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Opinion
The Editors

Terrorist Ransoms Are Still a Mistake

If ever there was an episode that might lead to questions about the U.S. policy against ransoming hostages, the failed military raid in Yemen over the weekend might seem to be one. But ransom remains the wrong policy.
Not every mission is a success.

Not every mission is a success.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Getty Images
Corrected

Over the weekend in Yemen, unofficial negotiations to ransom a South African teacher held by terrorists almost succeeded. And they would have, except that they ran into a separate attempt to free an American hostage by use of military force, which failed. In the end, both prisoners, held by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, were killed.

If ever there was a moment to question the U.S. policy against ransoming hostages, this might seem to be one. But ransom remains the wrong policy, and for several reasons.