April 03, 2007

Lesson Unlearned

"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

--Winston Churchill, Harrow School, 29 October 1941

Oh, how the mighty have fallen:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Iran on Tuesday that his government would have to take increasingly tough decisions if 15 captive sailors are not quickly released.

Iran captured 15 of Britain's sailors and marines and then paraded them in front of cameras repeatedly for propaganda purposes in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners, and all Blair can muster are more empty, spineless rhetoric.

John Derbyshire takes the deliberately provacative stance that:

I certainly think that those British captives who have let themselves be put forward on Iranian TV, that woman wearing a headscarf, and the young man apologizing to the Iranian gangster-rulers, should be court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they get back to Blighty, with shooting definitely an option.

If Derbyshire is to shoot all those who were derelict in their duties, he should be sure to bring along enough ammunition to dispatch a substantial portion of the chain of command of the British Navy and the Blair government itself. All were, and continue to be, abject failures in dealing with a crisis that they allowed to occur.

The simple fact of the matter is that Iran was the aggressor, and the British Navy, acting under orders from Blair's government, were the enablers. Iran is clearly to blame for the kidnapping, but Blair's government allowed the kidnapping to take place when it had the means and the ability to blow the Iranian pirate fleet out of the water, if it only had the fortitude and sense of self preservation to do so.

I don't agree with Blair's spinelessness, any more than I agree with his fellow countryman Patrick Cockburn taking the coward's way out, blaming the United States for the kidnapping (a story that is a mish-mash of old information and unsupported conjecture).

This isn't the first Iranian attempt to capture western Coalition soldiers to use as bargaining chips. Cockburn's uninformed speculation that the British soldiers were kidnapped in response to U.S. forces capturing Iranian operatives in Iraq is flatly, factually wrong; Iranian forces ventured into Iraq in an attempt to capture U.S forces back in September, well in advance of the Iranian operatives' arrest that Cockburn says is the trigger for the kidnapping. What is criminal is that the British Navy were aware of the attempt in September, and another attempt to kidnap American soldiers during a raid on Karbala that saw five U.S soldiers killed, and did not take any obvious steps to protect their soldiers, sailors and marines before the attack, did nothing during the attack, and has done nothing since except utter empty rhetoric.

No, the United States is not remotely responsible for the capture of these 15 Britons. Iran is responsible for the brazen attempt, invading 1.5 miles into Iraqi waters to attempt the kidnapping, and the British are responsible for letting a much weaker foe steal their personnel without even attempting to defend them.

Cockburn wishes to blame others for his countrymen's kidnapping. Perhaps he should focus less on assigning blame to others, and recognize that the problem plaguing Britain is the inaction, lack of a sense of self preservation, and lack of honor of the British people themselves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 3, 2007 09:51 AM

I cannot express how distressed I have been with the response of the British in kidnapping of naval personnel, I really expected much more from Tony Blair. I am beyond angry at the Iranians forcing the female to put on the hijab, they would have to kill me first and I mean that literally.

Posted by: Rightmom at April 3, 2007 10:44 AM

I would much rather see a court martial for the commanders who allowed this to happen. There's no excuse for allowing two inflatable boats to get so close to Iranian waters without proper fire support. EU Referendum notes that the Coalition Task Force that the HMS Cornwall commands includes two US Navy Cyclone class patrol boats. Those ships have the speed and the firepower to take on the Iranians.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at April 3, 2007 11:45 AM


Posted by: RICHARD DAUGHERTY at April 3, 2007 12:07 PM

Richard, directly to the left of your "Z" on a QWERTY keyboard is your shift key. Directly above that is your Caps Lock key.

Please press that now.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 3, 2007 12:15 PM

increasingly tough decisions

Sounds like they're prepping the dreaded comfy chair for deployment.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 3, 2007 06:45 PM

Thanks for the positive feedback guys. Makes us Brits chuffed to chips that we stood alongside you in the whole war deal. Pleased to help. Don't mention it. So nice to be remembered when comradeship is so often forgotten nowadays...

Posted by: Tripper at April 4, 2007 04:10 PM