It isn’t often that Salon gets something right, but this time, they did:
This might be America’s biggest idiot frat boy: Meet the UVa student who thought he could pull a prank in North Korea
Coerced into an international crime, perhaps as a secret-society prank. Great move, Otto Frederick Warmbier
By Brendan Gauthier | Wednesday, March 2, 2016 11:37 AM EDT
“Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore last night dissected the case of Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who’s been held in North Korea since January on charges of “acts of hostility against the state.”
Warmbier was arrested at the Pyongyang airport on January 2 for allegedly stealing a propaganda piece from his hotel with the intent to sell it as a “trophy” back in the states.
“What were you expecting? Some Spring Break spot with a bunch of strip clubs?” Wilmore said. “Because North Korea’s version of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ is just middle-age women eating full rations of oatmeal.”
“North Korea isn’t a playground for college pranks, Kim Jong-un isn’t a fictional character from a Seth Rogen movie, and Pyongyang isn’t some game you play with Coors Light and Solo cups,” Wilmore continued. “It’s just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears.”
Let me be clear about this: Brendan Gauthier and Salon are scum, and Mr Gauthier’s article is repugnant. He has taken the assumption that Mr Warmbier was somehow ‘coerced’ into his ‘prank’ as some sort of initiation test for the University of Virginia’s secretive Z Society. But in his laying Mr Warmbier’s fate at Mr Warmbier’s feet, he told the cold, hard truth.
The bigger problem wasn’t that Mr Warmbier may or may not have stolen a propaganda poster; the biggest problem was that he was stupid enough to go to North Korea in the first place.
Mr Warmbier was not the first American to be held as a hostage, and a bargaining chip, by North Korea; this has been something they’ve been doing for a lot longer than Kim Jong-un has been the ‘Supreme Leader.’ And every American ought to know that going to North Korea is not only risking himself as a potential hostage, but is putting the security of the United States at risk, by giving the Norks a weapon to use against the United States.
Nina Bookout of The Victory Girls wrote:
Many people are going to want to blame somebody…ANYBODY…for Otto’s death. But the plain truth of it is, the North Korean government is the one to blame. They didn’t have to make an example of that young man the way that they did. They could’ve and should’ve just made him leave the country. Instead they chose to thumb their noses at the United States and ‘make an example’ out of this young man.
What did the Obama Administration do? Nothing. And they ALSO told the Warmbier family to keep their mouths shut because doing otherwise would make the Norks mad.
Cameron Blount, ΠΚΑ at Indiana State University, tweeted:
Otto Warmbier's death is yet another reminder of the former administration's failures to protect Americans in distress overseas
— ©AM€®ON™ (@CameronBlount1) June 19, 2017
Regular readers know that I am no fan of President Obama, but if the Obama Administration did nothing to get Mr Warmbier released, then they did the right thing. If the Obama Administration did not get Mr Warmbier released, then it means that they didn’t give up anything to North Korea to get him released, and that was wise, if nevertheless cold-hearted, policy.
The Trump Administration needs to announce that any American stupid enough to go to North Korea (or Iran, for that matter) is on his own! The North Koreans can use Americans as hostages and bargaining chips only if we are willing to bargain with them for those hostages. Americans who go willingly to North Korea are setting themselves us as possible weapons to be used against American policy.
Am I being hard-hearted with this? Yup, sure am! But I’m also telling you the truth.