Well, Iran wins again.
During the photo-op of the decade, Ahmadinejad chatted and joked with the British
traitors sailors and Marines after announcing that they would be pardoned and released. Not one of the Brits was in uniform, wearing instead suits, and in the female sailors case, an Islamic hijab, or head scarf. They appeared in Tehran today smiling and waving. And Ahmadinejad left no doubt who was in control of the situation.
He had criticised Britain for deploying Mrs Turney, mother of a three-year-old daughter, to the Gulf.
"Why was the difficult task of searching the seas given to a mother thousands of miles from home?" he demanded.
"Why is there no respect for motherhood, for the love of her child? How can you justify seeing a mother away from her home, her children? Why don’t they respect family values in the West?"
According to one official Iranian website Mrs Turney "burst into tears" as an interpreter translated Ahmadinejad’s words about her.
Awe, what a special moment. She actually cried at his concern for her family.
And this is the example the world saw of Royal Sailors and Marines, some of whom were officers? Absolutely disgusting.
All of these sailors and Marines should be held accountable for their conduct in their brief captivity. Obviously, the 'name, rank and serial number' stuff goes out the window after a few days, especially when torture is involved, but to admit that your country was wrong, whether true or not, is deplorable. To have let Iran use them in this way is nothing short of treason.
Bear in mind that all of them are volunteers and, supposedly, well-trained for such contingencies. And the female, Turney, dreamed of being a sailor from a 'very early age'. Their conduct was so bad that even Ahmadinejad addressed it:
"I do advise UK Premier Tony Blair not to prosecute the servicemen on charges of telling truth and realities," he said.
"I do advise Tony Blair to administer justice and promote peace and ethics and serve the British people instead of proliferating nuclear weapons," he said.
Sadly, PM Tony Blair looked weaker than ever:
"Throughout, we have taken a measured approach, firm but calm, not negotiating but not confronting either.
"And for the Iranian people I would say simply this: We bear you no ill will, on the contrary we respect Iran as an ancient civilisation as a nation with a proud and dignified history."
The Syrians claimed a leading role in negotiations, and you can bet that Pelosi will take credit for that. England has denied making any deals for the fifteen, but they came out looking impotent anyway.
I think that most people miss the point here. This was not about fifteen Royal Sailors and Marines, taken illegally from Iraqi waters.
It was about the way that Iran has been holding the West hostage for more than twenty years, and our refusal - or inability - to do anything about it. They test us and push us and challenge us, and we fail miserably every time. No wonder that our enemies around the world no longer fear us.
The Brits chose to let Ahmadinejad be the good guy. He appeared kind and gracious, willing to forgive these men and women for their "mistake", while embarrassing the hell out of the West in the process. Now the Iranians will be emboldened even more.
And, sadly, the Iranians will not suffer one bit for it.
More on the topic:
***UPDATED***: So they are back in England, now. Not in uniform, but in the suits provided by their Iranian captors, bearing gifts from the Iranian Government. Incredibly, the the British Government is defending their actions while they were being held prisoner.
Defence Secretary Des Browne defended the conduct of the marines during their time in captivity.
He said the current rules of engagement were "robust", but they would be examined.
"You've seen for yourself these are very young people," he told BBC News 24. "I think they have acted with immense courage and dignity during the time that they have been detained."
Courage and dignity. He definitely hasn't been watching the same news coverage I have.
And, after returning home and being reunited with their loved ones, the hostages did something amazing: they asked for their privacy.
After embarrassing their country by admitting guilt and wrongdoing, after encouraging their country to leave Iraq, after supporting their captors in both video and letter form, they now want their privacy. Unbelievable.
I'm glad that they are home safely. And there probably was some form of coercion such as threats, isolation, confessions of the others... all standard stuff, really. But do any of them look as though they have been physically harmed or beaten? No. It looks to me that they simply surrendered - physically, mentally and emotionally - and did whatever they could to save themselves. Deplorable conduct for a member of any military.
I think that this one will hurt us for a long time to come.
- The Washington Times claims the Brits had no SERE training.
- Hot Air on the seemingly least cooperative sailor.
- Sky News says the Brits had been spying (VIDEO) and the story.
And Michelle Malkin has put up the Code of Conduct for the U.S. military. I had to memorize it my first few days in the Army.
***FINAL UPDATE***: Well, the Brits are telling their story now.
Mock executions, isolation, threats, mental duress, but no physical torture. And we're talking leass than two weeks, total. And some of these folks were officers, one even a Captain. After hearing their side, although I'm sure there's a lot more yet to the story, I'm convinced my initial assessment was correct.
These people basically surrendered without a fight initially, lost all military bearing and made a complete disgrace of themselves by helping the enemy.
I hope this serves as an example (of what not to do) for other Biritish and U.S. troops.
One word: training.
More at BLUF.