What Happens When They Run Out of Hostages?

Big question, no simple answers



First there was a day of terror beyond imagining. Then nearly fifty days of brutal military response and endless images of suffering. And a major urban area blown to smithereens while its people starve and babies die in hospitals where terrorists hide weapons.

They died because there was no fuel to power life support systems.

Meanwhile politicians frantically maneuver across the region, trying to avert an escalation, stop the killing, and in some cases, further their political goals. Finally, talks lead to a pause that can’t be called a ceasefire because that implies some kind of end. And deals are made to start releasing hostages taken during that first terror attack.

We watch as exchanges are made and the news media publishes the numbers and the heartwarming stories of reunions, or the heartbreaking stories when family members are left behind.

Each day requires a new negotiation. We hear that hostages are not held in one place by one group of terrorists. They were spread across the ruined city until some can’t be found.

From here, across an ocean in the US, it looks like both parties would like to find a way to keep the exchanges going, to keep things quiet while aid flows, though the violence still continues on a quieter basis, skirmishes and random shootings.

What happens when the terrorists, and they only deserve that recognition, run out of hostages to trade? The hardcore elements of the Israeli government want an immediate return to unrestrained war, while calmer voices know the world doesn’t like what it is seeing.

Dead children are terrible publicity.

The terrorists funded by Iran would like this to turn into global jihad and try to provoke the US into war. The US, taking no chances, has enormous firepower in the region that dwarfs any other military. But war these days only requires one bomb or missile to kill thousands or millions.

It’s a powder keg in a burning room, protected only by fragile agreements that change day to day and require hostages, human playing cards.

But something is missing. There is no end game. As callous as it sounds, war is valuable to people on both sides. For them, talk of resolution is doom, loss, political suicide, the failure of a warped belief system.




Mastodon: @martinedic@md.dm, Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!