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« Cesareo Capriles’ legacy Part IV: To die free of pageantry | Main | Free the Hikers: Month Two Vigil »

August 19, 2009

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Gotta say this. First, I feel very badly for he FAMILIES of these people. Second, the hikers were warned numerous times by people around them along the way - DON'T HIKE THERE. Why did they continue? The only thing I can think of is reckless abandon. I don't think that we should spend political capital on people when it would be better spent on other people who end up in a bad situation by no foolish doings of their own.

Where did you get the information that they were told "numerous times" not to hike there? I haven't heard that at all. And knowing them, they don't act with reckless abandon, they are serious, responsible people.

They were asking for it. They got what they asked for. When they finally do return to the states they will write books and make lots of money. I have as much pity for them as our border guards and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps have on those who cross our borders. Hell I bet they got rich enough families and friends to convince Clinton to make a visit to bail their lame asses out anyway.

Oh, also they didn't need to be told "numerous times" not to hike there. They knew they were in a country that we invaded without provocation and they knew they were on or near the border of a country that is strict anti-US (and that the US is also against) during a time of escalating confrontation.

hahah and they just went trolloping through both countries like they were at Tilden Park.

Idiots!!!!!!!....I mean really stupid....
Darwin would have a lot to say about this type of behavior.

It is my understanding that they had a Guide leading them, and the Guide led them to the location they were apprehended.
Regardless, they didn't do anything wrong, were not "spying" for any government.
jwil

I do hope for their speedy and safe return but why were these serious responsible people acting in such an irresponsible way?

I like hiking

who the fuck hikes thought a war zone??

THEY NEED TO FREE THE HIKERS. SO THEY CAN COME HOME TO THERE FAMILIES SO FREE THEM.

I don't care what their reasons were for being in Kurdistan. What we have is a case of three naive, reckless adults who thought they were in a safe region of Iraq, which by the way happens to be extremely safe in comparison to the rest of Iraq -- might as well be an entirely different country. I've been to the worst places in Iraq and know how people in that country operate and think. What these kids fell prey to is the common mistake made by a lot Westerners operating in Iraq, and that is "these are my friends" and they had a false sense of security. You see smiles and hear kind words and you start to think that the locals you've met like you and would do you no harm. The reality often times is the locals will turn on you in a heartbeat and often do it with a smile. I'm going out on a limb -- what probably happened to these three is whoever took them to the border to go hiking set them up. Iranian intelligence is well entrenched in Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised if Iranians knew about these kids before they even set out to go hiking the day they were captured, and that their capture was planned and coordinated with the locals who took them on their hike. How come there isn't anything about their tour guide being detained? Their tour guide probably receive cash for taking them to a predetermined location near the border where they could be nabbed. The Iranians saw a great opportunity to gain some Americans to use as negotiating leverage, not to mention to embarrass us.

I feel sorry for the families. I don't feel sorry for the three hikers. The three should feel sorry that they were idiots and are putting their friends and family through hell because they decided to go traipsing along the Iranian border; really, how naive or dumb can you be? Next time take a map and a Garmin.

it shows Iran is a non forgiving place and they like making bombs- how can we soften power hungry hearts?

Brian and Andrew are incredibly racist. They have no sympathy for three people of color who were simply hiking through the mountains and accidentally wandered into a foreign country.

Typical white "liberals". Racist to the bone and even more brazen about it then their conservative brethren.

This is beyond reason. I mean it.
I have been in Iraq in uniform.
These three are either working for the government or against it.
Period. And if you don't think so go back to your crack pipe.

I, too, feel sorry for the families of these 3. The families are the innocent victims in this soap opera.

Really, what American goes hiking through one of the most unstable/ American hating parts of the world 'for fun' ?

And now we're supposed to feel sorry for them because they were just three friends on vacation. Whatever.


For what it's worth, I feel compelled to respond to some comments here.

Malik, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but Sarah and Shane are white.

MsP and Johnny 5, they were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is a pro-American, semi-autonomous region. It is a peaceful increasingly popular with international tourists. In fact the BBC just did a special on it as a tourist destination.

