Friday, March 31, 2006


I am of the opinion that people who are kidnapped and held prisoner have to survive. It should be understood that they are permitted by all rational people to say whatever they need to say in order to stay alive.

We should assume that anything such captives say is said under duress and they should be confident that we will understand that.

Jill Carroll was under duress.

Thus, I think we must not judge Jill Carroll for anything she may have said to her captors in any videotape she made with them before her release. We should be patient and allow her time to heal from the psychological trauma she may have suffered. We should understand that anyone undergoing this kind of ordeal is not to be expected to stand up to the threat of death or torture. She has neither the training nor the need to do so. There are no secrets she could have betrayed; and she is not a soldier and has nothing but her own life to protect and defend.

I'm not sure how I would behave under similar circumstances. I know that I would be willing to say anything necessary to stay alive. I hope I would be able to stand up to my captors and not do anything of which I might later be ashamed....

Jill Carroll must now do the hard work of returning to psychological normality. She will have to come to terms with what really happened to her during her months of captivity. She will have to deal with the cold-blooded murder of her interpreter; as well as the implications of the videotape made of her when she was clearly terrorized, frightened and in fear of her life. She will have to deal with the suffering that her family went through during her ordeal. I hope she will take the time she needs to heal and put her trauma in perspective. I hope she will not write about her captivity anytime soon.

We should leave her alone to heal. I wish her well.

UPDATE: I see that Wretchard at The Belmont Club would tend to agree.

UPDATE II: The Christian Science Monitor now says that Carroll was forced to make the video praising her captors as a condition of her release:
The night before journalist Jill Carroll's release, her captors said they had one final demand as the price of her freedom: She would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States, according to Jim Carroll.
In a long phone conversation with his daughter on Friday, Mr. Carroll says that Jill was "under her captor's control."

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life - what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak - were at her captors' whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, "she had been taught to fear them," he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

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