Thursday, September 30, 2004

On Paying Ransom

The rule is plain and simple: We do not pay ransom. It would only encourage more kidnappings. That’s very persuasive -- unless the hostage is someone you care about.

All Italy has been celebrating the release of the two Silonas -- angels of mercy -- although it was admitted, and then denied with a wink, that the Italian government itself paid a million dollars to the kidnappers. Nearly all of Britain seems to be praying that Tony Blair will hearken to the appeal of another victim. On the record, Blair is committed to the line of Bush and Ariel Sharon -- we don’t negotiate with terrorists -- although with all three, you never know. There HAVE been exceptions.

That’s the sort of thing we should keep in mind during tonight’s debate. Life is complicated. That’s a great handicap for liberals or radicals or progressives - call us what you will. Your core voters for Bush have swallowed his simple solutions -- except when the victims are members of their own families.

I repeat, we are all hostages, and as such, we have a huge stake in the showdown tonight . The debate will be on three levels - one on stage, one in the spin room that will tell us what to think of it, and, finally, the deciding one, in our own minds. Your contributions, by the way, will be welcome.