UPDATE 21 JUL 09: The captured American soldier depicted in this Taliban video has since been identified - Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. He is going through Hell, of course. While Bowe's family and friends go through their personal sort of living Hell, the following stories of Americans held captive overseas have faded from the front pages:
By now most of you have seen this Taliban propaganda video of an unamed American soldier, missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan June 30 and later confirmed captured. The soldier's identity has not yet been confirmed by Dept of Defense, pending notification of the soldier's family. U.S. defense officials confirmed that the man in the video is the captured soldier.
Rest assured the United States is on a full-court press to recover our soldier. Think of him as you enjoy your Sunday morning round of golf, or fishing. Remember him in your prayers at church, or temple.
Our prayers are with him.
MEANWHILE . . .
Two American journalists are still being held by North Korea.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee work for Al Gore’s California-based Current TV media group.
The two Americans were detained near the North Korean border with China and were sentenced last month to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally and for “hostile acts.” North Korean officials may have been angered at the journalists for trying to produce a program critical of North Korea.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee, you are not forgotten.
North Korea may spare the US journalists from hard labor, but the two women still face awful conditions. Even if they have not yet been sent to a labor camp, they are no doubt being subjected to early morning wake up calls, daily interrogation / "re-education" sessions (that go on for unbelievable lengths of time, well into the night), minimal food of poor nutritional value, and every facet of their daily lives controlled. The worst could possibly be the stress and anxiety accompanying the fear of the unknown.
News is difficult to get out of the world's most isolated and repressed society. Their exact whereabouts remain unknown; the latest I was able to glean from open-source is that North Korea has delayed sending the two American journalists to prison labor camp.
North Korean labor camps are notorious: the horrific conditions rival that of the Third Reich, or the torture factories of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Possibly hundreds of thousands of North Koreans face starvation, filth, disease, hard labor, exposure to the elements, daily "re-education" torture sessions, summary executions and anonymous graves.
Click here to learn how you can help Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
The Korean peninsula by night.