Should ransoms ever be paid to Islamic terrorists?

By 37 Comments 677 views

A new video:

The trio of videos released by the Islamic State in recent weeks have followed the same grim pattern — a helpless and unarmed Westerner is forced to kneel in front of a masked militant who threatens the U.S. and Britain before calmly beheading the captive — but the group’s newest video contains a small glimmer of hope that the hostage, British journalist John Cantlie, might potentially make it out alive.

To be clear, the roughly three-minute video makes for extremely difficult viewing. Cantlie, who was captured in Syria in 2012, appears wearing the orange jumpsuit that has become synonymous with the outfits worn by American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley and British aid worker David Haines before their brutal murders. Speaking directly to the camera, Cantlie promises to reveal the truth about how the media is dragging their respective countries back into another unwinnable war. In the “next few programs,”

It’s not the media that’s “dragging their respective countries back” into war; it’s ISIS. And these beheading videos only invites public outrage and support for more war.

Cantlie says that he will expose how European governments negotiate for their hostages while the United States and Britain refuse to do so.

~~~

While European governments have negotiated for hostages captured by Islamist militants and regularly paid multimillion dollar ransoms, the United States and Britain have maintained a hardline policy of refusing to strike such deals. In the video, Cantlie criticizes this policy. “I’ll show you the truth behind what happened when many European citizens were imprisoned and later released by the Islamic State, and how the British and American governments thought they could do it differently to every other European country,” Cantlie says. “They negotiated with the Islamic State and got their people home, while the British and Americans were left behind.”

It is thanks to these other European governments, in their short-sighted compassion for the captured victim, that an environment of cruelty in the long-term is created; by capitulating to terror demands, these governments endanger all of us to more such kidnappings and extortion:

“Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil,” one al-Qaeda leader wrote to another in 2012, marveling over the amount of money terrorist groups can extort from the West with little effort.

Indeed, al-Qaeda and its franchises have taken in more than $125 million in ransom since 2008, according to an estimate by The New York Times, including $66 million in the last year alone. The money makes terror groups bigger and more difficult to defeat — and more likely to take additional hostages.

Now if this was your family member, would you do whatever it took- including paying ransom- to save your family member’s life? It’s difficult to fault a family for that. But when you think of the larger picture and the harm it brings, that “forgivable”, selfish act is bad for society because it puts other families in danger of having a loved one kidnapped by these Islamic terrorists.

The story of the Somali pirates is instructive. When pirates were first seizing ships off the East African coast, ship owners treated ransom payments as a cost of doing business. But that just encouraged more piracy. Eventually, owners began hardening their vessels and putting armed teams onboard to fight back. The number of hijacked ships fell dramatically.

When paying ransom is the only policy, you’ll just pay more of it, enriching and strengthening the kidnappers. What works is refusing to pay. This can seem outrageously callous, but there’s evidence that it can reduce the number of kidnappings as long as the target nations stick together.

And where does the money go? It goes into fueling jihad. And jihad murders your family. Your friends. Your neighbors. Your fellow countrymen.

The “higher” self-interest is to resist temptation of giving in to terror ransom demands.

If families and governments had thought to do that previously, then perhaps Foley, Sotloff, and Haines (and Cantlie) would never have been put into the situation they found themselves in, in the first place.

The USA Today Editorial Board concludes:

The U.S. and British governments refuse to pay, but France, Switzerland, Spain and other European nations make payments or arrange for them to be made, while claiming not to do so. This makes kidnapping a profit center.

The cost of U.S. policy is easy to see: the horrific beheadings of Foley and Sotloff by a masked ISIS thug. The benefits are less visible: fewer hostages taken and less funding for terrorist groups.

Just three of 53 hostages taken by al-Qaeda and its affiliates over the past five years have been Americans, according to The Economist. This suggests that the extremists realize U.S. citizens aren’t lucrative targets. Further, statistics seem to confirm the high cost of paying kidnappers: Two University of Texas researchers found that every hostage ransom produces nearly three new kidnappings.

It’s not as if U.S. authorities never negotiate. There’s an obvious exception for bringing home captive American servicemembers because the military’s no-one-left-behind commitment helps troops face combat.

National policy should make no such exception for civilians, even if families and employers choose another course. What makes sense for a government can be unendurable at a personal level, and blocking family members or colleagues from doing whatever they can to rescue a kidnap victim would betray American values.

