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      Dumbest Policy Ever: We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists

      This is the policy of officials who are simply wound too tight. It's not even true, it justifies high-risk daredevil raids, and leaves hostages like James Foley dead. At least 50 foreign hostages were released in the past five years in exchange for ransom. Just recently ISIS handed over eleven ransomed hostages to Turkey. It turns out that ISIS offered to release Foley for money, but was secretly rejected by the US. 

      Only this year the Obama administration negotiated and implemented a prisoner swap of Taliban leaders for Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, held in captivity for five years. In the Vietnam era, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger agreed to provide $7 billion in reconstruction funds in a deal for returning POWs, then reneged on the promise when the POWs came home. 

      Why the absolutist policy? The claim that it's bowing to blackmail makes little sense. The US military budget, not to mention private charitable funds, can surely afford a few millions of dollars to save the lives of a small number of Americans captured abroad. It's true that precedents will be set, but we've lost hundreds of millions of dollars in systemic graft by our client states and private contractors. (See the annual US investigative reports for Iraq and Afghanistan.)

      The hardline policy only worsens the chance that hostages will be spared. It signals the enemy force to prepare for a night attack, thus diluting the element of surprise. 

      It says we will spend money on going to war for American interests, but treat American hostages as collateral damage.  

      The Americans and the British lead the world in this counter-productive policy. Is this a vestige of imperial arrogance? It is time for reconsideration and public hearings. It's better to have no policy than an absolutist one.

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      Reader Comments (4)

      "We don't negotiate with terrorists... because we ARE the terrorists" ... is probably the underlying truth.

      August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrausti Hraunfjord

      It should have been the family's choice, in the end. I can't imagine how horrified I would be to find out that my child died because someone else, without notifying me, decided that they were not worth it.

      August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoan

      Ransoms should be figured into the costs of wars when pre-invasion budgeting is calculated. Ransoming retains at least a vestige of the human in war-fighting; armies and kings have always held prisoners for ransom. In fact, we might even revert to exchanging "royal" hostages to assure continuation of peace treaties and armistice agreements. If the Defense Secretary's daughter, for example, were sent to live in Teheran to assure compliance by the US in a peace deal, or the Iranian President had to send his mother to live in Washington, D.C., we might have some peace.

      August 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike Havenar

      If more American's would and could accept this, the USA and literally the World would a better place for Everyone:

      "We don't negotiate with terrorists... because we ARE the terrorists" ... is probably the underlying truth.
      August 29, 2014. Trausti Hraunfjord

      September 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCorey Mondello
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