Friday, August 19, 2016

Not Ransom

   My guess is that the cash sent to Iran isn't ransom. Apparently there were two different streams of negotiation that didn't cross--which is even less like ransom than I'd guessed. I'd guessed that there was one big negotiation with lots of parts, and no 1-to-1 correspondence between any two parts on different sides. My not-very-well-thought-out view was that the best question to ask was: is this an established, accepted way to negotiate? Have such deals historically been categorized as ransom payments? This is the kind of case Republicans love to scream about. They're well-known for holding Obama to a different standard, and complaining about things he does even though they happily tolerate them in Republican administrations.
   But if the two different streams of negotiation story is true, then the cash is even less like ransom than I'd thought. In fact, if the streams of negotiation really were fully distinct, it simply isn't ransom at all.
   And withholding a payment negotiated for other reasons until hostages are released is not paying ransom.
   This is all pretty clear as far as I can tell. Of course I'm assuming that the administration's account is true--but that's a different issue.
   Republicans won't believe it, but their ODS is basically terminal at this point. I doubt most people will believe it, either. But that's a political/rhetorical matter that doesn't go to the truth of the administration's account, obviously. They're already more angry about this non-ransom payment than they've ever been about Reagan's actual ransom payments.

2 Comments:

Blogger The Mystic said...

It appears to me that this is relatively settled since there's extensive documentation of the negotiation process undertaken in respect to the money:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/world/middleeast/iran-us-cash-payment-prisoners.html?_r=0 (this is as good a write-up as you need, I suspect)

It's clearly established that the payment was due for unrelated events transpiring decades ago. Hell, an independent international arbitration body was used in the lengthy process.

We had to pay them anyway, but we basically said "Hey, you know that thing we're supposed to do? If you do that thing YOU'RE supposed to do, maybe we'll do our thing more quickly."

It's vaguely ransom-esque, but the ransom we "paid" amounts to the quickness with which we undertook an unrelated operation we were going to undertake at some point anyway.

Frankly, this is the least scandal-y faux scandal I've seen the Republicans allege in a while. It's even less scandal-y than Benghazi, which was utterly non-scandal-y, if not merely on account of the sheer simplicity and thorough documentation to the obvious contrary involved here.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Agreed.

10:23 AM  

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