I've kind of/ sort kept an eye on the story of the three Americans who were held by Iran for the past few years after they, apparently, strayed over the Iranian border whilst out for their morning constitutional. I, too, had been concerned for the welfare of my fellow Americans caught in a potentially deadly situation playing out on a global scale. But, I admit, my sympathy for the situation dropped significantly when I figured out today that the three had been hiking the Iranian/ Iraqi border. To which I say:
How has this not been a part of the story? Why is this buried several paragraphs down in every article where the information actually does appear in some form other than "hiking along the Iranian border"?
I guess I know now why the Iranians thought our friends may have been up to no-good shenanigans. Hell, I'm not sure I don't believe they were up to something.
But I keep looking for stories that more fully explain how one decides to take holiday in Iraq any time in the last, oh, 30 years. And then decides, just to mix it up, to go hiking right along the border with Iran. As if they just missed the part that you might be right on the border with Iran.
I don't know if these were just some really sweet, naive, dumb kids with more money than brains (in this article the hikers talk about how they'd opposed US policy toward Iran, which I guess they thought protected them with unicorn friendship power?), or what on Earth would have put them in that situation in the first place.
Anyway, Your Unky League is here with some TRAVEL ADVICE!
Kids, your Unky League suggests that before you decide to go a-travellin', if the mention of your destination draws horrified stares and makes your parents cry a little, you may want to just re-route to Santa Fe this year. We recommend that before you decide you'd really like to visit a place because you've heard a whole lot about it on the news, check with the State Department's "Travel Warnings" and "Travel Advisories". They even have a web page!
Yes, the US State Department puts literally hours each year into keeping their website up to date with places you may not want to visit, in case you somehow cannot understand terms like "warlords", "cartel", "insurgents", "cruel dictatorship", "genocide", "fatwa against all Americans", "hates Americans", "going to kill you, torture you or use you in game of international political chess in which you are a disposable pawn" and "dismemberment".
Your magical powers of positive thinking may be working wonders for getting that mulching bin going, but it may not have the same effect upon a surly foot soldier with a Kalashnikov who doesn't understand that you eat only free range chicken.
Perhaps it takes away from the story our friends in the media are trying to tell if they must point out that the poor, suffering Americans were doing something just really, really dumb. But I might be misunderstanding the situation, so, please... if you have any information as to how a brisk walk along the Iranian/ Iraqi border is actually really a good idea for all Americans, fill me in. I'd love to know.