Captivity book cover
I had just finished reading Captivity by James Loney (Random House) when I heard Obama announce that all US troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year.
The news report said that 100,000 Iraqi civilians and 4,500 Americans died during the US occupation. I guess that number includes Tom Fox, who was an American member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an organization that places teams trained in non-violent intervention into lethal conflict zones. James Loney, along with two other men, was on the same team as Tom Fox, a team that was held hostage in Baghdad for 118 days. James survived (along with two other team members) and this book is an account of their days in captivity, which was a prison not only for the hostages from for their captors too.
Loney and his team members are sympathetic to the plight of the Iraqis and against the US occupation but they are ultimately liberated by the very troops that they don't think should be there. This and other dilemmas, such as whether one should have shouted out in the hopes of being heard by passersby or whether one should have made a break for it and left the others at the mercy of their guards, are food for thought during the long days and nights that the team members spend chained together. Loney's story is honest and straightforward and his own shortcomings are laid out for us as we are shown how each team member's behaviour could have ramifications for everyone. No one comes out as a hero in this story—even their liberators may have used torture to obtain information about the whereabouts of the hostages—which is what makes it such a thought-provoking read.