Skip

Burden to pay millions in ransoms falls on ordinary U.S. families
August 22, 2014 8:35 PM   Subscribe

U.S. and foreigh government ransom policies are at odds and discrepancies and media blackouts keep pressure off U.S. government to act and puts tremendous strain on ordinary American families of hostages.
posted by pallen123 (16 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: It really looks like you posted this just to argue about it, and a single-source link is a bad way to set that up in good faith. Contact us if you want to try again on this issue. -- restless_nomad



 


Paying terrorists ransoms only encourages more kidnappings for ransoms that will only encourage more kidnappings for ransoms.

The only thing Europe has succeeded in doing is funding more terror by paying out ransoms to ISIS.
posted by Renoroc at 8:46 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also saving the people who were kidnapped and held for ransom
posted by Hoopo at 8:50 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


I disagree that paying ransoms only encourages more kidnappings. I think that's an unproven thesis.

Also the notion that paying ransoms funds more terrorism is specious. Ransom payment is a controllable action that can result in the release/freedom of someone that may otherwise be decapitated. What occurs with the ransom funds thereafter is subject to any number of unknowns including policy changes, war, bombings, theft, etc. It's not one or the other. Both strategies -- ransom and war can be carried out in tandem.
posted by pallen123 at 8:52 PM on August 22, 2014


Yes, it is saving people who are kidnapped while funding and encouraging more kidnapping. The governments presumably hope that the next person to be kidnapped will be of a different nationality, which is fairly likely.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:53 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


The moral issue for the U.S. govt. is that ordinary families are being asked to pay tens of millions or hundreds in ransom that they cannot afford because other nations are paying ransoms out of national treasuries. If your son or daughter or father or mother were in jeopardy you wouldn't give a shit about perpetuating terror you'd want to pay the frickin money to the savages and be done with it. And more often than not it's the U.S. government that has put those loved ones in harms way -- government contractors and the like.
posted by pallen123 at 8:57 PM on August 22, 2014


this is probably not proof but:
- france has a reputation that it pays ransoms.
- "France tops world hostage list with latest kidnapping" http://www.france24.com/en/20130220-france-hostages-world-cameroon-nigeria-hollande-terrorists/

Kidnappers pay attention to this stuff and act accordingly.
posted by mulligan at 9:04 PM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


I disagree that paying ransoms only encourages more kidnappings. I think that's an unproven thesis.

Do you have a proposal for testing out this thesis? What's the deciding factor for whose ransom gets paid and who doesn't? What's a representational sampling of hostages? What sort of time frame do we look at? What factors do we try to control for, and how?

I fully believe that paying the ransoms encourages more kidnappings. I also do not for a second blame any family, company or even any government for paying to get their people back. I wish rescue operations were more common, but those are obviously far too dangerous in many situations even if the locations are known.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:05 PM on August 22, 2014


Kidnapping for ransom is something that's gone on for decades in South and Central America, with both crime syndicates and revolutionary groups. What has a policy of businessmen with kidnapping insurance done for that sector? My limited understanding is that there was a fairly clear transition of FARC from genuine revolutionary movement to kidnapping syndicate, especially as ideologically-motivated leaders were killed or arrested.
posted by fatbird at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


- france has a reputation that it pays ransomes.

France has also been known to send in soldiers to kick down the door when they have actionable intelligence. Mileage varies there.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2014


I'm not judging the policy. It just doesn't really strike me as a good idea to ignore the pragmatic side of this situation when human lives are on the line.
posted by Hoopo at 9:06 PM on August 22, 2014


It's true that none of my loved ones have been kidnapped by terrorists, so I am fortunate to be able to see the folly of attempting to save the present victims of a terrorist group by means of funding, facilitating and encouraging future crimes by the terrorist group in question, as well as any others who wish to profit from ransom.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:09 PM on August 22, 2014


I think that's an unproven thesis.

The thesis that if you pay people money after they do something, they do it again more often, is extremely well-attested. If you want to assert that the case of kidnappings doesn't conform to that general rule, I'd say the burden of proof lies on you.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:19 PM on August 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thesis that if you pay people money after they do something, they do it again more often, is extremely well-attested. If you want to assert that the case of kidnappings doesn't conform to that general rule, I'd say the burden of proof lies on you.


It doesn't fall on my because I'm not God.

My point is you neither are you. You don't know the rate at which kidnappers would take hostages absent financial motivation. And in the scheme of things we don't really know whether the public health, mortality threat, in one theater is greater or lesser if we adopt a policy of paying ransom or not. The outcome in terms of lives lost may be lesser. Indeed it seems anecdotally that more Europeans are being released through ransom than Americans.
posted by pallen123 at 9:25 PM on August 22, 2014


Unfortunately it falls on families to value their loved ones above all others, whereas it is the duty of governments to benefit, protect, or at least not cause harm to society as a whole. Society benefits when kidnappers are undermined and punished, not when they are rewarded with money.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:36 PM on August 22, 2014


You don't know the rate at which kidnappers would take hostages absent financial motivation.

No, absent financial motivation, why would there be kidnappings? The whole reason people are kidnapped is because the kidnappers expect compensation for the release of their prisoners. Are you being deliberately obtuse?
posted by Literaryhero at 9:46 PM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


« Older Getting to Know Whale Vaginas in 7 Steps   |   " They were paying for an experience. " Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post