We don't not make deals with terrorists.
January 18, 2006 12:33 PM   Subscribe

We don't not make deals with terrorists. Yesterday, the Guardian reported: "Kidnappers threatened to kill the abducted US journalist Jill Carroll unless the Bush administration ordered the release of Iraqi women prisoners within 72 hours, according to a report on al-Jazeera television yesterday." Today, the BBC reports "Iraq's ministry of justice has told the BBC that six of the eight women being held by coalition forces in Iraq have been released early. The six were freed because there was insufficient evidence to charge them, a justice ministry spokesman said." Cause, meet effect. Effect, this is cause.
posted by insomnia_lj (48 comments total)
 
May I just compliment you on your use of the <code> tag?
posted by spock at 12:36 PM on January 18, 2006


Also, may I just remind you, we don't negotiate with terrorists? cough-cough!
posted by spock at 12:37 PM on January 18, 2006


Anybody else want to negotiate?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:39 PM on January 18, 2006


Is that a euphemism, Flo?
posted by keswick at 12:40 PM on January 18, 2006


I don't negotiate with Courier New, for what it's worth.
posted by tweak at 12:42 PM on January 18, 2006


Every government has negotiated with terrorists since day one. This is not really a big surprise and if you think it is then you weren't really paying attention.
posted by longbaugh at 12:43 PM on January 18, 2006


wah SERIFS ON THE FP! >:(
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:43 PM on January 18, 2006


Didn't we start negotiating with terrorists as soon as we allowed armed militia gangs to become legitimate players in the government of Iraq. Didn't we have talks with whomever we could find that said that they spoke for "the insurgents"?

Yes. We negotiate with terrorists.
posted by Balisong at 12:45 PM on January 18, 2006


Good god, i_lj, why the Courier?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:45 PM on January 18, 2006


It's like reading Metafilter through a Teletype machine!
posted by Rothko at 12:45 PM on January 18, 2006


So we need the terrorists to help clear the docket of wrongfully charged?

Oh wait, we don't negotiate with terrorists but these are insurgents, right? So its okay. See, no hypocrisy in this government, none at all.

Now watch this drive.
posted by fenriq at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2006


You really just wanted to watch another journalist beheaded on ogrish, didn't you.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2006


this is word for word what you posted on your own blog, courier as well except for the first link which is the same as the second.
posted by jessamyn at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2006


[removed code tags]
posted by mathowie at 12:46 PM on January 18, 2006


Well, of course we negotiate with terrorists, but we usually don't do it so transparently, with such a clearcut tit-for-tat arrangement.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:47 PM on January 18, 2006


"WE" aren't the Iraqi government. "THEY" negotiate with whomever they please. "THEY" have to keep in touch with all factions within "THEIR" sovereign nation. Whoever "WE" might be, we are not in charge over there. "WE" are bringing democracy and independence to Iraq, see below.

(Tongue, in cheek.)
posted by Oyéah at 12:49 PM on January 18, 2006


Wow, haven't laughed that hard all day, Oyéah. You do children's parties?
posted by prostyle at 12:53 PM on January 18, 2006


"this is word for word what you posted on your own blog, courier as well".
I did that, too, in the past, at least two or three times (well, not the courier part) -- I didn't know it was a bad thing. Why shouldn't we repost here things we have posted on our own blogs, if they're good enough? (without self-linking, of course)

posted by matteo at 12:54 PM on January 18, 2006


"WE" aren't the Iraqi government."

... and neither is the Government of Iraq, it appears.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:55 PM on January 18, 2006


This is such an incredibly bad idea that I have to wonder if the government is planning something sneaky here. Maybe they've replaced some of the prisoners with intelligence agents, or stuck tracking devices in them, or something.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:56 PM on January 18, 2006


"Why shouldn't we repost here things we have posted on our own blogs, if they're good enough?"

This has been mentioned several times before, and it's always come down that there's nothing wrong with it. It's not like any of us are under exclusive contract, after all.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:57 PM on January 18, 2006


It's not like any of us are under exclusive contract, after all.

I am. ©
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:01 PM on January 18, 2006


Time reported on talks between the US and insurgents last January (as we discussed), the Washington Post did the same last June, and Reuters reports the same thing this month.

The administration is solving the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" problem by making a distinction between terrorists and insurgents, which they should've done from the beginning but were reluctant to do. Maybe Salon was wrong and Bush isn't "too stubborn and foolish" to negotiate a cease-fire with the insurgents.

Well, of course we negotiate with terrorists, but we usually don't do it so transparently, with such a clearcut tit-for-tat arrangement.

