Thursday, August 06, 2009

Right or Wrong?

I'm as happy as anyone else that journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are home from North Korea after being pardoned and spared 12 years of hard labor in a prison camp. But I think it's crazy that they were in North Korea in the first place. I understand they were gathering material for a story about the trafficking of young N K women into China. Whatever the story is behind that it must be awful and from a moral standpoint needs to be out there. But why take the risk by traveling to a hostile country that the world isn't getting along with right now and that's run by certifiable nut? A country that's threatening to destroy parts of the world with their nuclear capabilities. A country that's considering turning over its government to the 27 year old son of Kim Jong II who has little or no experience at ruling a country. Of course he'll just be a puppet for the real crazies directing the show.
But (I seem to be full of buts today and yes I know you don't start a sentence with the word but) back to Ling and Lee. They traveled to North Korea to gain information for a story for Al Gore's Current TV media venture. Why did he allow them to go, I'm speculating that he knew about the trip, when he aware of the way things are done in that country? Yes, they're adults and can make their own decisions but in the mean time that decision turned into an international incident. Ling apparently has a medical condition, an ulcer and Lee has a 4 year old daughter. Yes, men and women put themselves in danger everyday, firefighters, police officers, our military in Iraq and Afghanistan and many others. I suppose one could argue that they're heroes. They went to North Korea to expose a travesty against women. Many journalists risk their lives for a story they feel strongly about and I thank them for bringing tough issues to our attention. I just feel that Ling and Lee shouldn't have been there. Getting caught brought them horrible consequences. Twelve years of hard labor would be brutal if they even survived it and their families would have suffered. It would've added fuel to the fire in an already shaky relationship with North Korea.
Let me preface this next paragraph. I loved Bill Clinton as our president. There are those who didn't like him at all and voiced that opinion loudly and often. Rush Limbaugh for the biggest example. People that never missed an opportunity to point out a misstep. I thought he did a great job and ran the country well. Do I agree with the whole Monica Lewinski debacle? Absolutely not. He was a hound dog that humiliated his wife and that was wrong; however I can't toss aside all the good he did for our country because of that poor decision. Why do some powerful men think it's okay to do that, I'll chalk it up to ego and character flaw.
Thank you to Bill Clinton who went to North Korea to bring them home. Do I believe that he brokered this whole deal himself? Of course not, many people were behind the scenes with the negotiations. When North Korea didn't want to deal with Gore, Clinton was asked to go. I believe he's a wonderful humanitarian and of course he accepted. Really what choice did he have? But again there will always be someone who will put a certain spin on things. Take Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University's Shrenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center;
he stated that, "the journalists release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United States. Clinton didn't got to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation." Read the full article here.
I guess I don't like the phrase reap the fruits. It makes it sound like Clinton did this just to get credit and to make himself look good. Sneider sounds like a guy who just can't resist giving a little jab. I can't stomach Limbaugh but I'm sure he's on the same bandwagon. But no matter how you feel about Clinton he went there and brought the women home. Like it or not he has the clout and diplomacy to gt the job done.
I'm grateful for our Constitution's Bill of Rights allowing me to be able to express my opinions. The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise or abridging the freedom of speech, the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Despite our current condition, this is a great country in which to live.


Kitten Herder said...

I totally applaud Clinton's going, and I'm certain that he was merely the finishing touch on weeks of negotiations. Clinton was a great president, despite his poor personal choices.

As a humorous aside, some of us were joking (re: Clinton's personal reputation) that perhaps Kim Jong II is a woman, and that's why Clinton was able to secure the transaction.