A human life is important, until it endangers other human lives.
What do you guys think? As you may gather from some of what I said in my previous post here, I definitely agree with this statement. Whether it be a murderer, a Hitler-esque dictator, an enemy soldier aiming his rifle at you, or simply a confused man with a knife to your throat, in the situation when more than his own life is at stake as a result of his actions, his inherent right to life is forfeit. If a man was stalking the halls massacring your co-workers would you try and dis-arm him, knock him out? I would take no chances.
An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind? Consider the alternative: you will still have only one eye and he will have two if you do nothing.
What do you think would happen if it became policy to automatically consider all hostages as casualties? Your first reaction would probably be one of horror. "Why would you do that?! They still have a chance! How could you?" Hostages empower the hostage-takers (I wish there was a more succinct word for them) because they then hold all the cards. The 'good guys' essentially gave them those cards by taking on a strategy of appeasement. Can't you just picture it: They get in their helicopter and make their get-away, taking a few hostages with them. Once they're scot-free they turn to the hostages and shoot them. Why not? Hostages aren't intrinsically good bargaining chips. They're only as good as the other side makes them.
I'd like you to keep in mind that the frame of this post centers around human interactions, not nation-to-nation or organization-to-organization. I hope you understand what I mean by that. (^__^;;)7