The wrongful release of three American hostages by Iran 8

Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, the Americans held in an Iranian prison for two years for entering the country illegally, were ransomed and released five days ago (September 21). The ransom will ensure that more Americans will be grabbed and held whenever possible, of course.

But that is not the only reason why they should not have been ransomed.

They each made  a speech when they landed in Oman. Fattal said that he and his companions (including Sarah Shourd who was released a year ago for a lower ransom) were innocent of any intention to enter Iran illegally, and Bauer said that they were sympathetic to Iran’s cause [“The irony is Sarah, Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility”], as if this were additional reason why they should not have been arrested and imprisoned. What they did not say was whether their sympathies still lie with Iran rather than their own country. Iran is unjust, it subjugates women, it stones apostates to death, it threatens the annihilation of Israel, it hangs homosexuals, it  is building a nuclear arsenal that endangers the world, but these three citizens of the free and tolerant United States were sympathetic to Iran.

They should have been left to whatever fate Iranian justice would have condemned them to. Then they might have served the useful purpose of providing an object lesson to their like-thinkers back home.

Debra J. Saunders reveals more about them. She writes at Townhall:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad engineered the release last week of two American hikers serving eight-year prison terms on trumped-up espionage charges. He may have thought the release would make him seem more humane, but the $1 million bail-for-freedom deal makes Tehran look like Somali pirates, grabbing innocent tourists, holding them hostage and then releasing them for ransom.

So why did released hiker Shane Bauer say the following upon his 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 (emphasis added) and Iran.”

The moral-equivalent rhetoric may have worked when Bauer was a peace and conflict studies major at the University of California, Berkeley, but one country ginned up phony espionage charges to use him and his companions as political pawns — that’s Iran — and the other country doesn’t imprison critics because of what they say or use violence to quell dissent.

The nightmare began in July 2009 when Bauer, friend Josh Fattal and Bauer’s girlfriend, Sarah Shourd, were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Hiking in Iraq in 2009? And near the Iranian border? How much tourism has there been in Iraq while war has been raging there?  How did they get there, and why?

Many Americans have wondered how they could be so foolhardy that they mistakenly crossed into Iran. Shourd, a self-described “teacher-activist-writer,” says that there were no signs indicating the Iraq-Iran border near a popular waterfall and that the hikers crossed into Iran after an armed soldier summoned them to walk toward him. …

At the time of their arrest, Bauer and Shourd were living in Damascus, in the bosom of Bashar Assad’s Syria. They have shared a professed love of Middle Eastern culture.

That is to say, Arab culture – the morally lowest in the world.

They also shared some blind spots. Shourd, for example, wrote that in Yemen, interaction between the sexes is minimal, absent marriage, and 99 percent of women never leave the house unveiled. But: “The separation of sexes is widely understood as an attempt to protect women, and I have to admit, the streets do feel safe. Men leave you alone as long as you are covered; in a bizarre way it is less of a hassle being a woman here than anywhere I’ve ever been.”

Newsweek lists Yemen as one of nine countries that are “the worst places to be a woman,” because domestic violence is not illegal and there is no legal recognition of spousal rape.

A year before Shourd wrote about how safe she felt in Yemen, 10-year-old Nujood Ali went to a Sanaa courtroom to ask a judge to release her from an arranged marriage to an older man who beat her. Other girl brides came forward with their horror stories. A Sanaa University study found that more than half of Yemeni girls are married before they turn 18.

Shourd never quite comes out and says that she thinks that as Iraq War-opposing liberals, she and her friends should be treated differently than other people in the Middle East. But surely, she noticed that she was an unmarried 31-year-old woman and traveling with her 27-year-old boyfriend throughout the Arabian Peninsula, among people who would not tolerate the same behavior from their own.

Unjust imprisonment? Bauer should talk to a 10-year-old bride. …

Bauer and Shourd “lived in Syria, enjoying privileged lives,” different from the lives of ordinary Damascenes. Yet instead of criticizing Syria’s brutal dictator, Bauer wrote articles hitting America, and Shourd wrote a piece that criticized not Assad, but Israel.

Diana West says it is her “sincere wish that Bauer, Fattal and Shourd return to the United States and realize what a great country America is. Iran arrested them. Iran framed them. Iran jailed them.”

The United States, in contrast, gave them a university education that trained them to blame America first. Or, after serving time in prison … coequally with Iran.

We are not concerned about their possible enlightenment. We think they have been treated too well by America (the real source of their ransom, whatever lies are told or implied about the obsequiously-thanked Sultan of Oman paying it), and – obviously – not badly enough by Iran.

