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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hostage Crisis 30 Years Later

Ted Koppel, who became a major media figure in his coverage of the hostage crisis, recalls:

In their approach to the United States in the decade that followed, the mullahs provided chilling evidence of how closely they had studied the influence of the media and public opinion on U.S. foreign policy. During the hostage crisis, they learned how obsessively engaged our news media becomes when U.S. prisoners are taken. What Americans consider one of our greatest national virtues - concern for the individual - the Iranians recognized as a vulnerability.

Let's do a bit of historical compare and contrast.  

In 1900, Boxer fighters besieged the foreign embassies in Beijing. They were lightly armed, claiming supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle gunshots, and knife attacks. In response, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi, urged by the conservatives of the Imperial Court, supported the Boxers and declared war on foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and Chinese Christians retreated to the Legation Quarter where they remained under siege for 55 days until the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops to defeat the besieging Imperial Army.

Westerners were not again seriously threatened in China until 1949. Certainly, waves of Boxer inspired suicide bombers did not infiltrate western cities and kill thousands of unarmed innocents.

Posted by Richard Anderson on January 27, 2011 | Permalink


It was a different time , a different society and no one received a bunch of virgins for blowing themselves up. No incentive.

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-27 8:13:19 PM

@peterj: no not really they were mystics with state backing too. The difference was in our morally superior response to the Boxers.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2011-01-27 9:05:51 PM

difference was in our morally superior response to the Boxers.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2011-01-27 9:05:51 PM

You mean the sheer panic that we might lose the primary supplier of our then legal cocaine ??

Posted by: peterj | 2011-01-27 11:16:37 PM

More like the legitimate fear that we will be subject to an increase in state-sponsored terrorism.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2011-01-27 11:30:17 PM

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