Inspired by this thread:
In Jerry Pournelle’s SF novel King David’s Spaceship, set in his CoDominium/Empire of Man universe, it is mentioned at one point that the Empire has a very definite policy regarding hostages: If you take one of our people hostage, we will not negotiate for his/her release. We will not mount any rescue attempts. We will consider the hostage officially dead, and any action we take will be in the form of a punitive expetition in retaliation.
Would that be workable? Would it effectively deter hostage-takers?
Even if it would, would it be a morally defensible policy?