Will one man’s death be the straw that broke the camel’s back? Monday’s announcement of the death of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier could be just that. It was obvious by President Trump’s announcement how disgusted and upset he was. But it was Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former Vietnam prisoner of war, whose anger resonated.
In a prepared statement about Mr. Warmbier, McCain, the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder. Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime.”
Warmbier, who was convicted for stealing a propaganda poster at a hotel in January 2016, returned home June 13 after reportedly being in a coma for a year. American medical experts were quick to say it was not something that had not begun recently. The North Korean dictatorship never contacted Warmbier’s parents or any American officials until the release to inform them of the young man’s dire straits.
McCain said further in his statement, “North Korea is threatening its neighbors, destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region, and rapidly developing the technology to strike the American homeland with nuclear weapons. Now it has escalated to brutalizing Americans, including three other citizens currently imprisoned in North Korea. The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”
The 22-year-old man died at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Monday afternoon, his family announced. It set off a whirlwind of anger in Washington.
McCain did not take this lightly perhaps from his own wartime experiences. He has been a blunt critic of Kim Jong Un, whom he has described as the “crazy fat kid.” His power and influence in the Senate could be very useful for Trump should he consider this the last straw with the North Korean dictator.