How do you ignore stupidity? For two years, first three American hikers – later reduced to two – were held in Iran accused of spying. First, the Iranians are stupid (we knew that already) thinking that three young Americans wandering around the Iranian countryside could find out anything valuable. Standing out like a sore thumb. certainly they could not blend in and pass among the natives. Obviously they were lost. I can relate, having gotten lost on the property adjacent to my farm while following a blood trail while bow hunting. I now carry both a compass and a GPS in my backpack. I am assuming that these hikers somehow forgot their GPS. The basic question is what were they doing hiking near the Iranian border in the first place? I can think of thousands of places of great hikes that are nowhere near Iran. So it is hard to think that these three didn’t know what they were doing. Perhaps they were mindless thrill seekers. The cynic in me says that they knew exactly what they were doing and will now try to cash in with TV appearances and book deals. We have just gotten a taste of their grandstanding in their weepy blasting of the Iranians for their treatment during detention. It almost makes you feel sorry for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The money they are paid should be forwarded to reimburse the costs incurred by their sheer stupidity. They should be sent a bill for all the costs incurred trying to get them out of jail. I have no idea what the total costs were but the $1 million ransom paid to the Iranians would be just a start.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com