---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: barry levine
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM
Subject: re: For James Foley’s Family, U.S. Policy Offered No Hope
To the Editor:
Hostage-taking with extortion is an ancient mechanism for funding brigands, pirates and terrorists. It was already enumerated as a capital crime in Deuteronomy. Julius Caesar was himself held for ransom in his youth. But the paying of ransom creates the incentive to taking ever more hostages. Most of our Western allies have gone through this analysis and have pledged not to pay ransoms, even as they go on doing it. European ransoms (mostly French) are currently al-Qaeda's biggest money stream. The world--and we as individuals--would be safer if we all kept to that pledge.
The most cogent analysis comes from Hassan Nasrullah, head of Hezbollah. He acknowledged in 2006 that he wouldn't have snatched the two Israeli soldiers if he had known that Israel would respond with war on Lebanon.
And Caesar? He came back with an army and killed every one of the pirates who had held him, as he promised. Pax Romana was founded on the principle that crime must not pay.
Barry Haskell Levine