Saturday, July 11, 2009


Last month, American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp in North Korea after being found guilty of crossing the border illegally and committing "hostilities" against the nation.
In response, the U.S. attempted to use the usual arrogant, bully approach towards the situation, hoping Jong Il Kim would somehow back down in response. At no time did anyone admit to their crime, only the unfairness of the situation. This did nothing. Nothing because what was left unsaid was the obvious....they were guilty. It wasn't as if they were illegally captured in Seoul. The two journalists were reporting a story on human trafficking near (and apparently across) the North Korean border when they were captured. Ling has reported from Haiti, Vietnam, China and Turkey. This was Lee's first international assignment.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asked North Korea's government to grant amnesty to the two journalists from San Francisco's Current TV imprisoned there, a move analysts say may open the diplomatic door for the journalists' release. Clinton added that "everyone is sorry" for what happened, while one of the journalists, Laura Ling, told a family member in a phone conversation this week that "we broke the law" when they entered North Korea. Hmmm...a contrite apology and admission of guilt.....this may work. Asking for amnesty treats North Korea like a sovereign nation as it craves international recognition, while "very sorry" implies an apology that allows the North Koreans to save face.
Truth is, these two reporters, for all of the outcries from their friends and supporters, have put this nation in a terrible position; of having to go hat in hand for mercy on their behalf in front of one of the worst (and arguably most powerful) dictator in the world at present.
Should these two reporters gain some charity on the behest of the Korean government and gain their releases, I believe the U.S. government should be prepared to carry out their sentences here, with chances for parole after two years served. In this way, the world will see that should this situation happen again in the future, they can count on us to see the criminals will not go free on our soil once they get back, and might consider deportation to the U.S. to serve out their sentences.
And yes, when saying that I am referring to the Amanda Knox "party girl from hell" murder trial currently going on in Italy, a trial where Ms. Knox might get a life sentence for murder without any smoking gun, or testimony from so much as a credible witness. In that trial they have already found the perpetrator guilty, a loser named Rudy Guede, who months after his conviction has now implicated Ms. Knox, necessitating her trial, which is on going.
In any case, the tact taken by Ms. Ling, and the request made by Secretary of State Clinton is the correct one, one of an admission of guilt, and request for leniency by their home country. What a change from the Bush administration, giving us all hope for their release. I hope North Korea takes the chance to gain a little good press to go with the condemnation they have received over their test missile adventures, and I hope all Americans visiting abroad learn a valuable lesson....obey the laws of the countries you are visiting.

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