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Grange: Hostage-taking a 'poor strategy'


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CNN military analyst David Grange
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(CNN) -- The Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape Sunday of militants holding a man they identified as a U.S. Marine and threatened to kill unless the coalition releases Iraqi prisoners.

CNN military analyst and retired Brig. Gen. David Grange spoke to CNN's Carol Lin by telephone to assess the situation.

LIN: What do you make of this new hostage situation? How many more hostages are going to have to be taken before the situation ends, if at all?

GRANGE: Well, there's not going to be any compromise, so it doesn't matter how many more are taken. The U.S. government and most of the other coalition governments will not give in.

So this is a strategy, an economy of poor strategy by insurgents to terrorize, to put pressure on not only the home front, but different governments, alliances, to try to get the coalition to give in.

And you cannot compromise with terrorists, because once you start, it actually snowballs, and it shows to them that this technique works, and there will be more of it.

LIN: So, what is it going to take for these kidnappings to end and the insurgency to get tamped down?

GRANGE: A couple things. One is, when they realize this strategy is not [going to] change the resolve of the United States or other committed countries. No. 2, an increased surge in counterterrorist forces and intelligence organizations to find the information and hunt down and eliminate the insurgents that are doing this.

I'm sure that there's a full-court press on that right now, but every time something like this happens, there's no doubt in my mind from my past experiences that the tempo will even increase more than it is right now.

LIN: [Interim] Prime Minister [Ayad] Allawi of Iraq has suggested that he may have to impose martial law. Do you think it is time that he do so, and do so immediately in order to stop these kidnappings?

GRANGE: Well, you know, that's not something bad for the Iraqi people. They're used to a lot of control from someone, and if that control brings some type of order -- because that's the concern of the populace more so than a totally free society. They are used to security, even if it's imposed by a free or dictator-type government.

So I think that the prime minister could get away with that, and it may be prudent to do that on either side of the transition date, just to maintain rule of law in the situation.

LIN: That's just in a few days. Thank you very much, Brigadier General David Grange.


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