In our post When innocence is a vice (September 24, 2010), on Sarah Shourd and her ransomed release, we quoted this insightful passage from a short story called The Informer by Joseph Conrad, and it bears repeating here:

She went to a great length. She had acquired all the appropriate gestures of revolutionary convictions – the gestures of pity, of anger, of indignation against the anti-humanitarian vices of the social classes to which she belonged herself. … She was displaying very strikingly the usual signs of severe enthusiasm, and had already written many sentimental articles with ferocious conclusions. … For all their assumption of independence, girls of that class are used to the feeling of being specially protected, as, in fact, they are. This feeling accounts for nine tenths of their audacious gestures.

Boys of that class too, of course.

We hope to hear of Shourd’s and Bauer’s early return to their residences in Bashar Assad’s chaotic flaming blood-soaked Syria, and of Fattal’s joining them there.

  • Harold

    Is Shane Bauer related to Jack Bauer?

    Is the quote “The irony is Sarah, Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility” the demonstration that they are sympathetic to Iran?  They may have said more, but the above quote only refers to their attitude towards USA, not anything about their sympathies or otherwise towards Iran.  For example, if someone (person A, or Iran) were poking a kitten with a stick, I could have no sympathy with this behaviour.  Person B may advocate slaughtering person A’s family one by one until he stops poking the kitten.  I would then oppose person B, without changing my disaproval of person A’s behaviour.

    Do you disagree with: ” we sincerely hope for the freedom of … unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.”?  I find it hard to disagree with a sentiment that unjustly imprisoned people should be freed.

  • George

    WE MUST VOTE OBAMA OUT OF OFFICE   !!!!!   Our great nation cannot survive another term with  this retard as president.   The world is getting more and more violent and the USA is coming more and more under threat and yet President Otrauma  panders to our enemies and stabs our allies in the back. I will vote for any conservative  running against Obama if I had to chose.    In fact I would probably vote for Jesus Christ if he were around and existed rather than another term of    ‘what’s his name’  in the white house now.

    • George

      If I had to choose between Obama and Pat Robertson , I would vote for Robertson.   I think that answers that of what I think about “what’s his name” in the white house .   Iran is building up it’s nuclear facility , spitting on us and we cave in to these people who if given the chance would anihilate us in the blinking of an eye. As Americans we are so advanced when it comes to building and inventing things  but we are the biggest dummies on earth when it comes to using common sense for our very survival. 

  • George

    If President Truman or President Reagan had been President of the USA , that nuclear facility in Iran would have been  a humongous crater a long time ago.  Anyone with any brains knows that President Mahmoud Amaniacnutjob is going to build a nuclear weapon and his first target will be Israel. He has openly stated he wants Israel destroyed and that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist. Yet because we have such a weakling of a president ——  President Otrauma   ,—– nothing will ever happen as far as military action is concerned and the Iranians know it and that is why they are giving us “the middle finger “.  News reports have confirmed that Russia is helping them complete the facility.  Where do we, the American people think Iran is getting the nuclear material and technology for such a facility  ? It certainly isn’t coming from Syria or Somalia.  It never ceases to amaze me how we as Americans can be so techologically smart and ingenious and yet be such stupid brainwashed fools when it comes to national security, foreign policy, protecting our borders, keeping our economy straight and functioning properly and dealing with the  national threats the way they should be dealt with.  We have nothing but inept misfits  running our country right now and it poses as a clear and present danger to the security and proper functioning of our great society.

  • Ralph

    It would have been in our best interest to pay Iran two million dollars to keep them.

    • George

      Ha ha .     I like that Ralph.  And throw in a bonus on top of that if they keep em in solitary confinement !    President –  Mahmoud Amaniacnutjob is indeed acting just like the  Somalia pirates and he’s the pirate in chief. 

  • Anonymous

    Great work.  Man, whenever I want clarity on conservative issues without the absurdly silly taint of theistic or religious nonsense, I stop at the Atheist Conservative site.
    Thanks for all of the research, clear thinking and articulate expression of ideas.  I do enjoy your work, and the comments of those who comment, as well.

    • George

      You and me both Cheongyei.    It’s so refreshing to be able to share points of view from a conservative perspective without the GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD  and more GOD shoved down our throats perpetually.  Now that the USA paid these savage dirtbags big money for the release of these people , Iran now knows they can make big money by kidnapping  Americans.  Are we suppose to believe that it was just an accident or matter of being lost that they were at the border or across the border in the first place ?   Stupid is what stupid does.  These people showed sympathies toward Iran and we ( or rather THEY )  give a million dollars for their release. If I was president I would say — Keep em !    Oh darn , I forgot ——-Obam is President now , so that answers that question !