---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: barry levine
Date: Sun, Dec 28, 2014 at 8:47 AM
Subject: re: The Cost of the U.S. Ban on Paying for Hostages
To the Editor:
The U.S. department of States policy of paying no ransom is "hotly debated" for the same reason that the role of smoking in cancer was hotly debated. The role of ransom in funding terrorists is well established. It is because a loud minority puts its interests ahead of those of society. Heartbreakingly, in the case of hostages, that minority comprised innocent hostages and their families, rather than cynical tobacco companies. But a democracy must function for the good of society, not for the good of the loudest. Last year, this paper reported that ransoms for hostages (mostly French and Spanish journalists and tourists) dominated al-Qaeda's operating budget. However gratifying it is to get a loved one back, it is not worth funding the destruction of civilization.
Hostages are taken because people are willing to pay. However lonely it is in the task, the U.S. department of State is leading in the right direction on this, and deserves support and credit.
Barry Haskell Levine