There are currently two Americans being held in Iran on charges of spying. Their defense attorney is Iranian and their only diplomatic link with the United States is through Swiss diplomats, because our country has no diplomatic relations with the Republic of Iran.
According to sources including the Associated Press, the two Americans - Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal - have been held since July 31, 2009, when they were detained while hiking. Sarah Shourd, the third detainee, was released on Tuesday after her $500,000 bail was posted. They claim to have been hiking through northern Iraq when they mistakenly crossed the border into Iran. According to Iranian officials, they were spying. Spying, incidentally, is a criminal act pretty much everywhere, carrying a sentence in Iran of 10 years imprisonment. Or execution.
Further complicating matters is Shourd's probable cancer. She was recently released, of course, but that hardly helps anything: she will be tried in absentia and probably convicted. While she will luckily be in America and treated for cancer, Bauer and Fattal will remain in Iran.
Why, exactly, are we not using our military in this situation? I am not advocating an invasion or saying we should topple another Middle Eastern regime. This is just a thought exercise: We are a country who uses military for everything. Declining economy? It's OK, we have the military chutzpah to back us up. Massive flooding? National Guard, go! Is there a regime we don't like that we can tenuously link to 9/11, that we fought a couple years ago and who sort of stuck it to the president's father? Well, time to meet our Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. Our Navy will also bombard you.
So we've established that America is pretty trigger-happy; it's like our national persona. Anyway, we now have a situation wherein a nation with whom we have nothing short of a spiteful relationship is holding our citizens on what seem to be false charges. One of them was arguably released only because she's probably suffering from cancer. And we are doing nothing to level the power of the American military, which happens to be a hop, skip and a jump away, against the Iranian government for the return of our citizens?
Read your passport if you have one. There's a lovely little dedication in there from the Secretary of State that asks any country to help you out, if you need it, with the full backing of your home government - the government of the United States. When you come back through customs from abroad, the customs agent says, "Welcome home," and stamps your passport. It's a great thing.
Now we need to extend our welcome and show that America never forgets her citizens and will not, cannot allow them to be held without care and without aid by a hostile foreign power. We don't need another war, but neither do we need to turn our back on our own people. That, friends, would be un-American.