I’ve long thought that American tourists who go sightseeing in dangerous places, especially like North Korea, they should be put on notice by our State Dept. not expect any expensive or heroic rescue efforts if things go wrong. In other words, if you get kidnapped, it’s basically on you to get out of it. We should not allow America to be held responsible for your bad choices and you had fair warning.
Obama paid millions in ransom to Iran to secure the release of several American hostages last year and of course the speculation was that Iran used that money to fund terrorism. it also made the next kidnapping more likely. Profiting off the capture of foolish American tourists is an old story that happens more than we care to know. Of course I blame those who are doing the kidnapping and murdering first and foremost, no question about it. But, oftentimes the bad guys are beyond our reach, so what do we do then?
Here’s a thought: American tourists must apply for clearance to go to these rogue nations and when they do we ought to be prepared to give them an education about how we feel about their travel plans and what they should expect if they get into a jam. Imagine if The State Dept. had send little Otto a letter saying, “Dear Otto, your travel plans are about to place you at great risk. You may be kidnapped and tortured to death. We wish you lotsa luck if you go, because that’s about all we have for you, if you’re captured.” Do you think he might have backed off his original travel plans or maybe his parents would have had second thoughts?
Kidnapping tourists and business people means big money for a lot of seedy people in poor countries. It’s big bucks in Mexico and the same could be said for another half dozen banana republics, but in North Korea, well, you would have to be the most biggest, most deluded dolt, ever to walk through an airport turnstile to even think about going there! The Warmbier’s allowed their son to go to North Korea knowing the risks. Then when the worst happened and their son was arrested minutes before he boarded a flight for home. Of course then they expected the State Dept. to pull out all the stops for them.
The State Dept. made the usual calls, but short of going to war, what exactly are we supposed to do? Obviously, the North Korean’s had plans other than releasing this 21 year old college student and they could care less about our humanitarian reasons for his return. They got their show trial, they had this young man crying like a baby in the court room for all the world to see. He scared and pleading with them to be released. It was sickening to watch. It made me despise the North Korean regime all the more. But, try as I might, it was very hard for me to feel much compassion for the parents. To be perfectly candid, I’m kinda angry at them, but as that anger subsides I do feel for them. Yes, it was a stupid stunt that wound up working against America, they lost a child and a promising student lost his life. It was tragic. It didn’t make it any easier to know this was foreseeable and easily preventable.
Has the family learned anything from this horrible experience? Well, just before Otto died his Dad said, “I’m proud of Otto, and the courage he showed by going to North Korea,” I disagree, but if this gives him some comfort, then so be it.
I want North Korea to get theirs in the worst way, because they have racked up a long list of major crimes against humanity. But, it should come at the cost of placing millions of South Korean lives at great risk because we want justifiable revenge. When it’s time to deal with North Korea all I can say is, it better be worth the cost. And meanwhile, lets keep dumb Americans out of trouble by giving them fair warning to never venture into North Korea again, or at least not while they remain a despotic regime run by a crazy kid.