With more information about Malayasia Airlines Flight 370, more horrifying possibilities occur

Retired airplaneSo we finally know something with some certainty:  Malayasia Airlines Flight 370 didn’t spontaneously combust at the moment it lost contact with the world.  Instead, it flew on for another 7 hours, after making a horrifying 40,000 foot descent within a single minute.  It was flown in the direction of places that aren’t nice:  Afghanistan or Pakistan or one of the equally Muslim, menacing “stans” in that region.  And last I heard, that’s all we know.

We don’t know if the passengers are alive or dead.  We don’t know if the crew is alive or dead, and if alive, if the crew members (some or all) were complicit with the hijacking or if they’re innocent.  Heck, we don’t even know if the whole thing was carried out long distance, in much the same way enthusiasts use radio’s to control their model airplanes.

Not only don’t we know what did happen, we also don’t know what will happen.  Was this the cheapest, easiest way to obtain an airplane for another 9/11 or for a nuclear bomb dropping?  If you drive through America’s deserts, you’ll see hundreds of retired planes basking in the dry air.  Was it really simpler to steal an operational plane than to steal one of those?

There are really three scenarios now:  The plane eventually crashed and is gone; the plane survived and will be turned into a weapon (a bomb itself, a la 9/11, or a bomb carrier); or the plane will be turned into theater.  Regarding the last, I can see the terrorists (for terrorists it must be) outfitting the plane with cameras inside filming passengers being flown around endlessly and, while being flown, having select numbers of them tortured and killed for the cameras.  There will, of course, be some demand:  Nuke Israel, release all prisoners from Gitmo, have the US withdraw entirely (every military person, every oil company, and every individual) from the Middle East, have Russia withdraw from all Muslim “stan” countries, get China out of Uyghur territory, etc.

I think I’ll quote jj here, since he is painfully, but absolutely, correct:

If the plane was landed somewhere, and got down in one piece, then the passengers are doubtless alive and well, because again: what would be the point of killing them?  If you take 240 hostages you don’t kill them, you use them.  They’re negotiating chips.  You call up Jug-ears and say: “immediately release Abdul and Selim from Guantanamo or we kill one hostage every hour for the next ten days” or something.  There’s zero to be gained by killing them.  If the plane got down safely the passengers are alive.

My father, who knew something about the harsh realities of this kind of stuff – and for whom incidentally I have passports, all with the same picture, from five different countries, all issued within 36 months of each other – recognized that the world was changing when Carter was in the white house and the embassy in Teheran was overrun.  His first reaction was the reaction of his rather hard-nosed generation: it’s sad but write them off.  You don’t hold up and skew the destinies of 270 million people for the sake of 44 people.  They’re gone.  They’ve become soldiers, and they’re KIA.  You accept the loss, move on, and exact revenge.  But we didn’t do that.  We twisted in the wind for over a year, looking like fools, being pissed on by a bunch of desert sand fleas, and let them get away with it.  And they learned that my father’s nation, which was a well-armored tank, has become a bunch of maiden aunts, nannies, and pantywaists – at least when democrats are in charge –  and can be manipulated.  So if it was terrorists the passengers are alive and stashed for later use.

Incidentally, like jj’s father, mine too knew something about the harsh realities of fighting fundamentalists, both Nazi and Islamic.  He too said back in 1979 that Carter shouldn’t have negotiated, but should have written the hostages off and then made Iran suffer.

If the Malaysia Airlines plane becomes a flying torture chamber and slaughterhouse, the best and kindest thing we can do for the passengers, and for the entire world, is to shoot that plane down.  Otherwise, it’s not just the passengers who are hostages to twisted (presumably Islamic until proven otherwise) psychopaths, but the rest of the world is too.

What prisoner swap?

I’ve been moving around the internet a bit looking at stories about the way in which Israel turned a brutal, mass murderer over in exchange for two bodies.  What’s fascinating is that the stories keep calling it a “prisoner swap,” as if there’s parity in the exchange.  Prisoner swap, after all, implies that Israel gave prisoners and Israel got prisoners — living ones.  Instead, all that Israel got were two bodies, and it’s still unclear to me whether they were dead all along, in which case Hezbollah engaged in a massive and extraordinarily successful bluff, or whether the poor boys were killed (and, I bet, tortured) during their captivity.

Here are some examples of this “prisoner swap” language, including one from an Israeli paper:

From the British Telegraph: Israel and Hizbollah complete controversial prisoner exchange

From Israel’s YNet news (although I think the prisoner swap might be a heading that simply refers to the whole history of news stories about this sordid transaction):  Prisoner Exchange

From the Spiegel: Israel’s Delicate Prisoner Swap with Hezbollah (although it has the alternative caption of “two coffins for a murderer”)

The New York Times, which always gets ambiguous when it comes to Israel reporting, says “Israel frees prisoners in deal with Hezbollah.”

The Christian Science Monitor says that “Despite delays, prisoner swap leaves Hezbollah emboldened.”

The UK Times Online at least puts sarcastic quotations around the word “prisoner”:  Israel and Hezbollah “prisoner” exchange.

And so on.

Interestingly, only the Guardian had the reportorial honesty to call this what it was:  Killer released in Israeli bodies swap.

In a way, and for once, the MSM is using story captions that favor Israel.  When one reads the Guardian’s caption, one realizes what a terrible deal Israel made.  It’s terrible not just because of this particular deal.  It’s also terrible because of the precedent it sets.  Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah have now lost all incentive to keep prisoners alive.  Dead Jewish bodies have suddenly become an incredibly valuable commodity.

Think of it:  Israel used to have a policy that it would not ransom hostages so that there would be no incentive to take hostages.  Then, it started ransoming hostages, so there was an incentive for the terrorists to take them, but a concurrent burden on the terrorists to keep them alive.  Now, the whole game has changed:  the terrorists can kidnap and kill, and still get ransom.

Israel used to win because she was tough, smart and principled.  She’s going to lose now — and lose on a scope inconceivable even with the flames of the Holocaust still burned on our retinas — because she’s become indescribably stupid.

The rabbis were right *UPDATED*

In a post I did yesterday about the way in which liberals cherry-pick religious writings to support their ideological viewpoints, I discussed Rabbi Gamliel’s ancient edict about hostages, to the effect that the general good (tikkun olam) mandates that families may not pay a premium for a kidnapped family member, even if they can afford to do so, because that will simply create more hostage situations.  In a hostage market economy, the higher the price, the greater the incentive to kidnap.

As part of that discussion, I made a parenthetical, unsupported reference to the fact that modern Israel, which has reversed its long-standing policy of refusing to negotiate for hostages, is giving Palestinians and Hezbollah ever greater incentive to kidnap soldiers and civilians. Today, in a long, well-supported article, Bret Stephens makes precisely the same point about the market Israel is creating for the kidnapping of its own citizens.

UPDATEA little info on the type of people Israel is using as payment for this no-win hostage negotiation.