In practical terms, though, the price demanded by groups such as ISIS has gotten so high that only government can afford it. That’s further proof, if any were needed, that the way to try to save hostages is to send in special forces. And the way to deal with terrorist kidnappers is to kill them, not buy them off.

Should ransoms ever be paid to Islamic terrorists?

With compassionate apologies to the families of Foley, Sotloff, Haines, and Cantlie, in the hopes of sparing other such future family-victims being placed in similar circumstance, the answer I give is a resounding “NO.”

37 Responses to “Should ransoms ever be paid to Islamic terrorists?”

  1. 1

    Wordsmith

    editor

    Wow….ISIS even managed to motivate Jimmy Carter with a “take no hostages” approach to dealing with them:

    During a Carter Center event Tuesday night in Atlanta, Carter didn’t mince words. “I think we need to attack ISIS,” he said.

    Well….he “thinks”…..at any rate.

  2. 2

    Nanny+G

    Back when Iraq was looking like it might make it and we were there in great numbers a pair of pediatrician/dentist brothers ran a blog called, Iraq the Model.
    Their site went quiet for several days and people were naturally worried.
    Turned out their uncle had been kidnapped by al Qaeda.
    The whole family put everything they had to pay the ransom demanded.
    The uncle was ”freed.”
    He was ordered to follow a very specific path home in his own car.
    As his path took him through a U.S. checkpoint his car blew up.
    The trunk had been packed with explosives and the bomb had been remotely detonated by someone in a following vehicle.
    The family had lost everything AND their uncle was dead.

    I don’t know whether to say
    Islamists have the morals of an alley cat or…
    Islamists don’t have the morals of an alley cat.
    But its one of those.

  3. 5

    Pete

    Under no circumstances should any ransom ever be paid to muslim terrorists. First, it gives them more money to continue their jihad acts, and second, it encourages them to continue taking hostages in the future.

    Every jihadist should be considered nothing but a cockroach that needs to be exterminated.

  4. 6

    Bill

    Muslims have made money off of ransoms for centuries. You know why? Because Muslims have made money off of ransom for centuries.

    I would suspect that ISIS would kill the hostage anyway. Grease em.

  5. 7

    Smorgasbord

    Ransoms shouldn’t be paid for anything. What would happen if the USA passed a federal law banning paying ransoms for anything? If the law way obeyed, eventually the ones doing the kidnapping would figure it that it isn’t working for them any more.

    I have often wondered what I would do in a kidnapping situation, and I would probably do as told, but then I am not only helping fund the kidnappers, but I am also encouraging them to keep kidnapping others. This is why the decision needs to be taken away from the family and make it illegal to even negotiate with kidnappers.

  6. 8

    Ronald J. Ward

    No, the government should never pay ransoms to anyone under any circumstances. Sometimes you have to lose a battle or two in order to ultimately win the war.

  7. 9

    Ditto

    Answer to question posed: No, never pay ransoms to terrorists because they simply use it to fund more terrorism and kidnappings.

    @Wordsmith:

    All ISIS needs to do to get back in Jimmy Carter’s good graces is attack Israel.

  8. 10

    Petercat

    One of the basic tenet of economics is that whatever you subsidize, you get more of.
    This can be applied to any activity-
    You subsidize not working, you get more people not working (welfare).
    You subsidize waste and fraud, you get more waste and fraud (government budgets).
    You subsidize kidnapping, you get more kidnappings (ISIS, South America).
    The problem that we have is too many people who do not understand economics making economic decisions (politicians in general).

  9. 11

    Smorgasbord

    @Petercat: #10

    The problem that we have is too many people who do not understand economics making economic decisions (politicians in general).

    Most, if not all of the political decisions are now made by whoever donates the most money.

  10. 12

    Budvarakbar

    @Nanny+G:

    I don’t know whether to say
    Islamists have the morals of an alley cat or…
    Islamists don’t have the morals of an alley cat.
    But its one of those.

    Please do not insult alley cats!

  11. 13

    Nanny+G

    Obama is sending about 3,000 troops to ”fight the war on ebola.”
    And not a moment too soon.
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/19/at-least-8-ebola-aid-workers-reportedly-killed-in-cold-blood-by-villagers-in/

    “The eight bodies were found in the village latrine,” Albert Damantang Camara, a spokesman for Guinea’s government said, “Three of them had their throats slit.”

