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NO DEALS WITH HOSTAGE-TAKERS

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By dropping hints about the possible release of American hostages, raising the hopes of families, then making demands the United States will not meet, Islamic terrorists in Lebanon are playing an old and disheartening game.

How many times have such groups either threatened the hostages or talked about their release, only to have it come to nothing? This is mostly any effort to make some capital out of the hostages, who otherwise are largely ignored. Such moves seek to reap publicity and put pressure on the United States.No one should be surprised that such maneuvers seldom come to anything. Once they released theri hostages, the kidnappers would not longer have any bargaining chips. They would no longer have any leverage they could use against the United States. They would no loger have any captives they could mistreat to give themselves a sense of power and importance over mighty America.

While the disappointment, frustration and pain of the American hostages and their families are distressing, President Bush is doing the right thin in refusing to dant to the tune dictated by the kidnappers.

The islamic Jihad group holding at least three hostages said they would release one but later added the demand that it would be done ony if the United States would send U.S. Assistant Secretary of Statet John Kelly to Syria to negotiate the release.

Bush has refused, saying the United States already has diplomatic representatives there who can receive any hostage. Clearly, the kidnappers want the United States to appear to be running its diplomats around the globe at the orders of the terrorists.

As Jim Fain, a Cox News Service columnist, bluntly points out on today's opposite editorial page, the only practical policy on the hostages is to ignore them. Try for rescue if possible. Talk with the kidnappers, yes, but do not bargain with them.

As cruel as that sounds, it makes sense. By paying any kind of political ransom, the United States would only make hostate-taking profitable and encourage more of it.

The only way to discourage the seizing of innocent hostages, the crime of kidnapping, is to make sure there is no profit in it. That is a wrenching truth for the victims and their families to live with, but any other course would be even worse in the long run. As Jim Fain, a Cox News Service columnist, bluntly points out on today's opposite editorial page, the only practical policy on the hostages is to ignore them. Try for rescue if possible. Talk with the kidnappers, yes