Tuesday, August 11, 2009

North Korea vs the Reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling

OK--I've been simmering on this recent news issue for a while and I finally have to uncork!

You recall the heroic story of the two U.S. reporters taken hostage by North Korea? And that former President Clinton recently shuttled to Pyongyang and secured their release after they were tried and sentenced to 12 years hard labor for illegally entering North Korea?

The AP reports: "Lisa Ling says her sister [Laura] told her that she and another American journalist briefly touched North Korean soil before they were captured and detained for months in that communist country."

The great newspaper the Ethopian Review posts the following (a couple snippets):

"Euna Lee and Laura Ling were granted a pardon by North Korea following rare talks between Clinton and the reclusive leader Kim Jong Il. They had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally."

"Nobody wanted this to be a distraction from the more substantially difficult issues we have with North Korea," he said. "There was a desire by the administration to resolve this quietly and from the very beginning they didn't allow it to become a huge public issue."

Here's a thought--they were guilty of being terminally stupid! They probably ought to serve their terms here in the U.S. I mean, what did they expect? North Korea is not the U.S. where we just send illegal immigrants back home.

They did the crime.

And the U.S. and U.S. taxpayers have to foot the bill for their release.

This is really a big issue. Why? Because both of the reporters are going to write books about their experiences and make a lot of money--an our (the taxpayers) expense. And no one seems to care.

Let's look at how it plays out. The United States expends economic, political, and psychological power (three of the four elements of national power) to free the captive reporters. They were justly captured while violating the laws of North Korea. And it wasn't a violation of ignorance--but rather a cogent decision to touch North Korean soil--so they could in all good journalistic faith say that they had been to North Korea. I mean, how do you say--oops, we didn't see the boarder when the border is a frozen river?

And now--after all of the agony they caused their families and the distraction caused to the State Department in the conduct of foreign policy--they are free and able to write a probable bestseller about "how I spent my summer vacation in a North Korean prison."

What's wrong with this picture?

There are countries in the world which would take the stance that they were terminally stupid and need to pay the price.

Thank goodness we live in the United States--because everyone needs protection--I just have a problem with them getting wealthy for knowingly doing something illegal and the U.S. then having to bail them out.

I just hope they don't try to wiggle out of paying their taxes!

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