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.