As shown in Exhibit A.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on January 18, 2006


"Maybe they've replaced some of the prisoners with intelligence agents, or stuck tracking devices in them, or something."

The future of war: All POWs will be sent home with forehead-implanted webcams and explosive ankle bracelets. Or RIFDs and their own personal predator drone companion. Take your pick.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:07 PM on January 18, 2006


kirkaracha - I was going to mention Iran-Contra but it's not quite the same thing since it was never as glaringly obvious as this is.
posted by longbaugh at 1:11 PM on January 18, 2006


I just hope Carroll is released now. The last thing anyone needs to see is another column of '.'
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:23 PM on January 18, 2006


How does everyone feel about the <tt> tag?
posted by spock at 1:23 PM on January 18, 2006


Uh, I don't see why you think they're related insomnia_lj. Jill Carroll is nobody. There's no shortage of Western reporters willing to die in Iraq. There's no shortage of Iraqi insurgents willing to kill Western reporters to get what they want. The Bush administration has no history of meeting terrorist demands. Most importantly, it's just a terribly dumb thing to do.

It's just wishful thinking to think this time was different and the demands will be met.
posted by nixerman at 1:30 PM on January 18, 2006


Re: "We don't deal with terrorists," I think the distinction is less about the terrorist vs. insurgent definition and more about the "because there was insufficient evidence to charge them." They can then at least semi-legitimately claim not to be ceding directly to terrorist demands. The demand simply expedited the process of determining whether or not there were sufficient grounds for imprisoning these six Iraqi women. This would be a more plausible rationale if the Bush administration were known to release prisoners when evidence doesn't hold up.
posted by nobody at 1:40 PM on January 18, 2006


Not negotiating with terrorists is a bluff. It's a good thing to bluff about but it would be stupid to treat it as anything else.

A not negotiating with terrorist policy has one benefit, it dissuades terrorists from using terrorist acts as a means of getting getting benefits. The non negotiating policy has a cost as well, it prevents a government from sacrificing something subordinate to terrorists in exchange for something the government values more. So in general a government should negotiate with terrorists whenever the benefit from doing so exceeds the costs of what is sacrificed to terrorists and the cost of the damage to a nation's reputation as an entity that will not negotiate with terrorists.

Now this has been largely an education in the obvious but there is one point which is really interesting to me. The actual decision makers may not value damage to reputation appropriately since the benefits are dealt out over a long period. It may very well be in the interest of a politician (or military leader) who is near the end of of his career to negotiate with terrorists because he would incur the costs of not negotiating with the terrorists but accrue none of the benefits.
posted by I Foody at 1:43 PM on January 18, 2006


*slams head into desk*

Dumber then hell. The problem is we don’t negotiate with SOME terrorists. Even then to do this at such a high profile...
Argh!

Whynot hand them some publicity? Make them really notorious? Better still send in some really well known bad asses and have them killed publically. Yeah.

*shoots self in foot*
posted by Smedleyman at 1:50 PM on January 18, 2006


(we should negotiate or not negotiate - doing it with some makes some ‘legitimate’ and leaves others wanting legitimacy)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:51 PM on January 18, 2006


It's not whether you negotiate with terrorists, it's how you negotiate with terrorists. Specifically, you do not negotiate with terrorists in a way that sends the message that terrorism works.

Expect more kidnappings soon, and more kidnappings after that.
posted by Hogshead at 1:56 PM on January 18, 2006


Thanks insomnia_lj

I wanted to start a discussion about her situation, but being my first post and all it was shot down because:

"This post was deleted for the following reason: gyob, a bunch of questions isn't a good post.

A Wikipedia link, and a BoingBoing link, neither of which seem to say anything about the questions that you ask. Are you proposing that MetaFilter become the next TSG and research these questions ourselves? Or is this just poor NewsFiltering?
posted by Plutor at 12:10 PM PST on January 18 [!]"


The fact that this western journalist speaks Arabic is significant, so it makes me wonder why al jazeera would broadcast a video of her speaking, but not what she was saying.

Yes, I don't know what GYOB means.
posted by tzelig at 1:57 PM on January 18, 2006


tzelig - GYOB = get your own blog
posted by longbaugh at 2:00 PM on January 18, 2006


With the rhetoric that the Bush administration has pushed, I fully expected a complete lack of sympathy for the kidnappers, a vow from some official that if this reporter was harmed, to track down and kill every last kidnapper (okay, he'd say "Bring to justice", but we all know what it means), and bomb something. Or, go so far as to collect the prisoners in question, and note that if the reporter is harmed, all eight will be executed. Certainly not diplomatically feasible, but falls well into the hard-line tactics Bush claims to follow.

