Is it a good idea to pay foreign governments to release American prisoners?

Iran says it received a bail payment of half a million dollars before it released the American hiker who was freed Tuesday. Today’s Question: Is it a good idea to pay foreign governments to release American prisoners?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Only if we want to encourage state-sponsored kidmapping.

  • Steve the Cynic

    That is to say, “…kidnapping.”

  • babyboomer

    NO! It’s not a good idea to pay for anything.

  • Steve from up North

    I dunno Steve…paying other countries to do kidmapping could bring about all sorts of new medical breakthroughs.

    But seriously, no…it’s not a good idea to pay off other countries for this reason. It would only encourage more of the same.

  • Gary F

    It just makes me less and less trusting of the media when they announced this as “Bail”!

    So, you mean that she’s going back to show up for the trial? WHAT A JOKE.

    When is the media going to bring up the idea that what these people did was stupid? Hey, lets go hiking in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea! Hey, let’s go hiking in Darfur or Somalia!

    Who did the paying? We still don’t know that. If the American government, then absolutely not. You can’t stop a US or world citizen from doing it.

  • steve

    i think it is a great idea-freeing captivity of valuable human assets is worth any amount of money!

  • Bob

    Generally, no. If these people were actually working for the US government as agents of some sort, then I say yes, of course. But, if not and they were ordinary citizens who wandered carelessly across a national border then I’d say definitely not. It should not be the policy of the US governent to pay the expenses of anyone who commits a carless act which results in cost of some kind.

  • James

    Sure, and I like to feed timber wolfs from my kitchen table…. what could go wrong?


  • Stanley

    One has to wonder what these so called “hikers” were doing in a war zone of all places. And so they cross over into Iran and see border guards approaching. What did these “hikers” think they saw anyway, park rangers? Upon seeing the guards and being on foot they couldn’t have been too deep in Iranian territory so they should have turned around and ran like hell and not stop running until they were in downtown Baghdad. Be as it may. We can’t compare Iran with our Constitutional right to a speedy and fair trial. Not to defend Iran’s actions but bail is bail. Somebody paid it and they let her out under the assumption she would return to face trail and who ever posted the bail would get his money back. Not that that will ever happen. In any event, you cant blame the Iranis for being opportunistic.

  • Christopher

    Leave them. They shouldn’t have been hiking in a hostile country.

  • Sue de Nim

    I wouldn’t say, “leave them.” We should keep up the pressure, but paying ransom (even if it’s called bail) is generally a bad idea, because it rewards bad behavior.

  • Kevin

    Many poor countries seem to be relying on ransom more and more as the further they get left behind.

    We have a policy not to pay such.

    So they changed the ‘name’ of this ransom to other things….

    Pay or not pay, it will likely continue. Especially if we Americans keep traveling as if we own the world and care not about the cultures we visit and their norms.

    I have NO doubt the hitch hikers either wandered by accident over the boarder or were ‘kidnapped’ still in Iraq. Seeing a moment of opportunity the Iranian government is then using it as a tool.

    The innocent are stuck in the middle while those with a grudge duke it out.

    Again, should be pay? When lives are on the line I am open to looking at it. But the moment. But really what other options are there?

    Hopefully we put enough strings to or conditions to keep them from jerking around.

    At the same time, when they are demanding money from people who do not have the money….

    Take case in point the Mexican kidnappings, you MIGHT get back if the amount is paid, but not always…. And sometimes they suddenly get greedy and demand more….

    We should not reward greed.

  • thomas mccoy

    This was a ransom demand. Kidnapping is popular in this part of the world. Is absolutely everything getting worse in the world? Is there no progress?

  • Matt

    When the entire middle-east region goes to pot because of corrupt officials, fanatic religious zealots, hypersensitive cross-border tensions, and a general hatred for neighboring peoples – and the smoldering ruins of thousands of cities, millions of people, and billions of acres of landscape lie fallow, shattered, and burnt to oblivion – no one will care about a measly $500,000.

  • Mel

    As a civilian who worked for 12 years in a Middle East country, my answer is a Firm NO. The U.S. would be held hostage for ever.