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Lots of analysis out there today on the killing of journalist James Foley. The New York Times examines the policy of not paying ransoms to terrorists:

There is no simple answer on whether to submit to terrorist extortion. The United States and Britain refuse to pay ransoms, and there is evidence that hostage takers target victims based on the potential for a payout. If everyone refused to pay, terrorists might not have had the incentive to turn kidnapping into an industry. At a Group of 8 summit meeting last year, Western countries agreed not to make ransom payments, but some European governments continue the practice.

In the meantime, we can honor the many brave journalists, aid workers and civil servants who risk their lives in conflict zones, and grieve for Mr. Foley and the many others who have lost their freedom or their lives.

The Los Angeles Times agrees that denying ransoms is the correct policy:
Critics want to know how the U.S. can justify turning its back on an American in trouble, and why it won't simply pay terrorist groups to release hostages the way some European governments apparently do on a regular basis.

It's a good question. But in the end, the U.S. policy is the right one. […] While it's impossible to determine whether European ransom payers have exacerbated the kidnapping problem, it stands to reason that if hostage takers regularly get the money they demand, they'll only be inclined to repeat the exercise. The New York Times reported last month that European ransoms have fed at least $125 million to Al Qaeda offshoots since 2008, and that money now forms most of Al Qaeda's operating budget.

Standing on principle even though it could cost lives in the short term requires policymakers to make a gut-wrenching, morally difficult choice. Still, the European nations are wrong to let themselves be coerced into paying ransoms. The greater good is served by the Obama administration's adherence to a no-ransom policy.

What do you think of the issue?

Much more on this and the day's other top stories below the fold.

The Denver Post editorial board also chimes in and says that ransoms should not be paid:

It seems the deranged terrorists who executed an American journalist in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq first viewed him as a revenue source.

Long before beheading James Foley, they had demanded a ransom of more than $100 million in exchange for his release.

The U.S. declined. And however wrenching that decision may have been, it was the right call.

This country cannot put itself in the position of underwriting those who want to kill us. And the European countries that have been secretly capitulating to similar ransom demands from terror groups must stop.

Switching topics, David Firestone analyzes how Mitch McMconnell would rule the Senate -- and it isn't pretty:
Senator Mitch McConnell gave the country a glimpse this week of what Republican control of the Senate would look like. If it produces a familiar depression, it’s because we’ve seen what happens when Republican leaders in the House have used the identical tactics, and most people have little interest in seeing Washington return to battle stations. […]

No one expected Congress to get much done during Mr. Obama’s final years, but Mr. McConnell apparently intends to escalate the level of confrontation. By promising to resort once again to the use of extortion — and presumably that would extend to raising the debt ceiling — Mr. McConnell demonstrates that his party lacks positive ideas, and is beholden to its most reactionary elements. Many Republican leaders, including Mr. McConnell himself, seemed to have learned how unpopular the shutdown technique was, and had vowed not to use it again. But the party’s base, as best embodied by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, has become addicted to the very act of confrontation, and wants to engage in showdowns whether or not they are fruitful in political or policy terms.

Turning to Ferguson, Aaron Blake at The Washington Post takes a look at the city's simmering racial tensions:
Police, investigators, the nation and the people of Ferguson, Mo., are still trying to figure out what happened there and why.

As for why the situation has become the powder keg that it has, it's worth looking at the state of race relations there. And as it happens, Missouri appeared to be a particularly likely candidate for something like this.

According to numbers crunched by Gallup, Missouri residents last year rated it 49th out of the 50 states when it comes to being a good place for minorities. Only West Virginia ranked lower.

On a final note, Arianna Huffington shows us the other side of Ferguson, the one that the cameras don't capture:
That rallying spirit of coming together went beyond Ferguson. The Wisconsin Hope Lab helped secure college scholarships for the three siblings of Michael Brown. And since the first day of school for Ferguson kids has been moved back several days -- along with the lunches many of them depend on -- Raleigh, North Carolina, teacher Julianna Mendelsohn, in collaboration with a food bank in St. Louis, took to Fundly to raise money to fill in the food gap.

