Sunday, August 30, 2009

A few thoughts on England (through Scotland, technically somewhat independent) releasing a convicted terrorist in return for oil from Libya...

In a way it is turnaround is fair play, as isn't the West we usually the ones paying to have hostages released? Here, Libya had to cough up some serious scratch of value in return for someone they hold dear... and, depending on the extent of the oil contracts, the ransom payment could reach into the billions, much less than the mere millions that is the going rate for a hostage.

Nor is there anything inherently wrong with the transaction (let's call it what it was). England gave up something they really didn't want in return for something they did want. They made the decision that, as a whole, they come out better getting these oil deals than they would have been holding on to the one terrorist convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. Let's see, we can keep spending tens of thousands a year taking care of this murderer (do you really believe he has only months to live?) or we can save ourselves the money and get something in return? How does one say win-win in British?

As far as England losing the moral high ground or in some way signifying that they're not serious about fighting terrorists, I disagree. How many terrorist-supporting regimes are going to smile thinking that the price for ransoming their heroes is so high? A few billion paid in ransom here, a few billion there and pretty soon we're talking real money, enough to put a real crimp in their bank account.

And the high ransom can serve as another deterrent. Sponsors now have to factor in the size of the ransom along with the other costs of running a terrorist operation. The cost of dynamite and false identities is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars it will take to 'rescue' any of their heroes who happen to fall into custody.

Finally, as to there not being a lot of complaining from the left on this one, I figure it is due to their not wanting to criticize a country they have held out to be better than America. How can America's liberals expect to convince the American public to adopt the British health care plan if at the same time they're complaining about how unethical the Brits are?