Friday, April 06, 2007

Surrounded by guards and barbed wire, I dreamed of returning to you

(Image from Sailor at VidiotSpeak)

From the NYTimes we learn that the 101st Fighting Keyboarders have a British battalion:
Seized March 23 while conducting a routine operation in the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, just north of the Persian Gulf, the captives were repeatedly displayed on Iranian state television, sometimes looking relaxed and smiling. In several cases, they confessed to and apologized for having trespassed on Iranian territorial waters.

The images were jarring, verging on the bizarre. At one point they lined up for handshakes and chats with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The latest videotape showed the detainees sipping cups of tea, accepting goody bags of gifts and answering questions from Iranian journalists about things like whether Iran reminded them of Wales. Several appeared to go out of their way to thank the Iranians for releasing them.

Wait for it, here comes the money shot:
In The Daily Mail, the columnist Steven (sic) Glover compared the captives with those from other conflicts. “I do not blame the hostages for their apparent willingness to confess and apologize,” he wrote. “But we had better be honest with ourselves. In no previous era — not during World War II or Korea or Suez or the Falklands — would British servicemen have behaved in such a manner.”

Righ, bro. I'm sure that if you were there, you would have kicked some Eyeranian ass, dude.

I found the Daily Mail piece, and here's more from Glover:

Let me enter some caveats. Conceivably some or all of the captives were tortured, in which case their confessions would be entirely understandable, and they would be beyond any reproach even from the most censorious. I am quite certain I would not be able to withstand torture for more than about 15 seconds. Even if they were not mistreated, they must have been disorientated and possibly even traumatised, and were in some degree acting under duress.

Equally, in co-operating so fully with the Iranians, they may only have been acting under orders. The old rule that captured personnel should only reveal their name, rank and number appears to have been abandoned in favour of a more flexible approach designed not to aggravate particularly unpleasant captors. Those eager to cast stones should perhaps direct them towards military bosses rather than the unfortunate sailors and marines themselves.

Even so, I cannot conceal the feelings I had when the paraded hostages confessed and apologised so apparently readily. It was not shame so much as shock - shock, of course, that the Iranians should have dared to put our servicemen in such a position, but shock, too, that they should have complied so readily.

Since Glover is so tired after that gymnastics effort, let me explain:
They might have been tortured. Boy, I'm glad that didn't happen to me, 'cause, you know, I would have wet myself. Or worse.

And maybe it's not just "name, rank, and serial number" anymore, so we shouldn't get pissy about it.

But eww, it was so icky seeing them paraded by the mean Iranians, and them acting like, well, wussies. They should have been tougher. Stiff upper lip and all.

Oh grow up. Try being sent as decoys into non protected waters, taken by folks you assume are going to kill you and eat your liver with some hummous and a nice Shiraz, and tell me how you would act. If you thought the best chance of survival, to come home to your wife, husband, kids, parents, would be to put on a Howdy Doody costume and sing the Notre Dame fight song in Farsi, you would have hopped on stage faster than Sanjaya after snorting an amyl nitrate in Simon Cowell's dressing room.