A reader writes:
I am happy for Sarah Shourd and her family, and hope that she is able to get her health issues addressed quickly. I'm sure this has been a terrible ordeal for all involved, including the families of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. However, these three adults showed extremely poor judgment in choosing to hike in Iraq in the first place – during a war no less – and were warned specifically against hiking in the area where they eventually crossed into Iran. The response of the Iranian government has been excessive, but is anyone surprised at this? I have a hard time viewing them entirely as victims.
This story really drives home the arrogance of a lot Americans on the world stage.
Some people feel they have the right to go anywhere they want because they are Americans – and what they want, they get. I think they feel that if they get into trouble, the U.S. government will come to their rescue. However, look at what this has done. It is an international incident with a lot of repercussions. How much influence and political capital was spent just getting this one hiker out of jail? When we travel abroad we should be respectful of other countries and their traditions.
I wish the American media would call the proverbial spade a spade. The idea that Shourd was released on "bail" is absurd. A release on bail conveys that the released prisoner will remain in the jurisdiction and appear for trial. This wasn't "bail"; it was ransom.
Gary Sick puts her release in greater context:
Ahmadinejad is coming to New York for his annual media circus at the UN General Assembly. He usually pulls off some stunt just before he arrives, thereby giving himself a blaze of media attention and perhaps arming him with a talking point about Iran’s “humane” behavior. That is useful in responding to questions and charges that are sure to arise in the back-to-back “exclusive” interviews that his staff has been arranging for the past several months with every possible media outlet in New York.