Joe Gandelman notes that the terrorists who sized Lockheed Martin worker Paul Johnson are following a well worn script.
Some abroad -- and in the United States -- might be tempted to ask: Can't we reason with them? Can't we win their hearts?They'll follow the script to the letter, of that you can be sure.
It's abundantly clear the answer is a resounding no. And if you don't believe it, note that the terrorists have already changed their demands. At first they had captured him (they said) to treat him the way they said American guards treated Iraqi prisoners at the center of the prisoner abuse scandal.
But how they've changed their tune -- making a demand they know full well the Saudi government cannot meet, so they can kill Johnson in a public, horrific way to send a message to other foreigners and weak-kneed governments to quit Saudi Arabia.
Update: Stephen Green thinks he's already dead. He's probably right.
Releasing a video of the kidnapped Johnson makes infinitely more sense than only releasing a Nick Berg-style execution video only. A video of his execution is not going to get much media exposure. A hostage video is sure to run on every cable news network every hour on the hour for days.
Al Queda is fighting their war on the media front as well, and adapting their strategies to the coverage.