And there were hundreds more expressions of the better angels of our nature, a sample of them captured by our reporters on Twitter: Ferguson residents helping clean up; giving out diapers and children's books; handing out water, cookies and juice; setting up a food station for the protesters; giving the protesters free pizza; helping protesters hit with tear gas; letting strangers stay in their homes; lending a cellphone so someone could call his mother; handing out free lunches to anyone in the community -- including the police; giving free coffee and wifi to members of the press covering the story; and protecting a store from being looted.

It's all part of a larger picture of Ferguson that hasn't been very much in evidence in the media. But for Ferguson committeewoman Patricia Bynes it's not unexpected. "I'm not surprised because I live here, and I know that we have great people here," she told HuffPost. "So during times like this, this is when those people just step up and just fill the need."


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Comment Preferences

  •  "What do you think of the issue?" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siris, kfunk937, Shawn87

    I think it is very important to pay ransom to terrorists. Thank you for asking.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:38:59 AM PDT

    •  The debate is pretty involved (22+ / 0-)

      especially on the European relations aspect of it. As the NYT reported, some European governments/private entities often pay to release hostages. Here is that important NYT piece referenced in the roundup:

      Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe.

      While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.

      In news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.

      These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funneled the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The inner workings of the kidnapping business were also revealed in thousands of pages of internal Qaeda documents found by this reporter while on assignment for The Associated Press in northern Mali last year.

      The issue, of course, is not just whether we have a no-ransom policy. It's what do we do with our European allies to stem the tide of kidnapping journalists for ransom.  If you look at the trend numbers, it's a horrifyingly major problem.
    •  This is a toughy (22+ / 0-)

      I have to go with Star Trek

      "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".

      In many countries kidnapping is a way of business as well as a revenue generator and it flourishes due to payouts to get people back. I'm sure many more would be taken if the US opened its wallet.

      I know if my son was kidnapped doing a job that he loved which he knew put him in danger constantly, I'd certainly want him back, but he realized the potential and decided the risk was worth the reward. Agonizing decision to live with I'm sure.

      Although Reagan did it to win an election.

      Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

      by Da Rock on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:51:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think; therefore I am... (0+ / 0-)


      I think it's important to:
      Pay my property taxes, so I may continue to have the privilege of my slice of the American pie in the sky: home "ownership".

      Pay "the tax man who cometh"...for what's left of my income after paying for the everyday expenses required to feed the trolls their daily pound of my flesh.

      Pay the grocer for my food, the utility companies for services rendered, the gas station down the street for my gas hog, the insurance company so I can license and drive said carbon footprint force multiplier.

      I believe that there's a time and a place for negotiating with anybody about anything, except when they have a cocked pistol aimed at my head-or having it forced down my throat. I don't reward bad behavior. When we pay ransom to the terrorists we think this will satisfy their cravings, but instead of quenching their lust or thirst for our blood and wealth, we accomplish nothing but adding fuel to the fires of their hatred for us and everything we stand for.

      "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 08:03:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for Ariana's summary, very (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Georgia Logothetis, arlene

    helpful to see!

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:44:40 AM PDT

  •  Haters gonna hate... (10+ / 0-)

    whether it is ISIS or the Ferguson PD.  

    Matthew 18:20 -"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
    and it seems the reverse is whenever two or three gather together outside His name, their hatred builds and they become emboldened.

