Friday, December 30, 2005

The Global War on Hostages

It's the latest fad of 2005 for the keyboarding Right -- making fun of hostages. In this, they continue down a trail blazed by Mark Steyn. We won't even bother looking at the warbloggers, or the comment sections thereof, because as Mike Power explains, laughing at hostages is among the less problematic things you'll find there. No, let's look at a place that should know better, the Wall Street Journal's online opinion page, Opinion Journal, and James Taranto's column therein. And they should know better because one of their colleagues, Daniel Pearl, was himself a murdered hostage.

Hilarity ensures for Taranto today because the victims in two separate hostage takings are French and German -- two countries that wouldn't go along with King George's plan to invade Iraq given the unsuccessful search for WMDs. So the item is headlined "weasel watch" and goes from there:

"The Arabic-language TV network Al-Arabiya aired video Wednesday of a French engineer held captive in Iraq and said his captors threatened to kill him unless France ends its 'illegitimate presence' in the country," CNN reports.

Well, if the French can't figure out a way to surrender without engaging in the first place, no one can!

[some shite warblogger] notes a Reuters report that Juergen Chrobog, who served as Germany's ambassador to the U.S., has been kidnapped in Yemen. "This November," [warblogger] writes, Chrobog "was quoted in our blog as a admirer of 'soft power.' " In 2003, the Times of London reported, Chrobog "was reported to have told Foreign Ministry colleagues that America was turning into a 'police state.' "

Writes [warblogger], "Why he would travel to Yemen during these troubled times is beyond me." Maybe he just craved anarchy.

It's too easy to turn this line of questioning around to Daniel Pearl's case, so we won't. Let's just note that they were at the same game a few weeks ago with British hostage Norman Kember and his 3 North American colleagues:

Of course, as the Guardian notes, the hostages, who represent an outfit called Christian Peacemaker Teams, were already on the same side as the terrorists: "The group had been campaigning on behalf of a number of detainees held by the US in Iraqi jails."

The Guardian may have typos, but they still know what the presumption of innocence means.

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