Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the leftist American hikers who unwittingly ventured across the Iran/Iraq border and were convicted of espionage and imprisoned for two years in Iran, have been freed – and at a press conference Sunday, revealed that they were none the wiser for their ordeal.
They indulged in some moral equivalence: “Two years in prison is too long, and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in America and Iran.” They assured the right-thinking world that their hearts (obviously not their minds) were in the right place: said Bauer, “The irony is Sarah [another hiker who was freed earlier], Josh and I oppose U.S. policies towards Iran which perpetuate this hostility.”
They thanked some of the world’s leading enemies of freedom and Useful Idiots for fighting for their freedom, including Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, limousine leftist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Code Pink’s manipulative propagandist Cindy Sheehan, hard-Left America-hating pseudo-scholar Noam Chomsky, and the addle-brained actor/activist Sean Penn.
Bauer appeared to be on the verge of an independent thought when he said: “We were convicted of espionage, because we are American. It’s that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us. That is because there is no evidence and because we are completely innocent.” But any hope that he might realize that the Iranian hostility toward the United States is similarly irrational and unjustified proved unfounded. For above all, Bauer said: “The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran.”
The “only explanation”? Really? Well, actually in other remarks Bauer made it clear that he thought that America was more culpable than Iran: “In prison, every time we complained about our conditions, the guards would immediately remind us of comparable conditions at Guantanamo Bay. They would remind us in other parts of the world and the conditions that Iranians and others experience in prisons in the U.S. We do not believe such human rights violations on the part of our government justify what has been done to us. Not for a moment. However, we do believe these actions on the part of the U.S. provide an excuse for other governments, including the government of Iran to act in kind.”
It is clear from this that Shane Bauer, like Barack Obama, Ron Paul and so many others on all points along the political spectrum, believes that the actions of the United States provoke Muslims to behave badly, and that if the U.S. would only behave decently, then the Muslims would calm down, and a new era of peace would dawn. While this view is common among followers of Paul on the Right, it is much more prevalent on the Left, and indeed forms the underlying assumption of all of Obama’s foreign policy.
The bitterly ironic aspect of this assumption is its underlying paternalism. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, as well as Barack Obama, no doubt regard the nineteenth century British colonialist notion of the “White Man’s Burden” to civilize nonwhite peoples as racist, arrogant, and ethnocentric; nonetheless, they hold to a modern-day form of the same racist, arrogant and ethnocentric notion.
In Shane Bauer’s world, as bad as the Iranian government is, it is only bad because it is reacting to the evil actions of the U.S. government. This assumes that the Iranians are passive reactors who cannot formulate any decisions or take any actions of their own; they can only react to the actions of the Americans. If the Americans treat them unjustly, they will in turn act unjustly also, but they ultimately hold no responsibility for their actions. Only the Americans have any such responsibility.
The idea that the Iranian government might have hated and mistreated him and his friends for reasons of their own, unconnected to anything the U.S. government had done or could do, never seems to have occurred to Bauer. The possibility that the Islamic contempt and hatred for unbelievers, and the jihad that is prescribed for Muslims to wage against those unbelievers, might have been a motivating factor in his abduction, show trial, and imprisonment, doesn’t seem to have entered Bauer’s mind for a moment – even as he subsisted on bread and water and paced around his cell in Tehran. The possibility that even if the American government had behaved with perfect and utterly unimpeachable rectitude toward Iran, the Iranians still would have abducted, imprisoned and tortured him, appears inconceivable to Bauer.
And so it is clear that Shane Bauer is not only suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and identifying with his captors; he is also a racist and Western supremacist of the first order, holding the benighted Third-World Iranians utterly free of responsibility for how they treated him, for after all – he essentially said – what else can one expect from such people?
If Shane Bauer took realistic stock of what happened to him over the last two years, he would accord his captors more respect than that. He would grant them the respect of being thoughtful agents who could do more than simply react to the actions of the U.S. (and, presumably, the Zionist Entity). He would throw off the unconscious paternalism of the Left and excoriate the Iranians for pursuing their jihad against America even against unarmed and obviously innocent Useful Idiot leftist hikers.
But his press conference on Sunday showed no sign that such an awakening was in the offing.