    We have to remember that worldwide there are more gathering with love in their hearts than hate.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:47:30 AM PDT

  •  Good news out of Florida (16+ / 0-)

    Federal Judge Rules Florida's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

    A federal judge in Tallahassee ruled Thursday that Florida’s ban on performing or recognizing same-sex marriages violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The order is accompanied by a stay while this and similar cases nationwide are appealed, meaning same-sex couples cannot yet marry in Florida.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:52:10 AM PDT

  •  Back in 2008 (5+ / 0-)

    The Times of London reported that to get passage of convoys through Pakistan and into Afghanistan, NATO paid protection money to the Taliban.  Now the story is behind a registration wall.  Its trace on my blog is here:

    The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British taxpayers, are given to the Taleban.
    So, this paying the people you are fighting is a longstanding practice.
  •  the issue of paying ransom is a complex one (9+ / 0-)

    as I note shipping companies routinely pay Somalian pirates and others to get their ships back undamaged and years ago, several multinationals in Latin America paid large sums to get their execs back.

    While "no tribute" is a noble sounding sentiment, it is also hard on the families of the abducted, esp. if there is an indication that the victim will be harmed.  I note some reports swirling about that the US attempted a special ops assault to free the victim which failed

    No idea if that caused ISIS to act or if it were the refusal of the ransom.  It is noted that the average ransom demand by ISIS is around $5M so this for $133M was a bit of a surprise.  Also ISIS offered to trade Foley for Muslim prisoners.  It may be that ISIS made their demands extreme enough that they knew no one would be able to meet them.

    At any rate, I am noting the RW press is railing about how the ISIS leadership is insane but that is a dangerous thread of thought as, if they are insane, then they are insane like a fox, able to execute relatively large operations and to route regular military forces.  It seems they have progressed beyond their genesis with al Qaeda and are now the jihad of choice for foreign jihadists.  The next question is if they intend to be content to remain a nationalistic force such as Hamas or Hizbullah currently or the Taliban   or if they intend to become an international force, striking Western countries on their their home ground, like their mentor, al Qaeda.    

    •  And you'll notice that the Somalis kept (7+ / 0-)

      taking ships until they were no longer able to collect those ransoms.

      The approach was a little different from simply saying no: it was saying no by deploying an international navy armada that protected ships and killed pirates, but...

      pirates were pirating well after the risk appeared. They stopped only when it became sufficiently effective to thwart success.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:12:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Different motivations (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Somali pirates were in it purely for the $$$.  Piracy for money is a very different animal than kidnapping or hijacking for political reasons, and should be treated differently.  The people with the political agenda are usually harder to deal with.

      Banana Republic: it's not just a clothing store.

      by northbronx on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 07:24:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for the info (0+ / 0-)

      I vote NO for governments paying ransome, YES for companies and families, YES for the FBI or other agencies helping, but not providing the money.

      WA Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility."

      by mrobinson on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But isn't paying ransom to terrorists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    essentially how "we" achieved some modicum of stability in Iraq a few years back?

    •  I don't think you're right, but would welcome (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      some explanation or links.

      What the US did in Iraq was pay money and supply arms to local Sunni militias and the like to help drive out AQI.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:14:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, if we didn't do that, these militias (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        would have otherwise fought US forces in such as way as is usually branded as "terrorism" . . .. .  instead we paid them off to be on our side.  

        IOW, their extortion worked.

        •  Could have been -- but no ransoms. (0+ / 0-)

          My understanding is that we paid people to do what many of them wanted to do anyway: Fight off IQA.

          If you'll recall, IQA (like it's descendant ISIS) was uncommonly brutal, and led by the same US prison releasee.

          In many cases, we encouraged the locals to do what they wanted to do anyway, and helped them in that task.

          We were also partially undoing a huge blunder from the early days of the occupation.  For whatever reason, the US essentially removed most of the pre-existing Sunni police and government employees from their jobs.  Not a good thing.  

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:31:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Although the term ransom is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            feloneouscat, dinotrac

            often used to mean payment for release of a prison, it has additional meanings/acceptable uses such as

            Demand concessions from a person or organization by threatening damaging action.
            And seriously, that's what we did in Iraq (and now in Afghanistan) - we paid people who were "threatening damaging action" against us to refrain from that (and in some cases, more overtly come and directly assist us.

