It had to have happened sooner or later. A soldier, thought to be missing since last week's attack on a fuel convoy, was shown on Arab TV as a hostage. The US government has said - as it has long said - that it would not negotiate for his release in exchange for captured Iraqi insurgents.
What now? The treatment and release of these hostages has been mostly an unknown, although some were released at the end of last week. But this is different. This soldier is not "merely" a coalition soldier or an NGO worker; this is a representative of the "Great Satan" himself. Will Private Keith Maupin be returned to his comrades or will we all be subjected to his videotaped execution?
The quagmire deepens; increasing its sticky, relentless grip on our soldiers, on our nation. It threatens to drown us in a morass of death and violence spiraling out of control.