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We Negotiate With Terrorists
January 26, 2006 12:29 PM   Subscribe

We Negotiate With Terrorists. With an abrupt move opposite of stated policy, abducted American journalist Jill Carroll's life may have been saved by the US military yielding to the demands of her captors. Have gender, politics, and media coverage become factors erroding the mantra that the US Government formally states?
posted by trick (44 comments total)

 
What the hell? Did you read the same article as I did? The kidnappers demand the release of all women, the US only released 5 out of 9 "security detainees" (does that mean there are more being held under a different title?). They also released 414 other prisoners. This seems entirely routine and as the article stated several times, not having anything to do with the kidnappers.
posted by geoff. at 12:33 PM on January 26, 2006


Has she actually been released??
Did I miss something?
posted by Floydd at 12:34 PM on January 26, 2006


The phrase has never had any meaning, and nor should it. For example, Hamas constitute the definition of terrorists, but I have no doubt they should be and will be negotiated with.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 12:35 PM on January 26, 2006


at least we don't torture. it's hard work.
posted by quonsar at 12:37 PM on January 26, 2006


Wasn't that quaint phrase discredited long ago in the Iran-Contra days?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:39 PM on January 26, 2006


member since: December 20, 2001

why this post? why now?
posted by quonsar at 12:40 PM on January 26, 2006


Not to sound heartless, but I am certain the US government understands that saving the life of one journalist (while certainly a desirable short-term gain) at the cost of the very basic principle “we do not negotiate with terrorists” will lead to a great deal of substantial long-term problems that will follow as a consequence of the violation of that principle.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 12:40 PM on January 26, 2006


trick, can you explain where you found evidence to support your description of the link by saying "We negotiate with Terrorists"? The article doesn't support that.

Where did you come up with the question "have gender, politics and media coverage eroded a mantra" and what is it's relation to this post?

What is this post?
posted by dios at 12:40 PM on January 26, 2006


Since there has been no reported contact with those holding Carroll whom then did we "Negotiate" with? Simply letting a few women out of Prison is not negotiating. We could have, for example, offered several women detainees release for proff that Ms Carroll is still alive, or some other such nugget, but again there has been no contact from those holding her... Hard to negotiate when you're the only one talking.
posted by Gungho at 12:41 PM on January 26, 2006


Have gender, politics, and media coverage become factors eroding the mantra that the US Government formally states?

No, governments lie all the time regardless of gender, media or politics, and have since the Codex Hammurabi was written. The problem is, you believed them in the first place.

We Negotiate With Terrorists.

No shit, I know a handful of dead El Salvadoran nuns who could have told you that.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:43 PM on January 26, 2006


By the way, trick, I look forward to your next post in February 2010 and hope it is as well thought out as this one.
posted by dios at 12:46 PM on January 26, 2006


No shit, I know a handful of dead El Salvadoran nuns who could have told you that.

Are you one of those psychic mediums?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:51 PM on January 26, 2006


pollomacho: funny. *golf clap*
posted by dios at 12:53 PM on January 26, 2006


Are you one of those psychic mediums?.

No, but I've got a few underneath the floorboards in my basement. I find that if you take enough Iowaska and yell your question loudly, they'll eventually answer back - it just takes time.

But that's just my experience.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2006


We don't negotiate with tourists.
posted by the shitty Baldwin at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2006


does anyone have a jill carroll bio link? or a bio of her parents?
posted by specialk420 at 1:00 PM on January 26, 2006


Nuns talk to SweetJesus all the time.
He's their homie.
posted by Floydd at 1:01 PM on January 26, 2006


We don't not negotiate with terrorists.
posted by obloquy at 1:08 PM on January 26, 2006


If we are negotiating with them then they are, by definition, not terrorists, they are insurgents. And this was just a timely release, nothing to do with the demands of the terro- insurgents.

Also, it doesn't hurt that Jill Carroll is pretty.
posted by fenriq at 1:28 PM on January 26, 2006


dios + others: I agree with you in that the post should have been written more clearly. It seemed to imply that she had been released, when she has not. However, piling up on someone who FPP'd for the first time since becoming a member four years ago seems... well, cruel. Constructive criticism would seem more to be what's called for here.

SweetJesus: Governments lie all the time. But this should never, ever be taken as a matter of course. If one lies, it should be called on it, each and every time, regardless of if it seems trite, naïve or boring. This is doubly true in the case of a democracy, in which those in power derive all their justification for rule from the very people they're lying to.
posted by JHarris at 1:31 PM on January 26, 2006


specialk: Wikipedia and CSM Jill Carroll archive (about her, not by her).