            The failed Iraqi president al-Maliki in a way fits into this category - at one point he was an Iranian operative fighting against US forces - but heck, co-opt him to be "on our side" by being our proxy leader over there, sure why not??  (of course, that didn't exactly work out, but whatever)

      •  btw, we're of course doing the same thing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        feloneouscat, dinotrac

        Afghanistan . . ..

        (and I'm not saying we shouldn't be doing that, just that it makes the current justification used to not assist captured journalists look really, really silly/lame)

      •  Petraeus Admitted to Paying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the insurgents.

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:40:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would like to see a better source than that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Partly because words are loaded.  An "insurgent" are just local tribes, etc, who are fighting against you.  There are many reasons why people fight -- like having all of their jobs taken away.

          Even so, if you want to call them bribes or paydays or whatever,they are very different from paying ransoms to free kidnap victims.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:45:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That is my recollection of what the "Surge" was, (0+ / 0-)

      although I don't think it could be characterized as ransom to terrorists.  I believe it was called bribes to Sunni tribes to get them on our side.

      Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

      by hawkseye on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:26:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It absolutely could be characterized as (0+ / 0-)

        ransom to terrorists, although you are totally correct that it was not called that (in fact, it wasn't even called anything as cynical and crass as what you say, I suppose I should consult The Google an re-remind must what the official nomenclature they used was . .. )

        •  I get your point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Heart of the Rockies

          But still those payments were not being traded for victims who had been kidnapped which is the specific subject being discussed.

          If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious. Douglas Adams

          by trillian on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:32:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, but maybe I"m being tripped up (0+ / 0-)

            by the larger picture of why we do not trade payments for victims that have been kidnapped.

            Which is me being old enough to have indelibly (ugh!!) imprinted on my brain the Reagan era meme that "we do not negotiate with terrorists" with the paying of ransom for prisoner release just one of the subordinate clauses to that.

            So, now that we broken the higher order directive of actually negotiating with terrorists, everything else seems like small and irrelevant details.

            And in event, it's a tad curious that we don't negotiate / pay ransom for the release of hostages taken by "terrorists" but we were more than happy to do so from a much greater threat - the Soviets - during many years of the Cold War.    In fact , a couple of years ago when I was visiting Berlin I made it a point to get my ass down to Potsdam and observe the very bridge where many of these releases/exchanges took place . .. .

  •  I've read that $100,000 was raised for the defense (7+ / 0-)

    of Wilson the killer cop. Is there a similar fund being raised for the Browns to sue the police department? I'd contribute to that.

    Don't know what to think of not paying ransom for hostages. It's all very grand to say "we won't negotiate with terrorists," but knowing that someone will be murdered in a particularly horrible way gives me pause. I grieve for the families whose sons and daughters have been murdered by these fanatics.

    It's depressing to think that my late father may have been right when he averred before his death in 1980 that the next world war will be fought between the West and the Middle East.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 04:55:55 AM PDT

  •  McConnell sang his version of (9+ / 0-)

    "If I Were King of the Senaaaaaaate" to bolster his I-hate-Obama cred for the in-state electorate.

    They should remember how he caved during the last debt ceiling showdown, hoping to be hailed as Bipartisan Jesus.

    I believe his biggest problem is that he has very few heartfelt principles and a staff with too many fingers in the short-term wind, and voters know it.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:00:34 AM PDT

    •  And he's doing the same thing as ISIS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CWinebrinner, wintergreen8694, salmo

      If McConnell gets the Senate, he's made it clear he will do the exact same thing as ISIS. He WILL hold this country hostage.

      I would not be surprised to see him shut down the Government and issue an ultimatum to Obama and Biden that they will not let the government reopen until both Obama and Biden resign.

      I also expect him to do the same thing with the debt ceiling. Just like ISIS, McConnell will gladly default on the debt and melt down Wall Street to force Obama and Biden out of office.

      When he does those things, our Corporate Controlled Conservative Press will be kissing his ass every step of the way and his #1 asskisser will be Chuck U Todd over at Meet The Press Whore!