My friends are good, honest, innocent people who simply enjoy traveling and seeing different parts of the world.

People should read up on the situation before making uninformed comments about it: http://www.freethehikers.org.

Considering the state of the world today, the 3 hikers were foolish to enter into the area/country. There has to be a safer place to hike!!! I sympathize with the families but I have no sympathy for the hikers........sorry. I didn't get to my age (61) by wreckless actions......

Wow some of you all are either total pricks or just enjoy hating on others. Its true that this region of Iraq is basically secluded from the rest of the country otherwise i don't think it would be possible that its growing as a tourist destination. Regardless if they were American nobody goes on vacation to a war zone so you can throw reckless abandonment out the window. The only mistake i see they could have made was in trusting the tour guide (which cant necessarily be considered a mistake, he's a tour guide) and hiking in an area so close to the border of the apparently insane Iranian's. I can only hope that the majority of citizens of that country aren't as messed up as their current leader which is probably what alot of countries thought about us not to long ago. Nonetheless, these young men and women posed absolutely no threat and should have been released shortly after being detained. This simply shows how ingnorant Iran's current government is and that they can not be treated as a normal industrialized country.

these three hikers are older than many of our soldiers who are being killed or wounded-if they had such an urge for adventure, why didn't they join the services? why do we have to use political capital to, once again, save their hides.
It is an incredible sense of entitlement that seems to repeat itself.

As things continue and the hikers are still detained, its interesting too see comments and follow the story.

I would hope that along with the calls to free the hikers, a moment is spent to reflect on the many many Muslim and Iranians who have been and are still detained by America, without evidence... most of whom never came anywhere near a border. Its acts like this which make negotiations to free these hikers much more complex and difficult. And that was the point many have tried to make for years and years.

While true, anyone familiar with Shane (a great writer and freelance journalist) and some of the things he's written will take the idea that it was a naive, innocent "hike" and nothing else with a grain of salt, one thing remains a standout fact. The three were unlikely any threat to Iranian security. They were, unfortunately, in a fairly unsafe area, regardless of claims that it is "safer" (emphasis on the "er").

Ufortunately, they have now become bargaining chips for a country that has had a bone to pick with America for some time. Partly because we have made a bad habit out of doing the same thing to their citizens, and have been much less humane to them while in detention, imo.

No one lives in a bubble. The idea that is spread by some that "all Iraqi's will turn you over for money with a smile" is a generalization. It is quite clear there are Americans posting on this very page who would do the very same thing to Iraqi's. Its not hard to see that many Iraqi's who would do that probably have a dead or tortured family member on their mind they watched brutally beaten or shot, some accidental, some not. It always amazes me that the people talking about Iraqi's in that way who have been there, seen it with their own eyes, fail to connect the dots as to why the Iraqis are this way.

Take a minute and read http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090622/bauer

It just so happens it was written by one of the detainees, Shane Bauer. Now imagine that going on in your backyard or in your own house for that matter. With the attitudes I see expressed above, I have a hard time believing you folks who have "been there and seen it" would react much differantly than many Iraqis.

There are far more good ppl in Iraq than bad. Most are simply trying to cope and survive in a climate similar to the gestapo fear in Nazi times. It drives ppl to all levels of inhumane acts, but also drives others to incredible levels of sacrifice. So save the generalizations. We created the instability and power vacuum that started the whole mess. If yuo can't see the similarities between yourself and your "enemy", for good or bad, yuo're better off climbing into your "non-American proof" bunker and dyiing of old age waiting for Jesus to return.

That said, on the topic of the 3 friends, and all others unjustly detained. I wish the best for them and hope they are treated with respect and dignity while the issues larger than themselves are sorted out.

You want to play with fire? You'll probably get burned. I feel sorry for the families. The hikers were stupid. There are a thousand other places they could have picked as a "tourist destination".


Yes, I agree they should be released, that their location when captured has been blown out of proportion; As i feel most Americans feel, BUT, That someone could be so stupid is beyond me; Did they think that since they'd been there awhile they felt comfortable?
I'm not surprised this happened, I'm just surprised at their stupidity.

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