Thursday, April 23, 2015

The hostage curse

The White House statements today on the killing of two Al Qaeda hostages by a CIA drone strike is frank enough but of course words are cheap compared to ultimate frustration of an allied-military death ending to a protracted kidnapping. Words are also cheap compared to the ransoms that might have secured the hostage release. There are particular questions about the Italian hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto, who was kidnapped with a German colleague, Bernd Muelenbeck. It somewhat slipped below the radar screen when it first occurred (German, English), but Muelenbeck was released last October. If the White House is doing a comprehensive evaluation of what went wrong in this case, it needs to focus on hostage policy. Italians might be asking the same question.

UPDATE: The statement from Elaine Weinstein is worth reading.

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