- They were spies.
- Mr. Bauer was a freelance journalist working on a story about the elections in Kurdistan.
- Mr. Bauer and Mr. Fattal were intensely curious about the entire Middle East and were willing to be live-off-the-land travelers to satisfy and insatiable quest for knowledge and understanding.
Cut them all the slack you want. Okay, they lived in Syria and somehow supported themselves. It was time to go out on a knowledge quest. Ms. Shourd had a week off from her teaching duties, so why not. Choices, among others:
- Saudi Arabia
Hmm. As the crow flies from Damascus, where they were living, to the point in Kurdistan where they were nabbed, it looks to be about 1,000 miles. In that part of the world, traveling that far is, well, hard. It's not like they have interstates. It's not like you can get a Eurailpass. And for a week?
A hike in Kurdistan was the agreed-on best option?
Back to the title: What in the hell were they doing there, anyway?