From Freed Journalists Return to U.S. in the NY Times:
“Thirty hours ago, Euna Lee and I were prisoners in North Korea,” Ms. Ling said in brief remarks to reporters, blinking back tears. “We feared that at any moment we could be prisoners in a hard labor camp. Then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. We were taken to a location and when we walked through the doors, we saw standing before us President Bill Clinton.”
One could imagine a chart of the possible range of human experiences from negative to positive circa 2009; near one end would be “prisoners in a North Korean hard labor camp” and near the other, “personal meeting with President Bill Clinton”.
Update: Christopher Hitchens says that Clinton’s trip did little but gratify and flatter Kim Jong-il.
The Kim Jong-il gang was always planning to release them. They were arrested in order to be let go and were maintained in releasable shape until the deal could be done. Does this not — or should this not — slightly qualify and dilute our joy in seeing them come home? Does the Dear Leader not say to himself, That was easy? Are the North Korean people not being assured, through their megaphone media, that the sun shines so consistently out of the rear end of their celestial boss that even powerful U.S. statesmen will appear at the airport to bring apologies, pay tribute, and receive custody of uninvited guests in the workers’ paradise?