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September 29, 2004
Italy Sold Out -- UPDATE: Maybe?

I have tremendous respect for the Italy's solidarity with the US on the war on terror and the Iraqi front; they have bled and died with us, despite whatever John Kerry says about their character. That's why the news that they paid a million-dollar ransom to Islamofascists for the release of two hostages disappoints so bitterly:

A senior Italian politician says he believes a ransom of $1m or more was paid for the release of two female Italian aid workers kidnapped in Iraq. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said no money had been paid but MP Gustavo Selva described the denial as purely "official". ...

Gustavo Selva is head of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee and a member of the National Alliance, one of the parties in the governing coalition.

"The young women's life was the most important thing," he told French radio on Wednesday.

"In principle, one should not give in to blackmail, but this time I think we had to give in..."

No doubt the Italians faced a difficult choice, especially since the terrorists in their, ahem, bravery had kidnapped two young Italian women and were threatening to behead them. Unfortunately, all they did was reward the kidnapers and encourage them to do the same again -- and they will likely target the Italians more frequently now that they have shown an inclination to bargain. One million dollars buys a lot of ammunition and guns. It buys even more street credibility.

These people hack the heads off of civilian workers whose only crime is that they wanted to help the Iraqi people back onto their feet. They are animals, and the only way to save lives in the long run is to quit treating them like legitimate negotiating partners. Giving them millions of dollars only encourages more lunatics to take up kidnaping and beheading as a get-rich-quick scheme.

UPDATE: Agence France-Presse reports that Italy paid no ransom:

Italy insisted it did not pay a million-dollar ransom to win the release of two aid workers, as the country rejoiced in the homecoming of the women who said they were ready to return to Iraq to continue their work there.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini insisted "absolutely no ransom" had been paid for the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, both 29, known affectionately by Italians as "the two Simonas".

A proud Frattini said Italy had simply used its "wide system of contacts" in the Arab world, adding that this "made the kidnappers understand concretely what they were dealing with: a country, Italy, loved and esteemed by the Arab world".

"That was our only ransom," he said in an interview with RAI state radio.

Well, that's their story, and I predict they'll be sticking with it. If Italy had that kind of love and esteem from the Arab world, why did the terrorists kidnap and hold Italian hostages for this long?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 29, 2004 3:24 PM

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» This is disheartening from Shouting Into The Wind
Over at Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed reports that Italy paid the ransom to get back those two female aid workers. Sadly, this now places them in the camp with the Philippines and Spain. This is more sad because Italy has been up to now, a great ally ... [Read More]

Tracked on September 29, 2004 6:33 PM

» Did Italy Pay A Ransom For Simona Pari And Simona Torretta? from Diggers Realm
There are numerous reports floating around that Italy paid a $1 million ransom for the release of the two hostages, Simona Pari And Simona Torretta, who were taken hostage September 7th and released on September 28th. Reuters Gustavo Selva, an... [Read More]

Tracked on September 29, 2004 7:55 PM

» Italians, 500K a head? from Slant Point
Captain Ed has the conflicting reports about Italy paying a million-dollar ransom to terrorists for the release of two women hostages. The truth may never be revealed, but it gives fresh legs to the debate over negotiating with terror. We shouldn't be ... [Read More]

Tracked on September 29, 2004 8:01 PM

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