    http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-attack-ebola-guinea-outreach-20140918-story.html

    The delegation was there to do disinfection work and educate people about preventing Ebola when angry and fearful residents began throwing rocks and beating people in the group with clubs.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/09/18/missing-health-workers-in-guinea-were-educating-villagers-about-ebola-when-they-were-attacked/

    33 percent of the cases in Guinea have been reported in the last three weeks, signaling that the outbreak is far from under control.
    According to the World Health Organization, at least 2,622 people have died and 5,335 have been infected in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.

    Part of the problem is uneducated people associate getting sick with these health workers, so they conclude the health workers are MAKING them sick!
    Put guards around these workers.
    It’s the only way.

  12. 14

    Skookum

    When the jig is up and they slip that knife under your chin, remember the human bite is powerful. If you visualize ripping your teeth through that wrist, you will get the job done. I don’t know why these Islamic sympathizers are accepting death so calmly, fight back! Are they afraid the Jihasis will get mad and do something really bad.

    Remember, don’t get on those trains and don’t give into Obama’s Storm Troopers.

  13. 15

    Nanny+G

    There are ransoms and then there are ”ransoms.”
    Turkey just got 49 Turkish hostages back from a 3+ month stay with ISIS.
    There was supposedly no money exchanged, but there was a huge quid pro quo.
    First Turkey declined to sign up to a US-led coalition against the self-proclaimed Islamic State then Turkey got their 49 people back.
    On top of the 49 consulate Turks were an extra 30 Turkish truck drivers.
    They were also freed.
    So, 79 people were given to Turkey in exchange for a guarantee of no worries on ISIS’ northern border.

  14. 16

    Petercat

    @Nanny+G: #13
    “And not a moment too soon.”
    But from what I understand, our 3000 troops will be unarmed. So just what in hell are they supposed to do when the “angry and fearful residents” attack them?
    This is not the place for our military. The mission of the military field medical corps(e!??!) is only peripherally disease related, and primarily trauma-centric.
    The REMF medical personnel would be a better (although not best) choice, but they’re not the ones who are going.
    Tell me just how humanitarian missions fall within the scope of our military and it’s mission? There are better choices for disease control that putting our troops at risk of an ugly, deadly disease.
    International Red Cross, for instance, would be better trained, more effective, and more efficient. Or, considering the location, the Red Crescent.

    Our President definitely has a problem of limited imagination- he cannot seem to come up with a solution to any problem which doesn’t involve the use (misuse?) of our military… except for the scientific application of violence, that is. Then they seem to be his last choice.
    The Liberal view of our military as social laboratory, I guess.

  15. 18

    Smorgasbord

    @Skookum: #14
    When I have watched some execution style shooting videos of wars and other situations, I have wondered why they just stood there and didn’t do anything, especially if there was a row of them being shot. I hope I would figure I’m going to die anyway. I might as well take as many of them with me as I can. It’s not like they are going to punish me for the attempt. Fortunately, I never have been in such a situation, and I don’t know what I would do if I was. We NEVER know how we would react in ANY situation until THAT situation arises.

  16. 19

    Smorgasbord

    @Petercat: #16

    But from what I understand, our 3000 troops will be unarmed. So just what in hell are they supposed to do when the “angry and fearful residents” attack them?

    Come back to the USA and help spread the ebola virus among the military.

    Tell me just how humanitarian missions fall within the scope of our military and it’s mission?

    The same way NASA falls within the scope of spreading the propaganda that the muslim religion is a peaceful religion.

    Our President definitely has a problem of limited imagination- he cannot seem to come up with a solution to any problem which doesn’t involve the use (misuse?) of our military… except for the scientific application of violence, that is. Then they seem to be his last choice.

    As I have mentioned different times: Pretend that obama’s purpose is to destroy the USA. Does what he does and doesn’t do make sense now?

  17. 22

    Budvarakbar

    @Smorgasbord:

    As I have mentioned different times: Pretend that obama’s purpose is to destroy the USA. Does what he does and doesn’t do make sense now?

    That is the BOTTOM LINE with this treasonous SOB —

    Like I got super p-o’d at Megyn last week when she was wondering “why he doesn’t follow the advice of ‘his’ Generals and Admirals” — Hey there dear Megyn I gots to break it to ya — he does pay attention to his Generals and Admirals – gets their advice and then DOES THE OPPOSITE!

