Matthew Miller Revisited: Still a Strange Case

Matthew Miller

It seems our old friend, the ever-enigmatic Matthew Miller, made minor news again last week when, from the safety of U.S. soil, he declared he would rather have stayed in North Korea.  Miller was released by the North Koreans November 8th along with fellow American Kenneth Bae, and both of them were brought back to the United States by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

I’m going to have to admit it right now… when I wrote the first article about Matthew a couple of months ago, he had me scratching my head because I just couldn’t see any rhyme or reason to his actions, much less his intentions.  But now I’m at a loss as to what to think of him at all.  What is it, exactly, that Miller wants?

One thing I noticed is that in my previous article, there is some erroneous information, although it’s what was being reported at the time.  For example, Miller wasn’t arrested as soon as he cleared customs in North Korea.  He had damaged his entry visa while on the flight to Pyongyang “in order to raise eyebrows.”  He was hoping to get himself arrested, but that appeared not to work.  At least not immediately.  He did tell the North Koreans he wanted political asylum, but from all reports, they wanted nothing to do with him; in fact, they tried to convince him to return to the United States.  Miller, however, refused.

Some of Miller’s statements not only don’t make sense, but appear contradictory.  He was seeking political asylum, but yet recently said, “My main fear was that they would not arrest me.”  He elaborated further by telling NK News, “This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the torture, but instead of that I was killed with kindness, and with that my mind folded and the plan fell apart.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound to me like he’s of sound mind.  According to Miller himself, he was curious about North Korea, to the point that he felt he wasn’t getting enough information from documentaries and news stories, so he decided to defect to North Korea.  “I wanted to meet North Korean people face to face in a way that a normal tour would not be enough.  I wanted to just every day sit down with them and have conversations about everything.  I would ask them one question about their country, and they would have a question about mine.”

If these statements by Miller don’t make sense to you, you’re not alone – they don’t make sense to me either.  He went to North Korea because he wanted to meet and talk to people, but he also wanted to get himself arrested and observe the brutal treatment in North Korean prison camps.  Once there, he appealed to the Obama administration to intervene and get him back home to the United States.  And then, to top it all off, now that he’s back, he says he’d rather be in North Korea.  Miller also, incidentally, has a fascination with Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, and he likes steampunk.

I’m not sure Matthew Miller knows just what he wants.  While it’s only good and right that the United States government attempts to help those like Kenneth Bae who have been detained and imprisoned in a hostile country like North Korea, should we have made the same effort for Miller?  I say this because he intentionally got himself detained there to satisfy his own twisted whims.  In addition, getting him out of North Korea cost us, the taxpayers.  What benefit have we seen for our dollars now that he’s back, other than the slap in the face of his recent statement that he would prefer to be back in the DPRK?

From everything I’ve seen and read about Miller, it seems he could benefit from psychiatric help.  I don’t know that he would ever prove to be a dangerous individual, because his demeanor seems quite mild; even mousy, if you want to know the truth.  One strange thought just occurred to me, though.  The only other person I’ve ever heard of that defected to a hostile country, then wanted to return, then later wished he were back there, was Lee Harvey Oswald.  How different everything might have been if we’d never brought him back from the Soviet Union.


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