Re "Calling journalist's beheading terrorism, US weighs striking Islamic State militants in Syria" (Aug. 24): It was reported that James Foley was beheaded because of the United States policy to never pay ransom. Merriam-Webster defines ransom as: "A consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity."
Consideration is not strictly equated to money. Against current policy, the U.S. did pay consideration for one controversial soldier with five known terrorists. I think the government sent out a very confusing message, especially to the Foley family. If the U.S. determines to pay ransom or not pay ransom, that policy should be consistent.
-- John Hightower, Orangevale