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Would American Money Have Saved James Foley

Would American Money Have Saved James Foley

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Published by: Thavam on Aug 21, 2014
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08/21/2014

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European governments pay millions of dollars in ransoms to free their hostages. The White House needs to decide whether it’s willing to sacrice principle for people.
BY  J!E" T#$B%$&$"T '() '(*+ The ,loodthirsty -ihadists of the slamic "tate /"0 have murdered James 1oley) an merican -ournalist who was 2idnapped in "yria in 3ovem,er '(*'. They also have threatened the life of "teven "otlo4) another merican freelancer) who was sei5ed last ugust) and who has written for 1oreign 6olicy on three occasions. The e7ecutioner in the
 
video warned 6resident Barac2 8,ama that "otlo4 would die if the White House continues its ,om,ing campaign in ra9.  assume that the president has as2ed intelligence and special forces operatives whether "otlo4 could ,e freed in a raid.  hope he determines that he can ,e) ,ut it:s very unli2ely. ccording to the
New York Times
) a rescue attempt earlier this summer came to naught when commandos air%dropped into a remote region of "yria failed to nd the hostages. The record of rescue attempts has not ,een good since merican helicopters came to grief in the ranian desert in *;<(. nd " could ,e shuttling "otlo4 anywhere in their vast =caliphate.=t is a gut%wrenching moment. nd it:s impossi,le not to thin2 a,out how it could have ,een otherwise."otlo4 had ,een sei5ed a few wee2s ,efore  arrived on the Tur2ish%"yrian ,order to write a piece for 16 a,out the rampant 2idnapping of -ournalists ,y " /at the time) still ""0 and other slamist e7tremists.  never met him) ,ut he was a good friend of Bara2 Bar) an ra, scholar and fellow at the 3ew merica 1oundation who served as my guide and mentor on that article.  tal2ed to many of the people who had advised "otlo4 on when and where and how to cross into "yria that last time. />ittle of that made its wayinto my dispatch) since  went to great lengths to protect the identity of  -ournalists then ,eing held.0 "ome of them thought he had not ta2en properprecautions? ,ut the situation had deteriorated so rapidly over the summer of '(*@ that even a few of the world:s most e7perienced war correspondents had escaped ,eing sei5ed only ,y a stro2e of luc2. "otlo4 was one of the unluc2y ones.Being 2idnapped is not usually a death sentence) whether for diplomats or ,usinessmen or tourists or -ournalists. !ost 2idnappers in war 5ones view
 
their prey as a commodity. The Tali,an who 2idnapped
New York Times
 correspondent Aavid #ohde in fghanistan at rst sought to trade him for money. n "yria) the nationalist re,els who sei5ed -ournalists in the rst years of the war usually held them ,riey and then sold them o4. "") however) was di4erent. They as2ed nothing) and divulged nothing. Their victims simply disappeared. nd yet) it seemed) they had not ,een 2illed. 3o one 2new what) if anything) they wanted. 6erhaps they weren:t sure either.nd then) earlier this year) some disappeared -ournalists ,egan to emerge.  Two "panish -ournalists were released in !arch. The following month) four 1rench -ournalists emerged from captivity. t was widely assumed that "" had demanded ransom) and that the European governments had agreed to pay. European governments generally agree to ma2e) or facilitate) ransom payments) which are ,elieved to have run as high as C*( million.3either the $nited "tates nor Britain ma2es payments of this sort) and ,oth countries sharply critici5e European governments for doing so. But perhaps that:s why no merican or British -ournalists have ,een freed during this period. n ugust) of course) the $nited "tates ,egan ,om,ing " positions in ra9) further complicating any oDcial attempts %% if they were made at all %% to free 1oley and "otlo4. They were thus availa,le to serve as punishment) and as ,lac2mail. This raises an agoni5ing 9uestion "hould states pay ransom to 2idnappersF f you are a friend or loved one of the victim) the answer is o,viously yes. But even a more remote o,server could cite the moral argument that the o,ligation to treat people as ends rather than means %% what Gant calls the =categorical imperative= %% for,ids one to place the life of the a,ductee in a ,alance with a,stract goods) li2e =sending a message=

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