a thousand times no
This is just wrong.
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.
The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
That's right...US forces in Iraq have resorted to taking hostages.
Remind me...who's supposed to be the good guys?
Update: CalPundit, Daily Kos, Eschaton, Mark Kleiman, Jim Henley, and Matthew Yglesias, among others, rightly deplore the situation. Tacitus does his best to make the case that "there is something less to this than the outraged parties allege," but his reasoning is less than satisfactory. If the US forces took non-combatants (and no where is it alleged they were otherwise) prisoner, and left a note saying that they would come to harm if certain conditions weren't met, then they were hostages regardless of our secret intention. Claiming that we didn't really intend to harm them or keep them prisoner indefinitely does not magically wish the crime away. The fact that our forces took them prisoner, and deliberately took steps to create the impression that they would come to harm if conditions weren't met, makes them hostages. I can't fathom that, if a hostage situation involving Islamist terrorists was foiled, any defense that they never intended to hurt the hostages, and planned to let them go anyway, would wash.
At least Tacitus' post implies a disapproval if the US did indeed resport to hostage-taking -- in other words, a desperate attempt to rationalize the occurence so that somehow it isn't. Other conservatives either wholeheartedly approve of the evident violation of international and US military law (and the latter, at least, is indeed binding), or give it their tacit consent by their silence. Regardless of the practical objections to such a policy -- that the long-term harm outweighs any short-term benefit -- the moral bankruptcy of many hawks' end-justifies-the-means, might-makes-right attitude is simply disgusting.