Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iran Hostage Crisis - Day, ..., Far Too Many

Since school is taking much more time this term than usual my blogging will be well below the normal slow-ish pace for the next three months. Probably mostly weekends now.

Without further ado, it would appear the British sailors and marines are still hostages. This one crisis sums up so much of what’s wrong with the world today. Iran makes an armed attack against the military of a sovereign nation in the territorial waters of another nation and no one, not even the British, care about the violation of diplomatic standards (written about here). If we are not going to require countries live by the rules of civil intercourse, excepting times of war of course, then why should Iran restrict itself by following them? The British resort to diplomacy with a country that doesn’t respect diplomatic norms not because it’s the best choice but because the weak and unsupported British armed forces lack the ability to provide any other options. Once again we are seeing the ineffectiveness of our European allies in international affairs due to their unwillingness to invest the requisite resources to maintain credible military forces (and the British are atthe top of the heap even).

The Ayatollahs only understand force and without the threat of it hanging over their head they have no need to release the Britons until they get what they want from Blair. At the very least they want Britain humiliated. I know many modern post-history lefties think such emotional aspects of international relations no longer matter but they do which is why the Ayatollahs desire it. I do hope Blair holds firm despite a large portion of his countrymen being perfectly willing to trade humiliation for the servicemen. I also hope that Bush is in close consultation with Blair and is willing to help our ally with other options if need be. Diplomacy didn’t get the US hostages freed until President Reagan arrived with a clear willingness to use force to free them if necessary. If it requires the threat/application of American force then so be it, Britain has been a loyal ally and deserves such support.

I also haven’t notice more outrage over the treatment of the British servicemen, the woman in particular. Admittedly, I haven’t been able to follow the news too closely with school and all so I may have just missed it, but does no one else care that they are video taping them and forcing her to wear a headscarf? This behavior is especially egregious in this case since these were combatants who were actually following the laws of war and were illegally captured. Then again as the former Navy commander during the Falkland Wars commented, the hostage aspect of this mess, and probably the entire crisis, could have been avoided if British soldiers were allowed to use their weapons. The Iranians tried this game against American soldiers and only got a few dead Iranians for their trouble (they should have gotten more dead Iranians if you ask me but that’s another post).

Lastly though, Iain Murray over at the National Review notes “Blair has made me ashamed to be British this week. My only consolation is perhaps it will make the British people realize how utterly useless the U.N. is.” Only about 7% of Britons seem to agree with him on the first part. On the second, hehe, fat chance. Oh, and what are US Democrats doing at this moment? Well Speaker Pelosi is giving aid and support to the Syrians and powerful Representative Waxman is berating Sec. Rice over Joe Wilson’s trip to the Niger 5 years ago. Good to see Democrats have their priorities straight.


  1. Jarod:
    You're dead right about the headscarf and videotaping.

    Take a look, if you get a chance, at my the recent post on my site; your comments will be most welcome.

  2. Alright this might be a half retarded question, but why didn't the British fight off the Iranians? If they were in international waters don't they have a right to defend themselves against attack? Were there too many Iranians? I don't really understand sea battles very much, but if all else failed couldn't they simply get away? I haven't been keeping up on this story very much either since I too have been very busy with school. Anyway, if those soliders were ours I would certainly hope we would consider such an act, one of war. In your opinion, how would have the US have acted?

  3. If only we have Nuclear Weapons so countries would feel afraid to attempt any such thing. Hang on..

  4. Kirsten - I do not know the British rules of engagement in this instance but if they had fought back then there would certainly be 15 dead UK sailors rather than 15 detained UK sailors and we would probably be on the verge of war with Iran rather than having diplomatic negotiations.
    I know which i would prefer.

  5. Lucy, why do you believe there would be 15 dead UK sailors? I appologize for not really knowing more about the situation. Were the sailors surrounded? Was there no way they could have defended off the Iranians? I know the Iranians aren't idiots, but we're talking about the British navy here. I know it's not as good as it once was, but I would think it is at least better than the Iranian navy. Am I wrong? Has the British navy deteriorated that much? Once again I appologize for not knowing more about the situation I'm learning from you, and Jarod. :)

  6. Will do Michael, sorry I haven't done it earlier.

    Will the UK use nuclear weapons in response to this Lucy? Of course not, Britain is a good country so they're a non-factor in most situations. Nuclear weapons didn't deter Argentina or Egypt for the same reasons.

    One of Britain's biggest blog, EU Referendum (usually its the first link if you search for EU Referendum in Yahoo or Google), has a very good round up of what we can so far gather happened. In short it appears the British military had grown criminally negligent and complacent. It appears that the British servicemen were essentially left unsupported by the Royal Navy, had lost situational awareness and their tactical cohesion, and then still surrendered to a force they should have had no difficulty seeing off. Then to top it off, American forces nearby that could have rescued the Britons were told to stay away. Again, its still not clear what happened, but EU Referendum's fairly extensive posts and links on the matter seem to indicate that is what happened.

    As for the number of casualties, more than 15 people are going to die since theye surrendered. Either Iran will be emboldened and push further next time, or we will have to de-embolden them. Nevertheless, one of the realities of military service is that when you enlist your life is no longer the most important thing. Your country, your countrymen, and your mission all matter more. Not forcing your country into a position of having to choose between dishonor and war is another thing that matters more.

  7. From the reports i have read kirstachub, the brits were outnumberd, surrounded and outgunned by the Iranian forces. Of course they could of taken out a few Iranians but the end result would be 15 dead UK sailors.
    As i write the news channels are reporting the release of the 15 prisoners.
    If this is true, then the situation has been resolved with no loss of life on either side, and isn't that always the better option?

  8. Thanks as always for the comments. It's hard to say at the moment what the circumstances were, even outnumbered Britons should have had no trouble beating off the Iranians (American soldiers had no trouble doing so last Sept.).

    Being concerned about the 15 soldiers now is being penny wise and pound foolish. No one died now but then no one died thanks to Munich, for 16 months that is. Italy paying terrorists to release kidnapped Italians simply got more Italians kidnapped (and several killed). Israel agreeing to give land to the Palestinians stopped terror attacks, until terror attacks continued with more demands. Accepting humiliation to get 8 captured servicemen back got 15 servicemen captured. Britons used to know by heart, "pay the Danegeld, never get rid of the Dane".

    Aside from emboldening Ahmadinejad even further, sending the message that you will be rewarded for attacking other countries without following basic diplomatic rules, and all the things mentioned in my post today and this weekend, we'll have to see what Blair gave away in exchange before we can tell just how bad this will be. Blair may have saved 15 lives but we'll see soon enough how many it more it costs later.