Great post from Ireland's Freedom Institute on policy towards hostage-taking with this useful reminder:
For a start, it should be more widely accepted that terrorists in Iraq engaged in hostage taking do not see their victims as bargaining chips to be used to extract concessions. Western governments make a serious mistake if they presume this to be the logic of their actions. On the contrary, the terrorists act firstly out of the belief that they are under a religious obligation to engage in jihad and to put ‘infidels’ to death. We would be well advised to take them at their word on this.
And, while suggesting that the abduction of Irish-born Margaret Hassan is a consequence of the unseemly rush to grant Ken Bigley an Irish passport, counsels the government to stand firm:
Margaret Hassan is a lady of exemplary standing in Iraq who has demonstrated over three difficult decades her commitment to the welfare of the Iraqi people. Even under the most debased notions of a ‘legitimate target’ she is beyond reproach. Let us not pretend that her hostage-takers are people with whom it is possible to reason and let the Irish government now state clearly that she must be released immediately and that no concessions whatsoever are on the table, nor will they ever be when dealing with terrorists.