The "we don't negotiate" dictum has always been a public statement. Clearly negotiation takes place many times as long as it is deniable.
posted by dhartung at 1:38 PM on January 26, 2006


trick, can you explain where you found evidence to support your description of the link by saying "We negotiate with Terrorists"? The article doesn't support that.

Where did you come up with the question "have gender, politics and media coverage eroded a mantra" and what is it's relation to this post?

What is this post?


Dios - The link title is my inference from the events stated in the article, the fact that Carroll has yet to turn up dead, and is also a product of my opinion regarding how governments deal with terrorists, namely by secretive negotiations.

The latter question derives from the article as well. Apparently attitudes in Iraq about incarceration are gender-unequal, and Iraqi authorities have been pressing the US to release female prisoners. While it’s likely that many of them don't belong there (of both sexes, as evidenced by the continual release of detainees), simply releasing them because they are women is inherently gender-biased.

Stateside, the brutal execution of an attractive female westerner would be received very differently than the multitude of murdered male nonmilitary personnel that has predominated the conflict thus far.

Sorry I couldn't wait til Feb 2010.

Quansar – Why ANY post, EVER?
posted by trick at 1:50 PM on January 26, 2006


i don't negotiate with tara-ists (i.e. people who desire to name their children tara)
posted by wakko at 1:52 PM on January 26, 2006


JHarris: you are correct. My regrets.
posted by dios at 1:54 PM on January 26, 2006


We negotiate with terrorists? Hell, we buy them lock, stock and barrel, and then claim that they're "freedom fighters". Or at least that's what Reagan did, back when he and Osama were best buds.
posted by telstar at 1:57 PM on January 26, 2006


SweetJesus: Governments lie all the time. But this should never, ever be taken as a matter of course. If one lies, it should be called on it, each and every time, regardless of if it seems trite, naïve or boring.

Well, what, I'm supposed to be shocked to learn that our government negotiates with terrorists? That our government has said one thing, yet done another? I mean, what the fuck? We've already driven past trite, naive and boring, and we're heading quickly towards blindingly obvious.

This is doubly true in the case of a democracy, in which those in power derive all their justification for rule from the very people they're lying to.

Democracy, theocracy, oligarchy, plutocracy, kakistocracy - it's universal. The powerful don't have the interests of the weak in mind, and I'm not going to get up in some self-aggrandizing tizzy about it every time someone wanders around and happens to trip over that truth.

simply releasing them because they are women is inherently gender-biased.

Gender bias in an Islamic society? Alert the AP.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:59 PM on January 26, 2006


trick writes "The link title is my inference from the events stated in the article, the fact that Carroll has yet to turn up dead, and is also a product of my opinion regarding how governments deal with terrorists, namely by secretive negotiations. "

Keep your inferences and opinions off the front page.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:03 PM on January 26, 2006


JHarris: Indeed, I could have worded the post more clearly. I had intended to add an adendum to that effect, but logging back on to MeFi was problematic for some reason. I had wanted to restate that it was perhaps a -partial- yielding to their demands.

Yes, I'm aware that she has hasn't been released, and I didn't mean to imply that she had been, but that such 'diplomatic' efforts to that end were perhaps underway.

As for my long abscence from posting, what can I say? People usually beat me to the punch, I'm left to just observe as the threads disolve into madness.
posted by trick at 2:05 PM on January 26, 2006


perhaps underway? Once again, nothing in the article comes close to that, in fact the article states the exact opposite. Correlation is not causation, as I'm sure you know. Even if they are your opinions you seem to be basing them on nothing but pure conjecture which we don't need after a link (which strongly implied the opposite of what the article clearly states).
posted by geoff. at 2:15 PM on January 26, 2006


disolve into madness

I think you mean "devolve". But that would mean that madness is not the point of the threads, and I'm not sure that is the case.
posted by beth at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2006


Not to sound heartless, but I am certain the US government understands that saving the life of one journalist (while certainly a desirable short-term gain) at the cost of the very basic principle “we do not negotiate with terrorists” will lead to a great deal of substantial long-term problems that will follow as a consequence of the violation of that principle.

