September 29, 2004


Italy debates the cost of freeing hostages: Some fear consequences of alleged ransom payment. (Sophie Arie, 9/30/04, CS Monitor)

Euphoria still lingers in the air after the triumphant homecoming of two Italian aid workers held hostage in Iraq. But concern intensified Wednesday that by saving the "two Simonas," Italy may have inspired a whole new phase of kidnapping in Iraq, sending a message to criminal gangs that western hostages are worth millions of dollars.

Amid reports that at least $1 million was paid for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Parretta after 21 days of agonizing negotiations with their captors, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said only that the government made "a very difficult choice."

But Gustavo Selva, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, confirmed that the two women were saved by cash. "The lives of the girls was the most important thing," Mr. Selva said in an interview with France's RTL radio.

"In principle, we shouldn't give in to blackmail but this time we had to, although it's a dangerous path to take because, obviously, it could encourage others to take hostages, either for political reasons or for criminal reasons," he said.

The Europeans are so craven you can sometimes almost understand why al Qaeda thinks it could win. Imagine how bewildered they'll be though when George Bush easily wins a mandate to keep whupping up on them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2004 10:59 PM

Yeah, paying cash for hostages really worked out well in the Philippines, didn't it ?

Every Italian in Iraq will be kidnapped in the upcoming months. The aid agencies should send them home before they get hurt, or at least get them some fake passports from Central America.

If I ever get kidnapped, I hope that the authorities find out where I'm being held, and feed those grid coordinates to a cruise missile.
That'll learn 'em.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 30, 2004 1:57 AM

If you keep on paying the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.

Posted by: Bart at September 30, 2004 7:22 AM

I not the Italians' denial of paying ransom. Frankly the denial is irrelevant. It is enough for the Jihadis to believe that the ransom was paid by the Italians as good little Dhimmis. Leeden's take last week on kidnapping as a recruitment tool is relevant to this as now kidnapping isn't just an attractive way to slaughter infidels, it's also a way to get rich.

Posted by: BC Monkey at September 30, 2004 9:32 AM

>If you keep on paying the Danegeld, you never
>get rid of the Dane.

Plus, you find out just how many relatives, friends, and hangers-on he has coming over from Denmark...

Posted by: Ken at September 30, 2004 12:37 PM