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Freed Journalists Lead to Embrace!

I didn’t watch the triumphant homecoming of Laura Ling and Euna Lee…the two journalists who were jailed in North Korea, since March.

The TV was playing in the background so I know they arrived.

I’m sure their relatives, friends, employers are happy to see them and I would too, in their place.

What I care about right now is bringing home military personnel captured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m all for evacuating nationals when there’s a disaster, a coup, a plague etc. And I don’t like it, either, when fellow journalists get captured on the job. We expect these journalists to take risks, to get up close and dodge bullets so those of us at home can know what’s happening in these remote locations.

My struggle is: (1) How indebted should your country be to you when you break another country’s rules, enter forbidden territory and knowingly take risks? We lose out when journalists are not there, taking those risks, but how far should they go – how far do we want/expect them to go? Are they working for the country – or their network? Don’t they often get more money and greater prestige the more risks they take? It’s nice when the government steps in…but should it always?

(2) Whom do we treat as “real” journalists? New York Times reporters? What if it’s a blogger, who may or may not be a journalist…like me?

In listening to the commentary about the freed journalists, some people say this just gives countries like North Korea the leverage to act badly and get rewarded with a high profile visit from a powerhouse like former president Bill Clinton. They claim it will embolden the Irans of the world to try similar stunts.

To me, all this attention, diplomacy, time and money spent negotiating these releases (plane was paid for privately) should now be focussed on military personnel who are missing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

23-year-old Bowe Bergdahl, disappeared from his base in Afghanistan (July 2009), and was later seen in a Taliban video posted online. Bergdahl was serving with an infantry regiment at Fort Richardson in Anchorage. Where is he?

Dianne Feinstein, of course (the Senator from California) speaking as a politician, says: American citizens are in trouble overseas – we must rescue American citizens in trouble overseas? Really? If Americans go to China and take part in anti-government protests that the Chinese say is illegal, and officials sweep them up, we must rescue them, too? Where does it stop?

If religious people rush to Iraq to impose their version of God on the Muslims, and are arrested, should we go free them? I think Jesus will come and free them, since they’re doing his work, not the state’s…and if he doesn’t free them, like he did for Paul, (and Silas, Acts 16:25-28) then he either (a) just doesn’t support what they’re doing and couldn’t care less or (b) it’s his will that they sit in that prison and convert the prisoners.

On the other hand:

Why don’t we just say it’s a game we’re playing with whichever country happens to be holding the hostages, and that even if it was Ronald McDonald, we’d want him back!?

If we manage, through our offensives – charm or military – to free hostages, then it looks like we’ve won! AND, if it brings North Korea to the negotiating table, then send strategic “hostages” to every troublesome corner of the globe! I’ll support that!

One U.S. official says President Clinton talked to North Koreans about the “positive things that could flow” from freeing the two women”. Some analysts apparently think now that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has gotten his high-profile visit from a former president (he didn’t want a former VICE-president, and turned Al Gore down) that could open the way to direct nuclear disarmament talks.

Plus, it was worth it to see Gore embrace Clinton.

Guess he’s not mad about his lost election anymore!

A tale of Two Women

TWO WOMEN made national news this week.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and ex-Alaska republican governor Sarah Palin.

Let’s compare what they said, where they were and what they’ve been up to since the last election…in their own words!

HILARY CLINTON: Travels around the globe pushing President Obama’s foreign policy goals. Just returned from: Asia, where she attended a meeting of leaders from ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Appeared on: NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday. Talked about a range of issues.

Kicked North Korea’s butt. “their behavior is not going to be rewarded. In the past they believe that they have acted out, done things which really went against the norms of the international community and somehow then were rewarded. Those days are over”.

Working to release American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, being held in N. Korea: America is “certainly pursuing every lead we have. The messages that we’ve received from the young women both through our protecting power, the Swedish ambassador, and through the messages and phone calls they’ve had with their families are that they’re being treated well, that they have been given the supplies that they need“.

On a Nuclear Umbrella in Middle East: “if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it’s unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won’t be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon…We believe as a matter of policy it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.”

Championed Healthcare: “the chances that businesses will continue to pay for insurance over the next five, 10, 15 years are diminishing. I think, if I remember correctly, in ’93 and ’94, 61 percent of small businesses provided some kind of health insurance for their employees. It’s down to 38 percent.”

Running for president: “It is daunting. And it is, you know, probably a path that doesn’t appeal to a lot of women even in elective office, because it is so difficult. But I am convinced–and I don’t know if she’s in elective office right now or if she’s preparing to run for office–but there is a woman who I am hoping will be able to achieve that”.


SARAH PALIN: Has visited some states to Speak and Campaign for Republicans. Just returned from: Wasilla. Appeared in: Fairbanks, Alaska. Talked about a range of issues.

Kicked media butt. “some in the media because another right protected for all of us is freedom of the press, and you all have such important jobs reporting facts and informing the electorate, and exerting power to influence. You represent what could and should be a respected honest profession that could and should be the cornerstone of our democracy. Democracy depends on you, and that is why, that’s why our troops are willing to die for you. So, how ’bout in honor of the American soldier, ya quit makin’ things up”.

Working to ensure Holywood doesn’t hijack Alaskan way of life: “got to stiffen your spine to do what’s right for Alaska when the pressure mounts, because you’re going to see anti-hunting, anti-second amendment circuses from Hollywood…they use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets, they use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-second amendment causes. Stand strong…and by the way, Hollywood needs to know, we eat, therefore we hunt.”

 Touted accomplishments in office, including Ethics Reform: “We promised it, and now it is the law. Ironically, it needs additional reform to stop blatant abuse from partisan operatives, and I hope the lawmakers will continue that reform“.

And Alaskan ruggedness: “remember we sported the old bumper sticker that said, “Alaska. We Don’t Give a Darn How They Do It Outside?” Do you remember that? I remember that, and remember it was because we would be different”. Why she’s leaving Office? For Alaska! “It is because I love Alaska this much…that I feel it is my duty to avoid the unproductive, typical, politics as usual, lame duck session in one’s last year in office. How does that benefit you? No, with this decision now, I will be able to fight even harder for you, for what is right, for truth. And I have never felt like you need a title to do that“.

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