      •  if he did cause a financial meltdown... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, salmo could mean financial suicide for not only himself but his wife, as well. Open Secrets reports:

        "Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) ranks 10th in the Senate with an estimated net worth* of $22,841,026 in 2012".

        Upon further examination, his financial statement shows where the lion's share of this money came from. And it's from his wife, not from his Senate income or connections. It brings a new wrinkle to the axiom: "hell has no fury like a woman scorned". Or in this case, a woman whose husband just broke the banks to satisfy a personal vendetta against President Obama.
        Warning pdf:

        WaPo reports further:

        "Indeed, a McConnell spokesman confirms that this was an inheritance for McConnell’s wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, after her mother died in 2007. Chao, who married McConnell in 1993, earns significant income on her own, serving on corporate boards, and has at least $1 million in a Vanguard 500 Index Fund. (Since these shares are in her name, McConnell only needs to report they have a minimum value of $1 milllion.)"

        I take any threat from McConnell to cause a financial meltdown with a ton of salt and a 20 ton side order of hubris, because he would have a lot of splainin' to do to the Mrs.

        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:57:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bob McDonnell...another 'Do as I say and not as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trillian, Vixter, tb mare

    I do' blowhard bites the dust.

    •  not so quick; defense = the Mrs. did it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, Vixter, wintergreen8694, tb mare

      and I knew nothing about it, and she and I weren't even talking to each other at that point.

      Will be interesting to see if the jury buys it.

    •  Example 9,879,678 of "Republicans Can't Handle $" (7+ / 0-)

      the McDonnells  were in debt up to their eyeballs. I love the way all the GOP preach about the deficit, we don't spend more than we make...

      Baloney, the McDonnells were in debt up to their eyeballs. They spent every penny they made, and then spent a ton more, putting the bills on credit cards, then they spent a ton more, borrowing from "friends" who wanted to loan them money and just pay for things because Bob and Mo are just so...exceptional.

      And Bob McDonnell obviously couldn't even manage his own salary. He knows how much he makes, he knows how much they spend.  If I gave my spouse a Rolex for Christmas, the first he'd say is "uh, honey, where'd you get the money for this..., cause I know we don't have it." and what kind of a family nada  wife and daughter who sit down and plan a lavish wedding without also having the all important and preliminary "let's talk about how we are going to pay for this and set a budget" talk.

      And they let this man be governor? They seriously considered him for VP? (Of course once you've nominated $he Who Should Not Be Named, you've clearly thrown all standards away).

      The GOP really can't handle money worth a damn.

      If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious. Douglas Adams

      by trillian on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:49:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Paying ransom to your enemy (6+ / 0-)

    that enables them to fund their war against you is pretty much the definition of insanity.  

    I feel for James Foley, his family and any of the people taken by these jihadists.  That does not make it any less insane to pay huge sums of money to their captors.  

    And there is no comparison with Somali pirates.  At all.  The Somali economy is nonexistent and these are basically small businesses set up to replace that economy.  Moreover, it was a relatively simple effort to drastically reduce the piracy by providing protection and altering shipping routes.  ISIL on the other hand is an organized, dangerous and destabilizing adversary whose aims are counter to every western notion of civilization.  Since we do not want (nor would it be a good idea) to get into another ground war in Iraq to fight them, we need to count on the Kurds (and possibly the other factions in Iraq, but I wouldn't count on it) to do so.  That means air support, which has started, but it also means you do not want to aid the enemy with money.  That just makes the job harder.  European nations do seem to have a hard time with making the hard choices, and it is a puzzle to me as to why.  But this much should be obvious, if you want less death and destruction and the best chance for an improved situation "over there", paying ransom can't be on your checklist of possible moves to make.  

    Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

    by nsfbr on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:20:21 AM PDT

  •  I agree with the ransom. (0+ / 0-)

    People are upset about the groups getting money?  Holy-smack-my-head. Let's dissect $165 million to death, but nary a peep about the pallets of cash in Iraq in the early aughts that make up unaccounted for billions of dollars.  
    No one in our government has the right to point fingers about human rights violations in other countries or condemn the payment of cash to anyone.  Well, not unless they want to come across as the biggest hypocrites since (fill in your favorite group of hypocrites).  Holy-deep-fried-butter-on-a-stick.  Pay the ransom.

