Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should America do anything to save left-wing hikers in Iran?

Middle East Map

Middle East Map

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Imagine you are Shane Bauer, one of two American hikers released from Iranian captivity last week.

On July 31, 2009, you’re traversing a mountain trail in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. You’re with one of your best friends and your girlfriend. Suddenly a group of Iranian border guards capture you, and the next thing you know you’re in Tehran’s infamous Evin prison accused of “illegal entry” and “espionage.”

Your girlfriend is kept in solitary confinement and you can see her only for an hour each day. The Iranian government prevents you from contacting your family for almost a year, at which point they decide to let your mother visit you for two days at a Tehran hotel.

While your captors treat you humanely and provide three square meals a day, your Iranian co-prisoners aren’t so lucky. Every night you hear their screams. Evin is the world’s most notorious torture dungeon, where political dissidents (men and women) are routinely raped, beaten and subjected to all manner of physical and psychological abuse.

Ahmad Batebi, a student activist who spent 17 months in solitary confinement there, reports that guards kicked him in the teeth, dunked his head into a toilet “stopped up with feces,” and whipped his back and testicles with a cable. When he tried to sleep, they slashed his arms with a knife and rubbed salt in the wounds.

[...]Following two years of strenuous work on the part of committed American diplomats, you are freed on $500,000 bail, paid by the billionaire Sultan of Oman. And what is the first thing you say upon your release?

“Two years in prison is too long and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.”

Mr. Bauer didn’t name any of the “political prisoners” allegedly held in America’s jails—because there aren’t any. So is this a case of Stockholm Syndrome? Perhaps, but Mr. Bauer likely came to his views while earning a degree in “Peace and Conflict Studies” at Berkeley, if not before. On a website calling for his release, a friend attests to his “strong critic[ism] of the US-led brutal war on Iraq and Israel’s ongoing violence against the Palestinian people.”

On Sunday, Mr. Bauer said that he opposes “U.S. policies toward Iran which perpetuate this hostility”—as if American belligerence, and not Iranian tyranny and terror, causes tension between the countries. Though he criticized Tehran’s “brutality,” he gave credence to his captors’ grievances when he said that “every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo”—as if the claims of a government that denies the Holocaust have any validity.

[...]A website calling for Mr. Bauer’s release asked, “Why is Iran holding anti-war activists?” The answer eludes Mr. Bauer and his ilk for the same reason that they believe a moral equivalence exists between the Islamic Republic and America: Tehran does not care for international norms of behavior. A student of the Middle East, Mr. Bauer should know that his ordeal at the hands of the Iranian government is but an echo of the crime that inaugurated the Islamic Republic itself—the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran and the holding of our diplomats hostage for 444 days.

If I were in charge, I would not have wasted a second or a penny on these three. I’m furious at these people. Why don’t they stay in Iran, if they hate America so much? Hypocrites.

When I think of all the people who are not Americans, but who love America more than these natural-born traitors, it makes me sick.

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