Monday, June 8, 2009
CURRENT TV REPORTERS GET 12 YEARS IN NORTH KOREA
So the story came down today that Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for Al Gore's TV station Current TV, were given 12 years hard labor for crossing the China-North Korean boarder. As is expected the families and our political figure heads are up in arms about this, screaming and pointing out how unfair it all is. Granted this is unfair and clearly some kind of temper tantrum by North Korea to show how bad ass they are to the rest of us. It's a political wet dream to be able to make an example of two people usually caught in the crossfire of a Government Pissing Contest.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt so I choose to believe that the two reporters were just trying to complete their story on defectors living along the China-North Korean boarder. This really is unfair to the two of them if they made an honest mistake crossing into the North Korea boarder and I hope that political pressure gets them out before too long.
My issue here is with Americans jumping up and down about how unfair this all is. Wow, talk about hypocritical, this takes the cake. If two people from a country we had no real relationship with were caught illegally crossing into our country the cry for their heads would be swift and incredibly loud. They may beg and plead and express how it was an accident that they were trying to do a story on Mexicans or Canadians and didn't mean to cross into American territory but I'd bet 90% of the American people wouldn't care.
Not to mention our Government detains people all the time just for "looking" the terrorist part. During the Bush administration he waived the idea of Habeas Corpus which meant a prisoner could now be held indefinitely without legal council and without knowing why they were being held. Let's also not forget the whole Water Boarding of folks we assumed were terrorists. When that kind of shit goes down we want instant blood and do it hiding behind "national security".
I'm in no way saying these two reporters deserved what they got because clearly it's way too harsh. What I'm saying is that we as Americans need to relax on waving our fists at countries who do this and pretend we don't do the exact same thing. It goes back to my idea that America either needs to put up or come clean.
We yell and wave our flags about the horrible things other countries do but when caught doing awful things ourselves we tend to hide behind the idea that it had to be done to protect American lives. We can't have it both ways and trying to has led to us being reviled around the world.
If we are going to say we are the shining beacon of truth and liberty then we have to stick to those guns. We don't detain people illegally, no racial profiling, no torturing, no shifty legal practices, no illegal wire taps etc and so on. If that means we have to deal with more attacks on American soil in order to keep up with our higher ideals then that's what we deal with. Taking the high road is never easy but if you commit to it you have to see it through or you're seen as liars. Especially when you have tendency to claim the high road but then take short cuts with human rights and civil liberties the way our political leaders tend to.
If we don't want to take the high road and we want to use any means necessary to protect our country then we need to cop to that and stop pretending we're something we're not. Let everybody know upfront that we will use anything from racial profiling to a magic eight ball to root out the enemy and then torture the shit out of them to get what we need. Come clean with it and then even though we may not be a shining light at least we'd be honest.
The longer we play both sides against the middle the longer we will be hated by the world at large which puts us in more danger than anything else.