Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Did Germany ransom Susanne Osthoff? 

Yesterday, we reported on the moral confusion of Susanne Osthoff, the German held hostage in Iraq for almost a month before her release on December 18. She thinks that hostage-taking is a perfectly reasonable means for encouraging Western governments to supply more humanitarian aid to the Sunnis of Iraq.

Now Osthoff is planning her return to Iraq, which annoys the German government to no end. The Germans are particularly angry since they seem to have paid good money to secure her return:
The German Government angrily rebuked a former hostage yesterday who is determined to return to Iraq despite being held captive for three weeks by a Sunni gang.

Susanne Osthoff, a 43-year-old archaeologist, announced this week on al-Jazeera television that she would go back to her work in northern Iraq, trying to set up a German cultural centre in Arbil.

Angela Merkel’s new Government, which regards the freeing of Frau Osthoff this month as its first foreign policy triumph, is furious. It made huge efforts to secure her release and is widely believed to have paid a ransom.

Do not miss this point: the Germans have -- in all likelihood -- given money to the insurgents in Iraq, money which will be used to buy weapons and explosives that will kill American soldiers, Iraqi police and innocent civilians who are just standing by. This is of a piece with Germany's historical practice, in fact. Two years ago the BBC reported that the German government paid ransom to an affiliate of al Qaeda to release German tourists foolish enough to holiday in the Sahara. German nationals voluntarily put themselves in harm's way by traveling to some of the most hideous places on the planet (what sort of idiot vacations in the Sahara?), and then the government of Germany buys their release by paying money to the enemies of the United States. This moronic practice not only arms our enemies, but it encourages more kidnapping. Let us not hear any more about Germany being a "friend and ally" of the United States until it vocally renounces the paying of ransom to our enemies.

In the Osthoff case, the Germans did not even get anything for helping America's enemies. Osthoff admits that she supports the efforts of the Sunnis to get money, and she believes that kidnapping is a legitimate means to that end. The Germans are nevertheless very insulted that she is going back in to Iraq:
“A self-willed woman!” exploded Hans-Ulrich Klose, the deputy leader of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. “Incomprehensible,” agreed Ruprecht Polenz, the committee chairman. “In the event of a second kidnapping one would have to discuss who should foot the bill.”

German newspapers have been full of letters complaining about how much she has cost the taxpayer. Peter Scholl-Latour, the country’s leading Middle East expert, complained: “She is absolutely irresponsible — she is just kicking the Government on the shins.”

Mein herren, if you paid a ransom to secure Frau Osthoff's release, you have kicked American soldiers in the shins, and it is Iraq that is footing the bill.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 28, 11:18:00 AM:

< Dark Humor >Perhaps the Iraqi government should arrest her upon entry for lacking the proper papers, and then demand a ransom-sized bail from the German government.< / Dark Humor >  

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Wed Dec 28, 12:12:00 PM:

“In the event of a second kidnapping one would have to discuss who should foot the bill.”

That's the thing about extortion, the bill tends to keep coming due. The German government should have asked itself this question before it paid up the first time.  

By Anonymous larwyn, at Wed Dec 28, 02:56:00 PM:

Hmmmmmm....A child of wealthy parents arranging their own kidnapping has been the plot of many movies and tv shows.

Hmmmmmmm....AQ headquaters warns that beheadings not good PR and that it need money.

Hmmmmmmm....All those "humanitarian peaceniks" willing to help us.

Hey, I have a great idea, no beheading, VERY GOOD PR
from media and lots of $$$$$!

Just in, Palestinian gunmen kidnap 3 British citizens in Gaza. The parents were visiting their daughter who is a Palestinian apologist/peacenik.
Kidnapper: What Ali? They
are the wrong nationality?
Aside: Are you sure you
are not Germans??
Sorry, Ali. They all look alike to us!

Those other 4 "humanitarians" are still being held in Iraq.

Dissapointed you did not add the fact that Germany also released a major terrorist on this moral equivalant moron's behalf.  

By Anonymous larwyn, at Wed Dec 28, 05:27:00 PM:

Five actual Germans kidnapped in Yemen on Wednesday. They got a former German minister, his wife and 3 children.
Really makes the
"we started all the terrorism" Palestinians look bad.

Another German kidnap by Arab terrorists

Freeing a convicted terrorist has bought Germany nothing. Davidsmedienkritik reports that a German official has been kidnapped in Yemen:

A former German government minister, his wife and three children were kidnapped in Yemen on Wednesday, local officials said, and one of their captors said their lives would be at risk if Yemen used force to free them. (...)

Chrobog, 65, was Germany’s ambassador to the United States from 1995 to 2001.

This November he was quoted in our blog as a admirer of “soft power”. He will need any kind of power now, soft or hard.
Why he would travel to Yemen during these troubled times is beyond me. Having a history of sharp anti-American criticism (“America is turning into a police state”), Chrobog probably assumed he’d be safe…

Let’s hope that Germany doesn’t free any more terrorists to gain his freedom.

By Anonymous dodave, at Wed Dec 28, 07:03:00 PM:

Hey, kidnap a German, make a bundle. Simple money making economics, isn't it? Even terrorists are smart enough to be capitalists. Of course, this works both ways as we (the USA) offer large cash awards for information on key terrorists.  

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