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Victims as heroes

We applaud heroes who suffer, not ones who achieve—they might be better than us

By Rory Stewart   February 2005

The hero is dead, long live the hero… 11th September might have brought the old heroes back. CIA agents disguised as Afghans were in the Hindu Kush, young western women governed provinces in Islamic Iraq and SAS officers crossed the mountains of Nuristan. For westerners, there hadn’t been such an opportunity for heroic adventure since the second world war. Perhaps obituaries would no longer begin as scenes from Where Eagles Dare and finish like an episode of Coronation Street. The October Daily Telegraph obituary of Major Peter Keeble, for example, used 1,200 words to describe the many dangerous commando raids…

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