European governments regularly pay ransom for hostages, notes James Traub in Foreign Policy. And rumors have been rampant that Western companies pay millions when their employees are abducted in war zones.
Now comes word from the New York Times that the terrorists who beheaded American James Foley — and promoted his execution in a gruesome propaganda video — first asked the U.S. for $100 million in exchange for the photographer’s life, according to a Foley family representative and someone once held captive alongside Foley.
A reporter who in 2009 escaped the clutches of the Taliban says it’s time for America to rethink it’s no-ransom policy.
Foley’s execution “is the clearest evidence yet of how vastly different responses to kidnappings by U.S. and European governments save European hostages but can doom the Americans,” David Rohde writes in an opinion piece for Reuters.