Our Opinion: What’s the tab?

Once or twice a year, it seems, we hear of people who get themselves into serious trouble and have to be rescued, often at taxpayer expense. Boaters who venture out into rough seas and hikers who get lost because they outwalked their skills fall into that category.

We’re always glad to hear they were rescued from, frankly, their own recklessness.

This week’s installment of that continuing story involves a Pennsylvania woman and her Canadian husband who, about five years ago, thought it would be nice to visit Afghanistan. She was pregnant at the time.

You guessed it: They were captured by Taliban terrorists. A few days ago, their captors took them into Pakistan. Because U.S. intelligence agencies had been tracking them, American officials enlisted the Pakistani government in a successful recovery operation.

The five-person family — man, wife and three children born in captivity — are headed home.

No one can say what that cost taxpayers financially and, more important, because our government now owes Pakistan a favor.

When Americans get into trouble, our first impulse is to rescue them. That is the right thing to do.

Also appropriate, however, would be sending the couple a bill for services rendered by American taxpayers.