban. Striking within one of Afghanistan's major opium producing areas the Paratroopers were looking for weapons, drugs, and individuals related to the Taliban. During the operation about seventy kilograms of opium was seized and some weapons were recovered. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

It was good of the British to find and free their kidnapped countryman, Stephen Farrell of the New York Times, near Kunduz, Afghanistan. A lot of us had known about his disappearance and had worried about it, but had refrained from mentioning it in print.

My condolences to the Times for the loss of Sultan Munadi, its Afghan interpreter (mourned above), and to the British military for the lost of a commando. And to the villagers who lost an unknown number of civilians.

Now a question for the Times and other media outlets: It is fair to ask people not to report the kidnapping of reporters when the kidnapping of other defenseless people, like NGO workers, is routinely reported?

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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