Can any other country's soldiers issue such a statement and have it received with such implicit trust?
A rescued Polish hostage said Thursday that U.S. soldiers burst through a steel door to the house where he and others were held captive in Iraq, then assured them: "Don't worry, we are Americans."
Businessman Jerzy Kos arrived home after being freed from Iraqi insurgents Tuesday in Baghdad with another Pole and three Italians.
''I am very moved to be back in Poland and to be alive,'' Kos said at Warsaw airport after stepping off his plane, his face pale and voice trembling. ''I am so moved, I can hardly speak.''
The 64-year-old construction company director described his rescue as a lighting-quick operation.
They were imprisoned in a house in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, until Tuesday, when they heard helicopters approaching. The door was then blown in, kicking up a dust cloud and knocking the hostages to the ground.
''When I opened my eyes, I saw American soldiers,'' he said. ''They said, 'Don't worry, we are Americans.' They held our hands and we ran to the helicopter. I will remember that for the rest of my life.''
''It was fast and unexpected. They did it perfectly,'' Kos said.