Thursday, August 6, 2009

8-6-09: Hikers Captured in Iran

I meant to post about this yesterday, but I got way too excited when both discs of Season Two of Flight of the Conchords showed up in the mail via Netflix, so I watched a bunch of episodes last night when I got home.

When I first heard about those American hikers who were captured and detained, and subsequently arrested and charged with espionage, while traversing through northern Iraq into Iran, I thought "Well, that was rather reckless on their part."

But I wanted to give it a day or two to sink in and for more details to come out. I'm glad I did, because it got a bit more interesting.

It seems that two of the hikers are freelance journalists who have covered various stories in the middle east. Let's see: two journalists. Captured in a country with which we have no diplomatic relations. How many frequent flyer miles will Bill Clinton end up with by year end?!

I don't know what the other guy was doing with them, but these people have to go down as being either extremely brave or extremely stupid. The odd thing is: we don't really have any leverage in the situation. We didn't really have much in the North Korea deal, either. The only difference here is that we're not in a full-on conflict with Iran (in case you forgot, the Korean War is still technically going on). So, I'd think the two journalists captured by Iran would be easier to get back.

But then there's the fact that they're being charged with espionage. The two journalists captured in Korea, from what I remember, didn't face such a charge (but still got a hefty prison sentence). Who knows what sort of prison time the journalists caught in Iran could face, if found guilty.

Either way: I don't see them as victims in this. This is one of those situations where, seeing that they were journalists with experience in covering the Middle East, they, of all people, should have known better. Sure, it might have been just an innocent mistake, but it does seem fishy to me. I'm no fan of Iran, by any stretch, but you have to be a lot more careful. Then you become a nuisance, not a hero journalist. I hope they are released, but only out of sympathy for their families, not because they're being held by a hostile nation. It's their fault.

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