February 22, 2002

In a major policy reversal

In a major policy reversal on international hostage-taking, Bush administration officials said Wednesday that the United States might sometimes pay ransom to kidnappers.

This, as Bill Quick says, is a lousy idea.

The next sentence:

however, the officials also stressed that the government would be aggressive in recovering the money once a hostage was safely released.

This is not only lousy, but also obscene and insulting. The money isn't the bleeding issue. It has been demonstrated time and time again, in all sorts of different terrorist situations, that giving in to the demands of terrorists only encourages further terrorist actions.

According to this article, the official policy was amended because paying off the kidnappers of some oil workers in Ecuador recently "worked" in securing their release. Following this "logic," they removed this sentence from the official policy protocol:

the U.S. government "will not pay ransom, release prisoners, change its policies or agree to other acts that might encourage additional terrorism."

On the other hand, and in apparent contradiction, "State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States still believes that allowing terrorists to benefit from hostage-taking only encourages more of such acts."
"That has always been our view: that paying ransom, allowing the terrorists to acquire benefits from hostage-taking only encourages further hostage-taking," Boucher said.

"Therefore, it's important to make sure that the hostage takers, whether they're doing it for criminal reasons, financial reasons or political statements, that they don't receive any particular benefit from this."

Other than the ransom, he forgot to add.

What on earth are these people thinking?

Posted by Dr. Frank at February 22, 2002 12:50 AM | TrackBack
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