Thoughts about American hikers/spies.

While I hate to see anyone go through this, I have to put these people in the same catagory as folks who travel, and then are surprised when the local laws apply to them.

Dummies, this is not Disney’s Epcot Center. You did not just enter “It’s a small world”.
If you smuggle drugs and get caught, you end up in their jails. If you chew gum where it isn’t allowed, you get caned, per their laws. If you wander across a border into a country at war, you get detained as a spy. Is any of that so hard?

Can we show some respect here? Maybe turn down the paternalism just a notch?

The women captured in North Korea were not “girls.” They were adult women. And they were not hapless idiots aimlessly wandering borders. They were journalists who took a calculated risk to get a story that they thought was important enough- they were reporting on North Korean escapees and their long and arduous journey they make through China to get to a country where they are welcomed. Whether or not you agree with journalists taking risks, it’s pretty screwed up to dismiss their (perhaps foolish) bravery. What’s the last thing you did to make the world a better place?

I swear! What does an adult professional woman need to do these days to stop being called “girl” and dismissed as a “lost idiot?” If they were male journalists, would you be calling them “boys?” And people say there is no more need for feminism!

Of the three people detained in Iran, two are 27 years old. The woman is 31. Two of them had been living in Syria. I’d venture they knew a good bit more about that particular border than you, oh living room warrior, do. It was a risk they took for whatever reason, and they came out on the wrong side of it. It’s an unfortunate situation all around, for a variety of reasons. Obviously there were bad choices. But really, the self-righteousness here isn’t impressing me. Do you really need someone to congratulate your moral superiority for sitting on your ass at home?

I would like to be congratulated for not wasting my country’s resources and causing an international incident, actually. When can I expect my medal?

But seriously, until I hear of what noble task they were taking, I’m going to have to rule on the side of self righteous idiots (man, woman, purple people eater, I don’t care).

If they were men, I’d be calling them f###ing morons.

Okay. So you are happy to get your new from North Korean press releases?

I would like to know the reason. Because from here it looks like these particular women caused an international incident for the gratification of their own egos. Since I’ve never done that I do feel a bit superior, frankly.

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

This was a direct quote from the CNN article I linked to above. I didnt’ write it.

He probably should have taken a course in 'what to do when arrested in a far away land, and can’t call mom."

Well the woman is pretty cute so maybe I’d just call her sweetie or cutie.

Seriously when I first heard this story I wondered why the hell you would want to go hiking in a country that is in the middle of a war. Then I heard the Syria part and I did a double WTF? As I recall they aren’t too happy about Americans either. I think they were very foolish to disregard the local police and local innkeeper. But I think espionage is an ridiculously high price to pay for said foolishness.

I don’t agree with their actions but I do think Iran should just STFU already and dump them back in Syria. This whole thing makes them(Iran) look silly.

ETA: Anyone else find the fact this happened almost 30 years to the day after the storming of the American Embassy in Iran a little odd?

And I think we can all agree that Iran is all about not looking silly.

Lighten up, sugar. In point of fact, “girls" was a deliberately selected word in my OP. I used it to accentuate what I perceived as their naïveté and immature disregard for the international ramifications of their actions. Adult professional females get called “woman” when they behave professionally. A professional in their situation would make damned sure their story wasn’t compromised because they failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid getting lost and wandering into N.Korea. They were adult girls whose poor judgement led across the line them from investigative reporting to espionage, they got busted, they fed Dear Leader’s propaganda machine and their release cost us tremendous political capital. And based on the information available to me about our Middle-Eastern Explorer Scouts I’m perfectly willing to affix the same family of labels. Perhaps I should have called them “kids.”

And I wasn’t really looking to impress anyone, not even you, es. In fact I was feeling a little bad about feeiling superior to these knuckleheads who can’t be arsed to pay attention to a GPS when it REALLY MATTERS. The Clintons have better things to do than to spring these people from dungeons in the same nations they’re trying so hard to build trust with.

From this AP article:

When you’ve got your mom telling the world that you’re wrongly imprisoned in an Iranian jail because you were having fun and being a kid, then yeah, I would expect your professional reputation to be pretty much shot. I hope they come home safely and soon, but wishing them well doesn’t preclude recognizing that this is their own fault. I just hope someone learns from this and some day it keeps some other young kid (and their mom) out of a desperate situation.

Damn you. That video linked me to another one called Iran’s Secret Gay World. Now I’m practically a spy. I know more about the underground world of Iran than Ahmadinejad does.

ETA: while googling to find the correct spelling of Ahmadinejad, I came across a link to his blog which I clicked on but Internet Explorer refused to display. For doing that I am probably now on the CIA/NSA/TSA/DHS watch list. So because of this thread I am now probably a spy in two countries.

I dunno, spies that stupid…

Exactly – what do you think you look like there, buddy? While I know that it may well just be an overzealous, adventurous traveller who got so into the culture that they thought they could take it all in first-hand, it was incredibly foolish to not consider how this would come off to the authorities in question.

I agree completely. No compassion from me. They were arrogant, stupid, or both.

The OP question is interesting but it really boils down to the time old question “Why do smart people do stupid things?”

Who knows, I’m a smart person and I’ve done stupid things. And when I look back at why I did it it often comes down to, “Well Gee it SEEMED like a good idea at the time.”

I try not to repeat mistakes but as I said when I licked the batter from the cake mix that had raw eggs in it… “Life’s short, sometimes you just gotta take risks.” :slight_smile:

I didn’t realize they’d even issue a “hiker” visa for Americans traveling to Iran. Seriously, they should have denied entry altogether and saved these idiots from their own naivete.

Who and why? “Hiking trip” to Iran, Iraq, N. Korea, Libya, or any other dangerous shitheel nation? Caught and put in prison? Serves ’ em right. (what’s wrong with Australia, Hawaii, Europe, America? Too crowded? Too boring? I’d LOVE to have the time, money and freedom to go hiking somewhere, but it would never occur to me to go to a danger zone… And what kind of spying are they doing if they are spying? What are they looking for? Land mines? Labor camps? Uranium factories? I don’t get it.

They were legally in Iraqi Kurdistan. They illegally crossed into Iran. Hence the kerfluffle.

You’ve probably never been to Syria, but it is one of the friendliest countries in the world. I myself have looked into moving there. There are few places in the world where policemen, 8-year-old boys, and just random people on the street come up to you and say “Welcome to Syria, thank you for visiting my country”… and then invite you home to meet their family. I think it is possible to visit Syria for months and never stay in a hotel since you’ll have more invites home than you can accept.

Syria is one of those rare gems.