Sometimes, it's what you don't read that changes the complexion of the story:
Taliban leaders OK hostage deadline
KABUL - Taliban leaders said yesterday their fighters would kill 22 remaining South Korean hostages if the Afghan government did not release rebel prisoners by a new deadline of 3:30 a.m. EST this morning, a spokesman said ... the Korean group ... the remaining hostages ... the hostages ... the Koreans ... foreign guests ... the remaining hostages ... the hostages ... the hostages ... etc, etc, etc.
And what salient detail is noticeably missing from that news coverage? Ah, yes:
Taliban threatens to kill South Korean missionaries
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
Published: 23 July 2007
Afghan negotiators were last night locked in talks with the Taliban to release 23 South Korean Christian missionaries that the fighters have taken hostage and threatened to kill unless a deal is reached today.
Yeah, that's sort of a big part of the picture -- the fact that those folks were there for no other reason than to spread the Good Word. In a war zone. To unfriendly Muslims. Whoops, there goes my sympathy and, apparently, all of this is causing some serious reconsideration of just how freakin' stupid you can be and still deserve to live:
Korean Missionaries 'Rethinking Ambitions' - Time Magazine
Time magazine reported in its online edition Friday that the abduction of 23 Koreans in Afghanistan has "forced Korean Christians to rethink their evangelical ambitions."
No. Fucking. Shit. And if you keep reading, it turns out that even those Bible-whomping nutjobs' own countrymen are wondering what in hell possessed them to do something that asinine:
Under the title "Korean Missionaries Under Fire," the magazine said, "The execution earlier this week of one hostage, pastor Bae Hyung Kyu, 42, brought the expected outpouring of grief and condolences. But non-evangelical Koreans are still scratching their heads over why the Saemmul church group trotted off to such a volatile region, thumbing its nose at government warnings not to enter Afghanistan."
Oh ho ... so they were explicitly warned against doing something that moronic. But it just gets better and better:
It went on to say, "An unfortunate side to the evangelical movement in Korea is increased competition. Churches number in the tens of thousands here, and are competing so intensely for members that pastors feel pressured to engage in a kind of one-upmanship: sending congregants on as many overseas missions as possible. New markets and riskier missions tend to garner more publicity, which until now has translated into more kudos and ultimately more money for the pastor and the church."
There's a phrase that the wingnut-o-sphere likes to keep parroting ... what was it again ... oh, right: "personal responsibility." As in -- if you do something incredibly fucking dumb, you might die because of it. And that's nobody's fault but yours, isn't that how we're always lectured?
I'm sure the word "accountability" shows up there once in a while, too.
P.S. Oh, and "actions have consequences." How could I have missed that one?