How The Hell Do You Wander Across An Axis Of Evil Border?
American journalist Laura Ling and fellow reporter Euna Lee, held captive in North Korea for illegally entering that country from China, are finally home. Both reporters were working on a story about the trafficking of women in North Korea for former Vice President Al Gore’s San Francisco based Current TV when they were arrested back in March. They were both sentenced to twelve years of hard labor. Their release was the result of a successful unofficial diplomatic foray from former President Bill Clinton with the blessings of the White House. Mr. Clinton’s diplomatic mission comes during a period of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program. Former Vice President thanked the State Department for its help in winning their release.
Meanwhile, at another location on our globe, Iran confirmed the arrest of three American hikers who crossed into that country from neighboring Iraq and said they have been charged with “illegal entry,” a semi-official news agency reported. Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal were arrested in the western Iranian city of Marivan. Swiss diplomats in Iran and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Iran to provide information on the hikers. These three are supposed to be seasoned hikers who we are supposed to believe just happened to have wandered across an unmarked border with Iran when they were detained.
Now maybe it’s just me, like most humans I have a history of forming an opinion without the need to wait for every single detailed fact to be discovered before forming an opinion, but how the hell do you get on a plane, travel halfway around the world to a country that borders a country once considered an axis of evil, then take some local form of transportation to the fore mentioned border, put on a backpack, and then start wandering around aimlessly without the slightest clue that they might be heading into dangerous territory? Maybe it’s just me, but these two episodes of wandering Americans in supposedly hostile countries sound the fishiest of fishy.
Does anybody really have to wonder what would happen if an undocumented North Korean or an Iranian was found aimlessly wandering around in Phoenix, Arizona or San Antonio, Texas? I wonder if anyone would buy their story that they were simply took a hiking trip during their tourist visit to Juarez, Mexico. More than likely nobody here would share a tear if such a visitor to our country would wind up in high security, protect the country from terrorist, Guantanamo Bay like accommodations. We don’t even want the people in Mexico, a friendly state, coming across our borders, let alone the citizen from a hostile state.
So don’t the goods for the goose apply to the gander? If we want to prosecute people who illegally come into our country, aren’t other countries entitled to prosecute Americans who illegally come into theirs? And if an American is there to do a story on how screwed up other cultures are, all the more reason to stop their shit cold.
But one thing I do know for sure is that within days after their arrest, all of the American infiltrators listed here, Laura Ling, Euna Lee, Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were given an opportunity to contact their families and get help. Imagine that from an axis of evil! There were stories from Guantanamo Bay that the lawyers assigned to represent some of the accused terrorist had to fight tooth and nail to get access to their clients. And some of those people that were condemned to rot in the detention at Camp X-Ray in downtown Guantanamo had just become teenagers. Imagine what would have happened if Iran or North Korea had sentenced a young American teenager to one of their detention facilities.
A lot of people who work in our government on behalf of the American people look for every loophole not to give people accused of being here illegally the representation they need to have a day in court or to simply go back home. If not already, our national paranoia is becoming legendary. But our national hypocrisy is even greater.
Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee stayed in the news and our government officials and unofficials pulled out all the stops to help bring these two home. Ms. Clinton and the State Department are undoubtedly pulling out similar stops to earn the release of the three hikers being held in Iran. We’ll work to bring these people home and then put them in front of cameras and hail them as American heroes for their foray into enemy territory. I’m sure the people we hold here in America for similar transgressions against our country would appreciate being treated like Americans being held elsewhere. I’m sure the foreigners being held here would like to go home and have the opportunity to see their families again.