Indian Express editorial: Succumbing to the hostage-takers

Does Shekhar Gupta read the Acorn?

They asked us to crawl, we gave them our spine

There are a thousand and one questions raised by New Delhi’s response to the Iraq kidnapping. All of them have one answer: whatever the outcome, we blew it

Our handling of this whole affair has been so disastrous you’d wonder if its even worthwhile figuring out the reason behind it. But one probably is that we have simply got confused by our convictionless policy on the US presence in Iraq. This is further compounded by so many supporters of this government, particularly the Left, being so anti-US. Consequently, we have confused a straightforward kidnapping by ‘‘ransom-seeking ruffians’’ with the larger moral dimension of US ‘‘occupation’’ of Iraq. So a ransom to the ruffians, ban on truckers, reference to forces of occupation are merely expressions of a policy against the US that we think we would rather pursue but cannot afford. Banning Indian truckers’ entry, therefore, is a blow for the Iraqi ‘‘freedom struggle’’ against US-British occupiers.

Or, maybe because we in New Delhi live in the vicinity of Ghaziabad and the rest of Western UP where kidnapping for ransom is the only growing industry, our instincts have evolved accordingly. Either way, it is suicidal. This world is not Ghaziabad. It would also inflict cruel punishment on states that crawl before terrorists, let them define their policy and diplomacy, or allows them to gag a Natwar Singh and gift his deputy E. Ahamed his 96 hours of fame. [Indian Express]

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