The Guardian tells us that David Bolam, a British teacher kidnapped in Libya, has been released. The UK government pointed out that the release was arranged by local factions and that the UK did not pay or facilitate the ransom that was paid. Because the UK government refuses out of principle to negotiate with terrorists and criminals. They prefer to let hostages be murdered, then launch air strikes on targets that lead to further civilian deaths, as has been the case recently with the murder of Alan Henning.
The US government also refuses to make deals with terrorists, as the recent murders of American hostages by ISIS have shown. But it seems the USA’s principles are adaptable. Five senior Taliban members were released from the US prison at Guantanamo in exchange for the US Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who had disappeared from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan on 30 June, 2009.
In August, Bolam’s captors released a video in which Bolam pleaded for Cameron to do something similar to secure his release. Cameron refused, and if someone hadn’t paid for Bolam’s release he might well have been murdered.
It’s difficult to rationalise this situation. The American government refuses to negotiate with terrorists to get its citizens back, but it was willing to release five high-ranking Taliban prisoners in exchange for Sgt Bergdahl. The UK government seems to have similar principles. How can they justify these principles, which have resulted in the murders of several American and British hostages this year? Especially when this principle is negotiable?