Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dumbest Vacation Ever--Part 2

Last September I posted on what I considered to have been the dumbest vacation ever. Today comes news of one even dumber.

It seems that Juergen Chrobog, a former German Ambassador to the the United States has been kidnapped, along with his wife and three adult sons, while touring in a remote area of Yemen.

Chrobog and his family were visiting Yemen at the invitation of the former Yemeni Ambassador to Germany.

Chrobog took the trip in spite of the fact that (as reported by the Washington Post),

Two Austrians and two Swiss were abducted in Yemen in the past two months. All were released unharmed a few days later.

The German Foreign Ministry had posted a travel advisory for Yemen, warning visitors that they could be abducted by ransom-seeking tribesmen and noting a general risk of terrorist attacks against Western interests in the country.

Because Chrobog was vain enough to thumb his nose at the warning from his own Foreign Ministry he has now created an international headache for his own country.

This is doubly ironic since Chrobog once negotiated the release of 14 European hostages (9 of whom were German citizens) held y "Islamic radicals" in North Africa just two years ago. It is reported that Chrobog personally carried several $ million in cash to intermediaries as part of the settlement that led to the hostages release.

This generous response to hostage taking has, apparently, given both Germany as a nation and Chrobog as an individual, the reputation of providing a quick way to make an easy million bucks or two.

Recently, German archaeologist Susanne Osthoff, was kidnapped and held hostage by insurgent/terrorists in Iraq. Germany managed to negotiate her release but refused to state what sort of settlement was offered in return.

Curiously, Germany released Mohammad Ali Hammadi, convicted of killing Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight to Beirut and sentenced to life without parole, just a few days before Osthoff was also released.

Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters asks,

Coincidence? Not likely....

I am inclined to agree.

I must also agree with the Captain today when he more or less says that Germany has now hoisted itself by its own petard. Having negotiated with terrorists for the release of hostages and having caved in to demands for ransom and for the release of prisoners, should anyone be surprised that German citizens are now prime targets for international kidnapping?

No doubt Chrobog is hoping that someone back home will come up with a few $ million to help bail himself and the rest of his family out of their unfortunate predicament.

In contrast, it is my hope that, when all have been safely released, Chrobog will, out his own pocket, repay the money that was paid to his captors.

I also hope that he will also issue two apologies. One, to the German government for being so stupid as to get himself into this mess in the first place, and, Two, to those German citizens who have now been placed at even higher risk of kidnapping because of his own personal irresponsibility.