Tibor R. Machan
Some questions about the release of two employees of Al Gore by the North Koreans and some other questions about the three persons who are still in custody in Iran.
First, what were these two ladies doing so near North Korea that they could be captured? Was this something innocent? Was their job to end up where they were captured and why so? No, these are not rhetorical questions on my part. I really don't understand and have heard no one address the issues. (Of course, there is also the question of just how much responsibility does a government have to rescue people who have negligently been exposed to such capture.)
Second, why would North Korea deal so readily, smoothly with Bill Clinton? And with Al Gore? Is there something afoot here we are nowhere near privy to? Maybe the objective is to give these American public figures something to brag about, somehow to endear themselves with the American public at a time when some of the current administration's plans are in trouble. Nothing like an emotionally pregnant event to get a lot of people to forget about public policy blunders. It is also possible, is it not, that North Korea finds the Clinton-Gore entourage more sympathetic to its socialist system than, say, some private, politically neutral party in America. I am sorry but I just will not accept that North Korea has suddenly become a friend of the United States of America and has nothing but good will up its sleeve. After all, why capture these people anyway? What have they done that deserved threatening them with 12 years of incarceration by officials of a system that has no conception of due process of law? And then why just let it all go?
Third, once out of reach of the North Koreans, why were the two women giving North Korea thanks? Have they been guilty of anything for which they have been generously forgiven? What's that? To all appearances they were being used criminally, in ways no human beings may be used by other human beings.
Fourth, I am always inclined to compare these kinds of events with what might have occurred at the time the Nazis ruled Germany. What if a similar thing had happened and Hitler "graciously" handed back some kidnapped journalists to some ex-president of the US? Would this have played out similarly? I doubt it. But then it seems like the current American government is giving a pass to North Korea for its totalitarian practices, for the famines its policies have produced and the deaths and misery they have caused. Or are we, perhaps, witnessing some cosiness between the Obama Administration and the glorious goals of a socialist government such as North Korea?
Then there is the not yet resolved Iranian fiasco, involving the three Americans who are said to have wandered into Iran from Iraq by accident. How does one do this? Why would one be so near that border and fail to realize that such carelessness could be deadly?
When back in 1974 I decided to visit communist Hungary, where I still had relatives, for the first time since I was smuggled out from there in 1953, I didn't simply take a sloppy walk and end up behind the Iron Curtain. No, I called the American embassy first and asked whether it would be safe to visit and was told they haven't lost an American there in 40 some years. So it seemed safe, even for an ex-Hungarian who, by that country's laws was still regarded a citizen and eligible for being drafted into the military there. Knowing this I made sure that some journalists in Vienna, the closest major Western city to Budapest, would be aware of my visit and start making hey if something happened to me. Even then I was hauled down to the police station and interrogated about my visit and my escape 20 years ago. I was in the hot seat for some three hours answering questions most of which I couldn't make sense of. But that was it, no further hassles.
The bottom line is, I don't see why these five Americans placed themselves in harms way. So I am tempted to consider some kind of conspiracy theory, especially seeing how the Iranians and North Koreans have been treated with kid gloves, not a harsh word, nothing. Go figure.