The New York Times, CNN, and the media in general are all in high dudgeon this morning that Kim Jong-un’s regime “demanded $2 million” before releasing near-death and comatose student Otto Warmbier.
Any payment would have been widely seen as handing over ransom money, running counter to the administration’s stated policy for hostage negotiations.New York Times, April 25, 2019
President Trump responded in a tweet that no money was paid.
Let’s review what happened. The Washington Post reported that Joseph Yun and Dr. Michael Flueckiger traveled to Pyongyang to retrieve Warmbier. After the doctor examined the young man, the North Koreans started their normal shenanigans.
North Korean officials asked the doctor to write a report about his findings. “It was my impression that if I did not give them a document that I could sign off on, that would cause problems,” Flueckiger said in an interview.
The doctor said he might have lied in his report to get Warmbier home, but found that the North Koreans appeared to have their medical show in order. In other words, they managed to present a near-corpse to the doctor, but free of wounds or bedsores, and with the appearance of having life-saving medical equipment around.
Then they handed Yun and Dr. Flueckiger a bill for $2 million. What’s a doctor specializing in medical evacuations supposed to do with that? So Yun called the State Department, and Secretary Tillerson called President Trump.
Let’s say it wasn’t Tillerson and Trump, but Clinton and Obama. Let’s say Obama told Yun to approve the bill. The media would be in joyful ecstasy over it, like they were when five terrorists were traded for a deserter soldier.
Any president would have told Yun to do whatever he had to do to get Warmbier on that plane and home. It is the human thing to do when confronted with a nation that values and promotes lying in all forms. The North Koreans had no expectation the bill would be paid, only that the U.S. might one day be humiliated by accepting it.
It’s no humiliation to bring the young Warmbier home for a proper chance at survival and to be with his family. His death is a horrendous violation of human rights by a regime that cares nothing for the concept or for the value of life.
That President Trump ignored the bill is also what any president would do. I suppose Obama might have paid it, who knows? But we do know that Kim Jong-un never brought it up in his two meetings with President Trump. So the North Koreans don’t particularly care about the $2 million.
What’s so disingenuous here is how the media is reacting. They are so eager to scream “gotcha!” because their hero Obama paid $400 million to Iran, in the middle of the night, in European currencies, piled neatly on pallets, for the release of two American hostages. Whether it was technically “Iran’s money” or not is of no account. The Iranians now have the money, and we had control of it.
No, not any president would have done that deal.
Not any president would have traded the Taliban Five for deserter Bowe Bergdahl, then had Bergdahl’s father stand in the Rose Garden the next day and recite Arabic, and give him a hug, while soldiers who risked their lives to retrieve Bergdahl were sickened by the scene.
This story cancels itself out because if Trump had not okayed the medical bill and Warmbier died in captivity in North Korea, the media would have excoriated the president for letting it happen. Because no president would have let it happen. Now that the fact of the $2 million phony medical bill is out, the same media is excoriating Trump for agreeing to it, even though any president would have done the same thing.
And we wonder why Americans don’t trust anything the media says.