    We all need to make sure we keep tabs on the ‘RATs and RINOs that were responsible for putting him in office and keeping him there – essentially unimpeded!

  18. 24

    Budvarakbar

    @Smorgasbord: @Smorgasbord:

    I have wondered why they just stood there and didn’t do anything,

    The same has crossed my mind — what we do not see is how many of the opposing forces are actually surrounding the scene, how bad of shape energy wise – how long they have been starving, thirsty and/ or had dysentery – etc etc — how bad of shape they are mentally re the things they have already experienced and what they have witnessed done to their friends, family, acquaintances, etc!

  19. 25

    Smorgasbord

    @Budvarakbar: #22

    Like I got super p-o’d at Megyn last week when she was wondering “why he doesn’t follow the advice of ‘his’ Generals and Admirals” — Hey there dear Megyn I gots to break it to ya — he does pay attention to his Generals and Admirals – gets their advice and then DOES THE OPPOSITE!

    I agree with you, except for this:

    …gets their advice and then DOES THE OPPOSITE!

    It depends on the definition of HIS generals and admirals. HIS generals and admirals are the ones he follows. They are the ones who got him elected, and they are the ones pulling ALL of obama’s strings. He does listen to HIS generals and admirals, but not to OURS.

  20. 26

    Smorgasbord

    @Budvarakbar: #25

    The same has crossed my mind — what we do not see is how many of the opposing forces are actually surrounding the scene, how bad of shape energy wise – how long they have been starving, thirsty and/ or had dysentery – etc etc — how bad of shape they are mentally re the things they have already experienced and what they have witnessed done to their friends, family, acquaintances, etc!

    After I posted what I did, I thought about the same things, and wondered it they figured they had resisted as long as they could, and now the pain and suffering would be over.

    I personally wouldn’t have a problem if a person was convicted of murder, and sentenced to death, that they die the same way their victim/victims did. The same goes for those who commit war crimes.

  21. 27

    Budvarakbar

    @Smorgasbord:

    @Budvarakbar: #21

    Shades of 1918

    I wasn’t around in 1918, and might not haven’t heard about what you are referring to. What is it?

    Flu epidemic. Referred to as the Spanish Flu – where it first got established in Europe.

    A good info link: https://virus.stanford.edu/uda/

    Here is an excerpt:

    The origins of this influenza variant is not precisely known. It is thought to have originated in China in a rare genetic shift of the influenza virus. The recombination of its surface proteins created a virus novel to almost everyone and a loss of herd immunity. Recently the virus has been reconstructed from the tissue of a dead soldier and is now being genetically characterized. The name of Spanish Flu came from the early affliction and large mortalities in Spain (BMJ,10/19/1918) where it allegedly killed 8 million in May (BMJ, 7/13/1918). However, a first wave of influenza appeared early in the spring of 1918 in Kansas and in military camps throughout the US. Few noticed the epidemic in the midst of the war. Wilson had just given his 14 point address. There was virtually no response or acknowledgment to the epidemics in March and April in the military camps. It was unfortunate that no steps were taken to prepare for the usual recrudescence of the virulent influenza strain in the winter. The lack of action was later criticized when the epidemic could not be ignored in the winter of 1918 (BMJ, 1918). These first epidemics at training camps were a sign of what was coming in greater magnitude in the fall and winter of 1918 to the entire world.

    The war brought the virus back into the US for the second wave of the epidemic. It first arrived in Boston in September of 1918 through the port busy with war shipments of machinery and supplies. The war also enabled the virus to spread and diffuse. Men across the nation were mobilizing to join the military and the cause. As they came together, they brought the virus with them and to those they contacted. The virus killed almost 200,00 in October of 1918 alone. In November 11 of 1918 the end of the war enabled a resurgence. As people celebrated Armistice Day with parades and large partiess, a complete disaster from the public health standpoint, a rebirth of the epidemic occurred in some cities. The flu that winter was beyond imagination as millions were infected and thousands died. Just as the war had effected the course of influenza, influenza affected the war. Entire fleets were ill with the disease and men on the front were too sick to fight. The flu was devastating to both sides, killing more men than their own weapons could.

  22. 28

    Budvarakbar

    @Smorgasbord:

    It depends on the definition of HIS generals and admirals. HIS generals and admirals are the ones he follows.