    •  They aren't comparable. You cannot decide on a ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohiolibrarian, nsfbr, tb mare, Vixter

      They aren't comparable. You cannot decide on a current or future policy by insisting that we remain foolishly consistent with a stupid previous policy.

    •  Yeah, kick the can down the road (0+ / 0-)

      let the next generation deal with it the threat. We'll just pay our way out for now.
      That's the popular solution nowadays

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:48:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're Kidding, Right? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vixter, Heart of the Rockies, tb mare

      This issue, like so many others-- is hyper political. Imagine the talking heads and RWNJ's foaming at the mouth and chewing the carpet had our government paid the ransom for Foley. Obama would have been condemned for "aiding and abetting terrorists".

      Newer mind ISIS acquired U.S. manufactured and paid for armored Humvees, weapons, etc., when they recently overran Mosul and the Iraqi "army" turned tail and ran. this is OK with the wingnuts.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:05:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was a rhetorical question, right? (0+ / 0-)

        Mouth foamers will foam no matter what.  Amazingly, when the 2 shrubs were making kissy face with terrorists - no one seemed to care.  I'm tired of always bowing to those who throw tantrums.  Ever think of doing the right thing just because, you know, it's the right thing?
        What else is money good for?

        •  It's NOT "the right thing". It's a stupid thing... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It's NOT "the right thing". It's a stupid thing, IMO.

          Providing incentives to take MORE people hostage and providing funds for terrorist activities that could kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

          In what world would that be "the right thing" to do?

        •  HOW About This-- (0+ / 0-)

          U.S. journalists need to STAY OUT of Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, certain sections of Iraq, etc.

          "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

          by Superpole on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 01:46:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Not that it should apply to anyone... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blw, Vixter, Heart of the Rockies

    other than me, but my family and certain professionals know that under no circumstances will a ransom be paid for me. Ok, I'm a bastard, my street value is zero. Or should be. Apart from Iraq and Afghanistan, I have been in "rebel controlled" territory at least ten times. It is seldom fun, but very worthwhile. Those experiences definitely made me a better man. (Ok, I'm still crap :-p).

    I'll just add that in the unlikely event Belgium would pay a ransom for me - I'm pretty unpopular with the Belgocrats (I have had to sue them twice just to be issued a passport) - well they would be fucked every which way but wednesday.

    And my heart aches for the kith and kin of James... but he died doing something that needed to be done.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 05:22:54 AM PDT

  •  I think ransom was paid in the Lindbergh baby case (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vixter, CWinebrinner

    and that didn't turn out so good.

  •  Govt should never pay ransoms. Private citizens ok (7+ / 0-)

    In Trinidad, my ancestral home country, there used to be kidnapping conducted regularly, mainly because the govt always paid the ransoms. But then it became an industry. Thats crazy. The only way to stop it was to refuse any negotiations with kidnappers.

    Governments, at least the US government, simply cannot negotiate under those kinds of conditions. Else Americans abroad everywhere will soon find themselves to be merchandise.

    Now, if they target rich Americans who have the ability to pay for their own loved ones, then fine.

    •  Seems like it might be a way to collect... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      ....intelligence on the hostage takers, though.

      At least play them for awhile to see what you can find out.

      Or maybe figure out a way to trace the payoff.

      We have a pretty big intelligence community. We should be able to outsmart them.

      •  Id say that is of less value than (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vixter, tb mare

        Americans abroad being secure in their persons.

        Any American has to be abundantly clear to their abductors: the American government wont give you a single penny. They might attempt a rescue and kill you all...maybe. But you wont get any change in policy or a single penny. May as well killl me or release me because thats about as far as its going to go. Im not rich or valuable, so dont expect to get anything but a pittance from my family.

