Chronicle poll results: Hostage exchange with Iran
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Chronicle poll results: Hostage exchange with Iran

We asked our readers if they thought exchanging hostages with Iran was the right thing to do. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “The U.S. just released $6 billion and five Iranians held in the U.S. in exchange for five Americans held in Iran. Do you think that this was the right thing to do?” Of the 231 people who responded, 43% said yes; 42% said no; and 15% said they didn’t know. Comments were submitted by 80 people. A few follow.

It gives license to grab more Americans.

It’s about time. That situation couldn’t go on forever.

There will be no way to guarantee the money goes to only humanitarian needs.

This is just one piece of this administration’s failing Middle East policy for the safety and security of the United States and that of our allies. It is reminiscent of policies of the last 20 or 30 years which have proved themselves to be ineffective and ill-advised.

Even though it was their money, we paid for the release of hostages — negotiated with terrorists — over $1 billion per American.

This was a brave and humanitarian initiative by the administration to bring home American
citizens. The funds released belonged to Iran.

We are a country that prizes its citizens’ well-being. And we put some reasonable conditions on the use of the funds.

The $6 billion are frozen revenues from past Iranian oil sales. This is not U.S. taxpayers’ money. So, in a sense, the U.S. is helping free five illegally detained U.S. citizens at no cost to the U.S. in exchange for five Iranians.

While I value people and their right to be free, I worry about setting a precedent: Kidnap Americans and be rewarded. I am happy for the five American hostages and their families, but the larger message concerns me.

Life is more important than political positioning. Bravo for saving five more Americans.

While the world awaits the next Iranian hostage-taking, how much worldwide Iranian terrorism will $6 billion pay for? And when did the U.S. abandon its policy of not negotiating with terrorists? What calculus sets the value of a single hostage at $1 billion? Who are these billion-dollar men? The U.S. has lost its mind.

Standing on principle and refusing to pay ransom (because doing so just encourages more capture of Americans) sounds great, until you realize that you are talking about living human beings who may be tortured by their captors. Saving lives should be the No. 1 priority.

This exchange only encourages terrorist groups to do the same, now that they know our leadership will cave to their demands. PJC

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