Somewhere along the line, we've lost the hard-line action, and revealed that this was a revenge operation against Saddam and opportunity to award lucrative defense contracts. Sure, it's the "Iraqi Government", but seriously. The release of these prisoners is nothing short of providing aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. If we're going to throw our weight around in Iraq, this is the time to do so. Allowing this to happen under such conditions is no better than doing so ourselves, and those with influence over the situation should be held responsible for their inaction.
posted by Saydur at 2:09 PM on January 18, 2006


thanks longbaugh....

and apologies for the deleted post that was apparently begging the question.
posted by tzelig at 2:10 PM on January 18, 2006


I don't negotiate with serifists.
posted by soiled cowboy at 2:13 PM on January 18, 2006


Wait -- given the U.S.'s track-record on "enemy combatant" detentions, you folks actually think that it's most likely true that these now-released 6 people are actually terrorists who should be held indefinitely for the sake of (Iraqi) national security and not, say, some people picked up in a random raid in a residential area?
posted by nobody at 2:16 PM on January 18, 2006


“Expect more kidnappings soon, and more kidnappings after that.” - posted by Hogshead

‘zactly.

“...you folks actually think that it's most likely true that these now-released 6 people are actually terrorists who should be held indefinitely...”

Well...I don’t think even terrorists should be held without trial. I don’t know the circumstances under which these 6 were found, but if it were my brother or sister, I’d want to put some people in a world of hurt too.
Thinking of the mess we’re making following this kind of policy blows my mind. We’d be better off with schitzophrenic feces hurling monkeys in charge (given that it’s a correct assessment of the policies of course).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:44 PM on January 18, 2006


Why did they free only 6/8? Do they have evidence on the other 2? Will the terrorists accept a partial fulfillment?
posted by b_thinky at 2:48 PM on January 18, 2006


nobody, it seems likely to me that the prisoners who are released weren't any significant threat. They were probably picked up because they're the wife of someone important / notorious, and probably deserved to be released.

That said, it's pretty messed up that they are being released only after a terrorist threat against a US reporter. It hints at hypocracy, frankly.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2006


Cause, meet effect. Effect, this is cause.


Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.
posted by mikrophon at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2006


I don’t know the circumstances under which these 6 were found

Actually, we don't know nothing. And everything we think we know probably is not true or is only part of the picture. It is so funny when metafilter posters sound like politicians and/or public relations officials. This space gives them the sense of "representation" and they suddenly start repeating after those in the media; same sentence structures, same words, same justification, except, well. They're just acting out in oppose to be really responsible for a communication message. Get real. My recommendations: think for yourself, and post original thoughts, rather than something someone else has taught you to repeat.

ps. You sound like a nurtured moveon.org type of a guy. i bet you'll vote for Hilary Clinton in 2008. We have champs running the show dude. Much like those liberal silent peace groups, you are underestimating the idiocy of the bush presidency. If you deny my allegations, I will apologize, but your comeback has to be substantial.
posted by sundaymag at 3:07 PM on January 18, 2006


We did not have sexual relations with that women.

Read our lips, no new taxes.

etc.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on January 18, 2006


“If you deny my allegations, I will apologize, but your comeback has to be substantial.”

That sounds like a challenge in a poorly dubbed B Kung Fu movie.

The game of chess, is like metafilter
You must think first, before you post
Toad style is immensely strong, and immune to nearly any snark
When it's properly used, it's almost invincible
posted by Smedleyman at 4:06 PM on January 18, 2006


"They're just acting out in oppose to be really responsible for a communication message."

Best. Comment. Evar.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:09 PM on January 18, 2006


The US has released hundreds of prisoners on a number of occasions, most recently this week. In 2004 the International Committee of the Red Cross reported [PDF] that according to military officials 70% to 90% of the Iraqis swept up for interrogation were arrested by mistake.

Last month we released two dozen senior Baathist prisoners "who have been freed after more than 2-1/2 years in US detention," including Chemical Sally AKA Mrs. Anthrax and Dr. Worm Germ, who "was even named in the dossier on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction that the British Government released in September 2002 to make the case for war."

If you deny my allegations, I will apologize, but your comeback has to be substantial.

If you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack.

Will the terrorists accept a partial fulfillment?

Since six of the eight women were released, maybe they'll only kill her 75%. As long as they don't cause "organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death," we can't really complain about torture. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2006


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