Go wash your hands Pontius Pilate. Ignoring people who have a legitimate political grievance is what drives them to terrorism in the first place. Ignoring them some more "on principle" just means that the "terrorists" have to do something even more shocking to get your attention.
posted by three blind mice at 2:43 PM on January 26, 2006


It seems like they could have released the five prisoners, and saved the "we were going to do it anyway" until after Jill Carroll was released.
posted by Jatayu das at 3:07 PM on January 26, 2006


What is this post?
posted by dios at 12:40 PM PST on January 26 [!]


Yes dios. What DO you have to contribute here?

Not that you have the intellectual ability to answer.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:52 PM on January 26, 2006


SweetJesus: Governments lie all the time. But this should never, ever be taken as a matter of course. If one lies, it should be called on it, each and every time, regardless of if it seems trite, naïve or boring. This is doubly true in the case of a democracy,

But what if the government is a Constitution-based federal republic? Does that make lying OK then?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:56 PM on January 26, 2006


Ignoring people who have a legitimate political grievance is what drives them to terrorism in the first place. Ignoring them some more "on principle" just means that the "terrorists" have to do something even more shocking to get your attention.
posted by three blind mice at 2:43 PM PST on January 26 [!]


*clap* *clap* *clap*
posted by rough ashlar at 4:09 PM on January 26, 2006


“Have gender, politics, and media coverage become factors eroding the mantra that the US Government formally states?”

To add to what TBM said, the problem is we sometimes negotiate with some terrorists. Which gets into the whole “do something even more shocking” thing to get anyone to talk to you. Once Uncle Sugar does start talking to you, you get some legitimacy. The key is to either not negotiate with any terrorists any time ever - or negotiate with anyone (given they adhere to diplomatic principles and don’t slice your envoy’s throat immediately).

Unless you’re talking, the information isn’t flowing. And that’d be, y’know, what intelligence is about.

But perhaps I haven’t read enough Tom Clancy or whatever playbook folks are reading.

“...at the cost of the very basic principle “we do not negotiate with terrorists” will lead to a great deal of substantial long-term problems...”

The U.S. government might know any number of things the U.S. administration is choosing to ignore. Counterterrorists and FSOs know that diplomacy is the most often used, and most often successful form of counterterrorism.

We often confuse “not capitulate to or recognize as valid terrorist acts” with “negotiate with terrorists.” Probably because the latter fits better on a sound bite.
But we can condemn the terrorist act, use force in fact, and still leave the channels open.

It’s the whole “know your enemy” thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:29 PM on January 26, 2006


Unless you’re talking, the information isn’t flowing.

And not talking leads to a comment like a WWI general made.

War is diplomacy by other means.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:52 PM on January 26, 2006


Don't Talk! Rats have BIG ears!
posted by Balisong at 5:07 PM on January 26, 2006


Go wash your hands Pontius Pilate. Ignoring people who have a legitimate political grievance is what drives them to terrorism in the first place. Ignoring them some more "on principle" just means that the "terrorists" have to do something even more shocking to get your attention.

That's a ridiculous statement to make. The issue at point is not whether people with legitimate political grievances are being ignored by us; rather, the issue is whether the United States government should negotiate with these same people when they engage in acts of kidnapping and yes, terrorism, in order to promote their goals.

It's perfectly fine to *lawfully* seek recourse for whatever political grievances they may have. The problems begin when a protest banner is swapped for a gun. I am not naive enough to argue that peaceful protest etc. is sufficient to affect the change they seek. On the other hand, I should hope that you are not naive enough to argue that kidnapping American civilians is the way to get a political point across.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 6:16 PM on January 26, 2006


It's perfectly fine to *lawfully* seek recourse for whatever political grievances they may have.

Yes, for US laws cover all kinds of recourse for non-citizens.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:18 PM on January 26, 2006


Is it wrong to advocate that political dissention rise to the level of relevancy?
posted by Balisong at 8:01 PM on January 26, 2006


But what if the government is a Constitution-based federal republic? Does that make lying OK then?

Thank you for linking to the CIA factbook for me, because if I hadn't heard it from the CIA, I wouldn't have believed it.

I guess you proved your point... What was it again, lying is bad?
posted by SweetJesus at 7:47 AM on January 27, 2006


if I hadn't heard it from the CIA, I wouldn't have believed it.

Good, otherwise I'd have to link to a whole buch of other sources which show the US is a republic and not a democracy.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:03 AM on January 27, 2006


Good, otherwise I'd have to link to a whole buch of other sources which show the US is a republic and not a democracy.

Well, I could just rely on that 8th grade civics class I took, or my ability to remember the obvious. Thanks for playing pedant, though.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:09 AM on January 27, 2006


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