The Hostage-Policy Review, Reviewed
Some hard-won opinion about Obama’s hostage-policy review can be found at the NewsHour, where I was interviewed by Margaret Warner, and at Al-Jazeera America and Deutsche Welle TV. My talk last week at the Wilson Center is also online.
Briefly: Obama’s new policy moves in the right direction, since it clarifies who’s in charge during a hostage case and loosens the flow of information. I suspect the new “fusion cell” will create a new layer of bureaucracy, but the old confusion caused by a 2002 Bush directive about hostage cases, which Obama has replaced, should be gone. America’s ongoing “no concession” policy will not prevent kidnappings, compared with European policy — abduction rates for Americans and Europeans are about the same — but Obama’s review was never going to change that. A no-concession policy without consistent, successful rescue by force, I’m afraid, is no deterrent at all.
In that sense my Politico piece from last March is still relevant. More ideas from Austin Tice’s family can be heard at CBS This Morning. Oh, and flip-flops by Fox News on the whole issue have been traced over here.