Remember the three American "hikers" that had inadvertently hiked into Iran whilst they were attempting to hike along the Iran-Iraq border? And remember how they were taken into custody by the Iranians? And remember Iran released the girl but the other two have been in custody ever since because Iran says that they were spies? Well, if you didn't remember, consider yourself caught up.
Before I continue, I just need to say a few things about the situation that put those three folks in the position that they are/were in. First of all, if you're in the Middle East and you want to go "hiking", I cannot for the life of me figure out why you wouldn't be either more cognizant of where the borders were or wouldn't just hike really far away from the borders to begin with. Hiking so close to Iran's borders seems to be just asking for trouble if you're asking me.
Second, I find myself conflicted as to how Iran is dealing with this situation. On the one hand, I am fairly certain that these folks were not and are not spies. On that same hand, I really have absolutely nothing to base that on other than the fact that they don't seem like they would be spies. This ideology is based loosely on watching the Pink Panther when I was a child. Oh, and Scooby Doo. Thus, if I am Iran, what do I do? I have to say that I will lend a certain degree of respect to a country that protects its borders. I'm not even so sure that I'm concerned with how a country protects its borders, as long as it does so.
Those perspectives that I have are the reasons why I'm not overly sympathetic to the hikers. Sure, people make mistakes. But, come on! How delusional are you if you think you'll be just fine if you accidentally hike into Iran? You should be wearing a helmet at all times if that's how your mind works. And then I read an opinion piece by Sarah Shourd, the freed female American hiker, over there at CNN. And her logic in the piece is a bit surprising. It's as if she has no clue as to the history between the United States and Iran. Then again, this is the same person who was doing all of the border hiking, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Sarah states in her piece that "At a very personal level, I never would have been kept in jail for 14 months if Iran and the United States had a better relationship." I'm not so sure that I believe that to be accurate. It sounds nice, but I doubt it. The United States has pretty good relationships with other countries whose citizens have been caught spying. We don't just let them go. Again, you have to go on the basis that Iran is using, that being that they were spies or doing something that would harm Iran, in order to justify them keeping them in custody. Then again, they were not in the country lawfully, so I guess you don't even really need to justify it with anything other than that.
She goes on to say that "How different our situation would have been if the United States had an embassy in Iran when Shane, Josh and I were arrested on the border with Kurdistan, where we had gone hiking." Um, is she kidding me?! The United States did have an embassy in Iran. Perhaps she is unaware of the little disturbance that took place in that embassy in 1979 when Sixty-six Americans were taken captive when Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Perhaps she is also unaware that 52 of those hostages were held for a total of 444 days. And if that's the case, I guess she also didn't hear about the eight American servicemen who lost their lives during a rescue mission. And she thinks that we need an embassy in Iran? Are you dry shaving me?
Allow me to show you a picture of what the former US embassy in Iran looked like after the hostages were taken. Picture is courtesy of Wikipedia.
Oh, sure. They just loooooove us. She also has the nerve to say "I hope our leaders find the courage to begin to break from our nations' hostile past..." Do you now? Our leaders? Plural? Explain to me what the United States is supposed to be doing when I'm A Dinner Jacket (Ahmadinejad) continues with his nuclear program against everyone's wishes? Explain to me what we're supposed to do with a guy, who wants to blow Israel off of the map, who is intent on making his country a nuclear power? It's not a hostile past that is all of the problem. It's the hostile present, cupcake. I should also note that there are some former hostages who believe that Ahmadinejad was actually one of their captors and have identified him as such. If that's the case and he's now the President of Iran, I'm not so sure that the "courage" is going to be "found" by him to "break from our nations' hostile past".
Look, I totally understand that her two friends are still being imprisoned over there in Iran and she wants to have them freed. Therefore, I can understand why she wouldn't write anything that would be overly critical or take a harsh tone with the Iranian government. But I can't understand why she would write anything like what she did in the first place. Does she really think that it's going to matter what she says? I don't think that it is. Then again, this woman does seems to have a fairly delusional way of thinking when it comes to international relations, so I guess it's to be expected.