This is a post where I request careful reading before leaping to flame the comments box.
I feel a degree of empathy for the man held hostage, and for his family. Perhaps the endless waiting and not knowing is literally a fate worse than death. If it were any family, friend or acquaintance of mine, I would be in torment.
There is no moral justification whatsoever for such deadly blackmail.
However. What is he doing in Iraq? He is not a soldier, obliged to take orders. He is a construction worker, who freely and voluntarily made a choice to go to Iraq. One has to assume that he was aware that Iraq is a state of anarchy, with mindless acts of random violence. He must have weighed up the risks. And still decided to go. Or failed to research the risks, which is unbelievable.
In life we weigh up risks and rewards. There is usually a relationship. He chose to take the risks in Iraq. I am guessing the financial rewards are handsome. And that is where my sympathy stops. He is not a soldier, obeying orders. He is not an aid worker. He is a construction worker who chose to take a contract in Iraq. There are a hundred thoudand vacancies in the construction industry in Britain. This is not Auf Weidersehn, Pet. This is sheer materialism.
And meanwhile, very many Iraqi construction workers are jobless.
My sympathy just ran out.