The beheading of a South Korean hostage by an al-Qaida cell in Iraq yesterday, horrid as it is, was virtually predestined, no matter what efforts might have been made to save him. This show of barbarism wasn't really intended to obtain the concessions the terrorists demanded - Seoul's immediate pullout of its 670 troops in Iraq and the cancellation of its imminent deployment of 3,000 more. There wasn't enough time to fulfill the hostage-takers' demands, even if there had been a willingness to do so. Rather, this grisly spectacle was meant to stir protests in South Korea and elsewhere against participation in Iraq's reconstruction and scare away foreign workers.By the way...I wonder how it feels to be Spain, now held up worldwide as The Great Capitulators, those who can be told what to do by the thugs.
But at least in South Korea, it didn't work. President Roh Moo-hyun, after a meeting with his National Security Council, decided that Seoul would not negotiate with terrorists over hostages and would keep to its plan to deploy troops to Iraq, making South Korea's military contingent the third largest after the United States and Britain...
A capitulation now would only ensure more kidnappings, more death threats and even more, equally untenable, demands later. It would send al-Qaida and its followers the message that democracies can be bent to their will. That's just the message Spain sent after the lethal train bombings in Madrid: The outcome of a close national election days after the attack turned on Spain's confrontation with terror, encouraging the notion that threats to a nation's security pay dividends.
That is the most masochistic signal a democracy can send. We can only hope al-Qaida's inhuman acts eventually generate enough revulsion to backfire against it.
I'm pretty certain that act of cowardice will be written into the history books.