Be ready to replace your Webster's dictionary. We just learned that the word ransom is now spelled b-a-i-l ["2 U.S. hikers on way home," News, Sept. 22].

Thank God that the two hostages were released, but when our White House continues to spin and control the news, they must think we are all idiots. Bail, by definition, is money or goods put up for the release of an alleged criminal on a promise of return or the lose of the bail money. The $1 million bail which was put up through an intermediary country, Oman, is no more than payment for hostages -- a practice our government has rejected over many decades.

When the three hostages were captured in July 2009 (on President Barack Obama's watch), there were many slick speeches, but no credible action. Why was the release orchestrated to happen during United Nations week, when Obama could have raised the issue directly with the dictator?

A million dollars for Iran is a considerable amount of money, but the PR value is worth billions for terrorist nations. Maybe Obama should have bought a cardigan sweater, sat in front of the fireplace like President Jimmy Carter did more than 30 years ago, when this same nation took hostages and held them for more than one year, and waited for a strong president to be elected to take action.

Thank God for the release of the hostages. Shame on the White House.

John F. DeGregorio, Melville

I was happy to read that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were free after being held in an Iranian prison for two years. Unfortunately, if you cross the border illegally in Iran you will be detained indefinitely, or in North Korea you will get 12 years of hard labor, or in Afghanistan you may be shot, or in Saudi Arabia you may be jailed, or in China you may never be heard from again, or in Venezuela you may be branded as a spy, or in Cuba you may be thrown into a political prison.

On the other hand, if you illegally cross the border in America, you will get a job, a credit card, a loan to purchase a house, free education, free health care, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and billions of dollars worth of public documents printed in your language. Sickening.

Margaret Weber, Hauppauge

Why are those three idiots who were caught hiking in Iran being treated as heroes by the media? They should pay the U.S. government (taxpayers) back every cent, with interest, all the money they have caused us to pay. They should be held responsible for their stupidity and lack of common sense, hopefully sending the right message to any other self-absorbed "hikers."

Robert Perpall, Seaford


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