        Now, if theyre rich they can say all that except substituting the blast bit with 'my father will send a private jet with a million bucks cash.'

    •  Rich or have kidnap insurance (0+ / 0-)

      Or their company agrees to pay up before sending them in harm's way. Agree, not governments.

      WA Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility."

      by mrobinson on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:19:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Go Get Them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    Countries should pay the ransom to terrorists. But use the payment, and the terrorists coming out of their ratholes, to target those kidnappers for military destruction. In fact the US military should be dangling decoys to terrorists for capture, who can then help the military from the inside to find and destroy those terrorists.

    If the Pentagon were really fighting a Terror War to destroy terrorists, it would do that. Instead it's fighting a Terror War to destroy any remaining barriers to its unlimited power, budgets and unaccountability.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 06:29:23 AM PDT

  •  A temporary turn of 180 degrees by the neocon hawk (0+ / 0-)

    A temporary turn of 180 degrees by the neocon hawks

  •  The Bowe Bergdahl case makes this look awkward. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can argue that it was different because Bergdahl was a soldier and it was not a monetary ransom that was paid, but the bottom line is that the Taliban negotiated for and received goods in exchange for a U.S. prisoner they were holding.   If you were in favor of cutting that deal, then you are in a bit of an awkward spot saying we shouldn't have negotiated for Foley's release.

  •  there is a second choice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohiolibrarian, tb mare

    a govt could do what reagan did and refuse to negotiate with terrorists for homeland consumption but negotiate covertly especially if it gets you elected to office, i mean having your cake and eating it to gets you the reputation of the great communicator when you really are the great bull shiter.

  •  Old sayings are old sayings for a reason: (0+ / 0-)

    Once you pay the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.

    To the left, to the left....

    by CWinebrinner on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 07:27:21 AM PDT

    •  The problem back then was that you couldn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      get rid of the Dane by not paying. They would just raid your coast, take everything not nailed down, burn the rest, and kill everybody in sight. Or worse, as in Normandy, the Norsemen just took over the territory entirely, and later conquered England and Sicily. Ireland was entirely Danish-ruled for centuries. Swedes conquered Kiev and established the Rurik dynasty, and the name of Russia comes from Rus', the name for the Swedish Varangian conquerors.

      Similarly for the Tatar yoke, the requirement on Russia from the days of the Mongol conquests to pay tribute until Ivan Groznii beat them off in battle.

      Similarly for the Barbary Coast pirates until Jefferson sent the US Navy and Marines to Tripoli and other havens of pirates and slavers, which the Marines still sing about.

      Don't get me started on the Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, French, Dutch, British, Austrian, Prussian, Russian, Belgian, and Japanese Empires. Or US colonies and territories, or United Fruit Company, or the CIA in Iran. Or any that went before.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 08:46:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like your sig line (0+ / 0-)

        and nice orderly facts. It's what we need for Ferguson threads.

        WA Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility."

        by mrobinson on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:24:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The corollary fits though: (0+ / 0-)

        Paying a kidnapper only gives them incentive to kidnap again.

        ISIS doesn't have the wherewithal to pillage anywhere but in their own locality.  Not that they don't do enough there already.  But if they thought they could do it and not paint themselves as an even larger target, I'd imagine they would.

        To the left, to the left....

        by CWinebrinner on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:39:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Knowing how Obama (0+ / 0-)

    is methodical in his approach, now that an American has been publically executed by ISIS,(and Hagel has laid the groundword by calling them a huge threat)  my guess is he is coordinating a major retaliation with allies, the Kurds, and other groups. One night when ISIS is least expecting it ( perhaps when they go on their next offensive), you will see a major coordinated jet and drone attack on many ISIS positions in one blitzkreig night attack. Just like Osama... planned, secret, unannounced.

  •  How much ... (0+ / 0-)

    ransom money are the Ferguson Police terrorist forces asking to release the journalists they keep kidnapping?

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