    That is why I put the apostrophies around ‘his’ in my post — Megyn and I were both referring to actual US military Generals and Admirals.

  23. 30

    Skookum

    @Smorgasbord: Yes, you are right, we don’t know how we will react, but after training at Jiu Jitsu, boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, Kendo, and mixed martial arts, I have a pretty good instinct for mixing it up, and I don’t go down easy. So don’t bet against me. I’ve never bitten anyone; that doesn’t mean I won’t.

  24. 31

    Smorgasbord

    @Skookum: #30
    The highest belt I had in martial arts was the white belt. While you are laughing at me, I will explain to those who don’t know the different belts: The white belt comes with the outfit when you buy it. I didn’t stay with it very long, but wish I would have.

  25. 32

    Budvarakbar

    @Smorgasbord: <[email protected]: #27
    I thought you meant it was something that happened here in the USA. >

    The virus killed almost 200,00 in October of 1918 alone.

    That was in the USA — you need to read the article — go to the link. Do some further research. I can show you gravemarkers in a Seattle cemetery with 4-5 names of little kids from the same family — all died in 1918! — I am sure you could find the same in any older cemetery in the country!

    IT DID HAPPEN IN the USA!

  26. 33

    Smorgasbord

    @Budvarakbar: #32
    I went back and read the article. There have been many such epidemics of different things going around the world. I can see how easy it is for one person to infect thousands of people on one flight, if it has multiple stops. We don’t know what the illegals are bringing into the USA when they come.

    I’m glad Idaho is as far away from the border as it is, but we have a lot of illegals up here too. Some time ago I attended one of Labrador’s Town Hall meetings in Boise, and there probably were more illegals there than citizens, and they wanted to know when they would be declared citizens.

  27. 34

    Nanny+G

    Turkey has let slip its mask.
    ISIS militants are riding the tram in Istambul
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/09/isis-militants-filmed-riding-the-tram-in-istanbul-video/
    As ISIS surrounds the Kurdish Kobane area in Syria between 60,000 and 100,000 Kurds tried to flee into Turkey.
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/09/70000-kurds-flee-isis-genocide-in-syria-obama-goes-golfing/
    They are met with water cannons and tear gas.
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/09/turkey-uses-water-cannon-tear-gas-on-syrian-kurds-trying-to-flee-isis-video/
    But, hey, Turkey got 79 hostages released, so…….

  28. 35

    Ditto

    @Budvarakbar:

    Doctors: ‘Irresponsible’ to send troops to ‘combat’ Ebola

    “You can see that these doctors, who are highly trained people, got themselves infected,” said Dr. Lee Hieb, former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. “So sending troops into an area, if they’re dealing one-on-one with a patient, they’re not going to be able to protect themselves very well. It’s not easy to [prevent transmission], because you get tired and you get careless and you make some simple mistakes. All it takes is one virus particle.”

    Dr. Hieb said quarantine measures should be taken to control the outbreak and prevent Ebola from coming to America.

    “You don’t get Ebola from Europe,” she told WND. “You get Ebola from Africa. And it’s a really simple formula: Don’t let people fly to America if they’ve been to areas where there’s an outbreak. When there’s an outbreak, stop air [traffic] flow.”

    Hieb added, “If they’re going to use the troops to do population control, which is one of the ways you contain it, basically you just don’t let anybody out. You’d make a ring around where it is, and you’d quarantine the area.”

  29. 36

    Budvarakbar

    @Ditto:

    “You don’t get Ebola from Europe,” she told WND. “You get Ebola from Africa. And it’s a really simple formula: Don’t let people fly to America if they’ve been to areas where there’s an outbreak. When there’s an outbreak, stop air [traffic] flow.”

    And they did not get the ‘Spanish’ flu from Spain — it started in CHINA.

  30. 37

    Petercat

    And, I am echoed by a General!
    http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/boykin-sending-military-to-fight-ebola-misuse-of-soldiers/
    “Sending American troops to combat Ebola in Liberia is “an absolute misuse of the U.S. military,” contends retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin.

    “The health mission in Liberia would be better accomplished by private-sector NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), including the French organization Médecins San Frontières, Doctors without Borders, among others, or by some other U.S. government agency such as the Department of Health and Human Services,” he stressed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *