Thoughts about American hikers/spies.

You know the ones? Couple American girls get lost & wind up in a N.Korean prison. And several Americans find themselves in the same story except this time it’s Iran.

I’m not completely heartless. I wish they’d never run into this difficulty, my heart goes out to their families and everyone else who cares about them. But there’s a part of me that is screaming, “Well? What’d you expect?” I mean, I wouldn’t wish a grizzly bear mauling on anyone, but if you’re hiking in bear country, you should be ready to encounter, you know, bears. And if you’re an American hiking the border of a backward, anti-American nation you should maybe expect to be captured and used as a propaganda tool.

So help me find some compassion here: Why exactly should I be concerned with people who are either clueless or belligerent enough to wind up in a foreign jail just because they didn’t think border-crossing was a great big deal?

Well, people aren’t bears.

People with particular views, widely known to those that are not completely ignorant, may present a hazard at least as great as a bear. So, it is true that people are not bears. People are far more dangerous an unpredictable, should you venture into their lair unannounced.

I’m given to understand that it is very beautiful and almost impossible to tell where the border is in that area of the world. They took a huge risk of wandering into hostile, unmarked territory, and came out on the wrong side of that risk.

If an Iranian national “wandered” “accidentally” “while hiking” across a remote part the US/Canadian Border and was picked up on the US side I don’t think the US would be very friendly about it either.

There’s no need to be hypothetical about it. Many people whose worst crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time have finished up in Guantanamo, without even access to consular assistance (which these three have received).

They’re spies or idiots. What moron goes walking about even close to the border of a known hostile country? Sometimes I think Americans are as self-important as we’re generally portrayed.
ETA: I don’t really think they’re spies

Spies or fools, either way - let them rot.

On second thought - if spies, possibly negotiate to recover them. If fools, AMF!

They were warned by the local police and a friendly local inn keeper not to do what they were planning. And they went anyway.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/08/01/iran.americans.detained/index.html

Ahmed Awa police spotted the hikers at one point Friday, Ahmed said, and warned them that they were near the border with Iran – which is not marked in the area – and that they should be careful.

The group was in contact with Meckfessel in Sulaimaniya until about 1:30 p.m. Friday, when they reported they were “surrounded by Iranian soldiers,” Ahmed said. No further communication was received.

Mohammed, of the Nirwan Hotel, told CNN that the hikers said they had come to the area because they heard it was safe, saying they were considering a trip to Ahmed Awa. But, he said, he advised them against it.

“I warned them many times,” Mohammed told CNN.
“When they told me that they are planning to go to Ahmed Awa, I told them, ‘Don’t go there because it is unsafe for you because you’re American and Ahmed Awa is very close to the Iranian border,’” he said

A description of one of the hikers from the same article:

a “gifted linguist and photographer with wanderlust for travel and a student of Arab cultures. He’s a remarkably talented guy.”

If I were an Iranian security person I would think that this person sounds like a CIA recruit to me.

No, but really though: I had no idea that hiking the Iraqi wilderness was a travel option at this point in time. Generally, I try to avoid hostile war zones while on my vacations, but perhaps I’m just not adventurous.

I got my little CNN text update about this when I woke up today. My first thought was: fucking idiots.

Leave them there. Seriously. 1: All accounts seem to say that they were intelligent enough to know exactly what they were doing and 2: they aren’t worth the international incident.

But you’re right, ghardester, they do totally sound like spies. That whole pseudo-intellectual douchebag thing probably worked against them tremendously in this instance.

Just to be clear, I don’t really think they are spies. But I can certainly see how the Iranians could think so.

“American soldiers who got captured in Iraq or Afghanistan are idiots for going there, and therefore deserved their fate.”

Would you guys agree or disagree?

An American soldier in Afganistan, who accidentally wanders into hostile territory while not in uniform despite being told by people with reliable information that they specifically should not enter into that region, is an idiot, and it is quite rational for a hostile army to consider them a spy upon capture in such circumstance. Chances are, they ARE a spy in such circumstances. Do they deserve “anything they get” no way. Do they deserve to be tried on suspicion of espionage? Yup.

Dude, you just blew my mind! How is a uniformed, armed combatant on a mission and under orders ANYTHING like my OP subjects (assuming they were not spies)? Use small words because It’s going to be a difficult concept for me.

Rather than baiting us, why don’t you just go right ahead and make your non nonsensical point.

I’m having a very tough time with this one. The mother of one of the hikers is an acquaintence of mine, and several of my friends are good friends with her. They are asking everybody for support to bring the hikers home.

On the other hand, I am of the opinion that they knew better and did it anyway - they deserve what they get. But I can’t reconcile that with hurting a friend… I hate the whole situation, and have been avoiding a bunch of friends for 100 days now.

They were acting on their own “orders” and were wearing their own “uniforms” while on their hiking “mission”. And they didn’t have guns.

I’m not surprised that the American civilians were captured in or near Iran/North Korea, and I’m not surprised that American soldiers get killed in Iraq/Afghanistan. Both groups put themselves in dangerous situations, and according to your OP are “clueless” people whom you should not be concerned about.

(emphasis mine)

Someone call the Department of Redundancy Department.

Read for comprehension. My OP has nothing to do with soldiers who are sent by a government to do a job; it has to do with regular folks who disregard danger and end up getting used for propaganda. There’s a difference. You can dissect it in GD if you want.

I don’t see the difference. American soldiers are used as propaganda all of the time. I don’t see why the “regular folks” deserve any less concern.

Apparently he missed the charm and slick/fast talking classes though.

My vote is that they are idiots. I like to imagine that actual spies would be a little more discrete. Just to be clear - I’m not saying anything close to “they deserve whatever they get”. However, I am reminded of the phrase “tempting fate”. Honestly, I don’t care how much of an “adventurer” you are, the earth has millions of square miles of land you can traverse without putting yourself within inches of a the border of a political enemy. The folks had an agenda by being exactly right there, no matter how lame, and there are consequences to their ill conceived actions.