October 26, 2002

HERE'S AN UPDATE on the Russian hostage rescue, which appears to have gone well, though not quite as well as it appeared late last night. Apparently 67 hostages are dead, out of about 750. Considering that the building (and the terrorists) were wired with suicide explosives, that's good.

Interestingly, the report claims that the Russians used a sleeping gas to incapacitate people. I'm somewhat skeptical of this, since knockout gases have been the holy grail of nonlethal-weapons research and as far as I know there haven't been any good ones developed. Then again, it's not like I follow the field that closely.

We should be grateful that the Russians managed this so well, as it makes a repetition of these tactics less likely.

UPDATE: There's more coverage here from the Moscow Times, which is spinning this very positively. I think it is positive, but the spin is quite evident.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Perry DeHavilland is very happy with this outcome, and says that in the long run it's always safer not to give in to terrorist demands -- which is, of course, true.