The Italian hostages in Iraq don’t seem to be getting much media attention outside of Italy. This evening’s news here is that they have been shown on Al Arabiya television in an apparently-recent video, accompanied by a message from the kidnappers that: “We will show good faith and free them if you sympathize with our cause, show solidarity, and react publicly against the politics of your prime minister with a massive protest against the war in your capital city.”
Well, uh, actually, massive protests of this type happened over a year ago. Berlusconi was not moved then, nor is he likely to be now, nor should he be – now. No matter how ill-conceived this war was from the beginning, we are now stuck in Iraq, probably for many years to come. Pulling out, as far as I can tell, would only lead to civil war and far more Iraqi deaths. Bowing to the demands of hostage-takers will only increase the chances of more people being kidnapped. I’m sorry for these guys and their families (Rossella‘s English teacher is Stefio’s first cousin), but, no matter how fine a line you care to draw between “security consultant” and “mercenary,” they surely knew what they were getting into.