Fool me once...

Reading through the various accounts of the Mumbai terror attack, I was suddenly struck by how easily everyone (including myself) was fooled into thinking that this was primarily a "hostage-taking" operation.

Nonsense. It was a murder operation, and the terrorists used the "hostage" meme to full advantage:

Evidence was emerging last night that the the gunmen killed their victims early in the siege and fooled Indian security forces into thinking that they were holding hostages.

At the Sir J.J. Hospital morgue, an official said that of the 87 bodies he had examined, all but a handful had been killed during Wednesday night.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

I do not doubt that many of the dead were induced to surrender to the terrorists by being told they were hostages, because people facing death are desperate to believe that they are somehow going to live.

Oh well, live and learn. (Or in this case, die and learn.) I find myself wondering how many people who imagined that they were going to be hostages cooperated fully with their murderers (and torturers, let's not forget), hoping they'd be "rescued" later.

History shows that people are a lot easier to kill if they are tricked into believing that the goal is something else. The Nazis were masters of that game, and millions of Jews stood in line to die while thinking they were being temporarily inconvenienced on their way to some sort of long-term imprisonment. Similarly, the 9/11 terrorists convinced passengers (with the help of fake bombs) that they were "ordinary" hijackers who would not blow up the plane as long as everyone cooperated. (After all, why would they?)

The bottom line here is that if you're an American (or a Brit, or a Jew), and terrorists say they're looking to take such people as "hostages," it's probably better to just fight for your life and die trying to defend yourself rather than let the sadists that they are enjoy slaughtering you on their terms.

Considering what happened, I think the jig may be up for the hostage meme.

posted by Eric on 12.01.08 at 07:25 PM










Comments

The jig up? Aren't the Euro-weenies still taught to surrender to criminals of all kind?

The wake-up calls keep comin' but we still keep hittin' the snooze button.

Rhodium Heart   ·  December 1, 2008 8:38 PM

I told my wife today that I would not be a hostage, that I would fight. I would hope that if something of that nature happen I would indeed fight. Shortly after 9/11 we were waiting to get on a plane. Several young men (early 20's) said that there was no way that a hijaking would happen - they would fight. And I believed them. I will too now.

LYNNDH   ·  December 1, 2008 10:32 PM

I remember reading, quite a while ago (probably the early 70's), an article where hostages said if they said they were Americans, they were given preferential treatment and early release. Whether this is true or not, I don't know.

I remember a fake "country" that was "issuing passports" for Americans so they wouldn't be identified with this county. Perhaps that would be better than the preferential treatment Americans are getting now.

eeyore   ·  December 1, 2008 10:33 PM

I remember reading, quite a while ago (probably the early 70's), an article where hostages said if they said they were Americans, they were given preferential treatment and early release. Whether this is true or not, I don't know.

I remember a fake "country" that was "issuing passports" for Americans so they wouldn't be identified with this county. Perhaps that would be better than the preferential treatment Americans are getting now.

Anonymous   ·  December 1, 2008 10:34 PM

All I can honestly say is that I do not know what I would do. First, I know I am not a fighter. I learned this in Jr High. My response to having my hair pulled so hard I thought my neck would break and being kicked in the shins was to think... "what???" and I had no inclination whatsoever to hit back.

That's not a very healthy response and perhaps I would react differently to real danger. I have never been tested.

This fear is why I do not carry a gun. I'm quite sure it would be taken away from me, that I would hesitate, and it would, in the long run be more dangerous for me.

I suspect I might not defend myself, but I think (and hope) I would react differently if someone else were threatened, especially someone close to me.

I acknowledge that I benefit greatly from those who will and do defend themselves and others and I am deeply appreciative of them.

You probably don't want to be taken hostage with me :-)

Donna B.   ·  December 2, 2008 1:54 AM

You probably don't want to be taken hostage with me :-)

Of course I do Donna B.

As the old joke goes, I don't have to outrun the terrorist, I just have to outrun you.

Veeshir   ·  December 2, 2008 3:10 PM

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