Hostage update: British ambassador to Iran demands to see sailors; Update: U.S. commander says American sailors would have resisted

posted at 3:22 pm on March 25, 2007 by Allahpundit

He’s been told they’re in good condition but not where they are or whether he can visit them. And he wants that to change ASAP. Blair’s talking tough but his foreign ministry people are doing their best to downplay it, going so far as to pretend that the kidnapping is an isolated territorial dispute:

Lord Triesman said he had been assured the group was not being held hostage for political reasons as the UK joined other United Nations Security Council members in imposing tougher sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend its nuclear programme. “Our own view is that these things are not linked,” Lord Triesman said. He believed it was a “technical” dispute over whether – as Iran claims – the personnel had strayed into Iranian waters or – as the UK insists – were on the Iraqi side of the border.

They nabbed 15 members of the British military one day before a vote on UN sanctions and two days after the AP dropped a bombshell about Mahdi Army involvement with the Revolutionary Guard, and yet the Foreign Office would have us believe that one has nothing to do with the others? Seriously?

Meanwhile, Pajamas drops a mini-bombshell of its own:

American forces in Iraq now hold some 300 prisoners tied to Iran’s intelligence agencies, Pajamas Media learned from both diplomatic and military sources.

This is believed, by both sources, to be a record number of prisoners tied to Iran. Virtually all were captured in the past two months.

This week’s seizure of 15 British sailors by Iran in the contested waters of the Shattab al-Arab, the ship channel that divides Iraq and Iran, may have been payback for the capture of record number of Iranian operatives inside Iraq. “It may be a bargaining chip,” one diplomatic source said.

The intelligence community is still debating whether the unlawful detainment of British sailors was ordered by Iran’s government or was presented to it as a fait accompli by relatively low-level Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers.

Petraeus is credited with the new zero-tolerance strategy. PJM’s story jibes with today’s story in the Sunday Mirror and yesterday’s report from Asharq Al-Awsat, most notably with respect to the timeline: the Irbil raid that supposedly got the Iranians so spooked happened a little more than two months ago. If we’ve rolled up 300 guys since then (and disrupted as much EFP trafficking as has been claimed), it’s probably due in no small part to intel extracted from the Quds Force members seized in Irbil. Expect plenty more arrests, too, if that “rogue” JAM network that we busted this week is as significant as the media is claiming it is and if, in fact, the reports are true about all that brass from the Revolutionary Guard having suddenly gone missing. (Lots of ifs here, needless to say.)

I expect we’ll see more violence in southern Iraq soon as part of Iran’s retaliation. Sectarian homogeneity has kept things quiet there compared to Baghdad, but it’s also made it easier for Iran to build up influence. Turning the south into a hot war would put the remaining British troops in the middle and offset any good PR coming out of the success of the surge. I wonder if this is an early manifestation of that strategy or if it’s just local Shiites out for revenge.

I leave you with this report of an earlier attempt by Iranian troops to seize or possibly kill coalition troops ostensibly over a territorial misunderstanding. I’m not sure what to make of it.

Update: The wedge is driven! Heh.

Asked by The Independent whether the men under his command would have fired on the Iranians, [Lt. Cdr. Erik Horner] said: “Agreed. Yes. I don’t want to second-guess the British after the fact but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team’s training is a little bit more towards self-preservation.”

The executive officer – second-in-command on USS Underwood, the frigate working in the British-controlled task force with HMS Cornwall – said: “The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence. They [the British] had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, ‘Why didn’t your guys defend themselves?’”…

Yesterday, the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting … Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”

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I realize that the British soldiers are under British rule, but isn’t General Petraeus the over-all commander of coalition forces? (Or is he only in charge of US forces?)

Because if he’s the over-all commander and those Brits are in his direct chain-of-command, then he’s directly responsible for those British troops. If that’s the case then we should just say, “screw it,” and take out Iran’s entire air farce and navy right now, and go get them.

However, if the British guys are not under General P. then we should just back whatever play Blair and his people make.

Just my opinion!

V5

V5 on March 25, 2007 at 3:41 PM

“Turning the south into a hot war would put the remaining British troops in the middle and offset any good PR coming out of the success of the surge.”

How much “hotter” can it be in the south absent direct invasion by the Iranian army? Shia militias have been shooting at the Brits for quite some time. In fact, the Queen just awarded their Distinguished Flying Cross to an American Marine exchange officer for his actions in a clash with Shia terrorists.

georgej on March 25, 2007 at 3:51 PM

V5 has a fair point…what are American obligations to defend British sailors? Is this tantamount to kidnapping American soldiers?

see-dubya on March 25, 2007 at 4:21 PM

British defence official: “There is nothing to be gained in provoking a confrontation, because that would be playing into their hands.”

‘Scuse me, but the confrontation has already been provoked. By Iran. Duh. What are the British waiting for?

Everyone knows this thing is going to be a very hot war involving the entire region at some point. Iran seems to want it to be sooner rather than later. I’m surprised they didn’t wait until September of 2008, when the Dems will presumably have gotten our troops out of the area. At least Iran would have a few days or weeks to wreak havoc then before we got our guys back in there to deal with them. As it is, we’re just across the border. Maybe the Iranians are just uber-confident that our Congress will keep Bush from reacting to Iranian aggression, or that our troops in Iraq will run out of bullets and jet fuel due to lack of funding next month, making them sitting ducks.

It’s depressing that Iran is very obviously not the least bit afraid of several hundred thousand American and British troops right in their back yard.

aero on March 25, 2007 at 4:24 PM

Yes, we’ll have to wait for the British reaction and follow their lead. But if this turns hot, I think we have an obligation to back the British up if they ask for it. I assume that Bush wouldn’t hesitate to do so. The problem might be the standoff with Congress. An acceptable war spending bill might not make it through the process before funds run out–the Dems might let the clock run out just to make a point and make Bush squirm. We can’t very well back up British action if our guys have run out of funding to pay for their food, fuel, ammo, and salaries. We may be forced to leave the Brits high and dry while we play politics back home.

aero on March 25, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Short term answer:

Iran has one of the largest shipping lines in the world. Stop and board their ships. Give them a 12 hours to make arraignments to give back the British servicemen. At that point start sinking them.

Then inform them that if any are hurt, they lose harbors. We mine them and bomb them.

If that doesn’t do it, start hitting every manufacturing plant in the country, every bridge and ever power station.

Long term:

Start counterfeiting their cash by the trillions. Dump the cash in Iraq and in propaganda dispensers. Destroy their economy.

Tim Burton on March 25, 2007 at 4:33 PM

The British soldiers do have access to the King James Bible, right?

Their dietary needs for blood pudding are being provided, right?

They are being allowed a pint of Guiness, according to their customs, or at least a ration of rum?

They are being visted by the International Red Cross and members of the US Democratic Congress, aren’t they?

Amnesty International is calling for the closure of all Iranian prison camps, right?

60 Minuts is going to do an expose on the inhumane conditions and plight of the British soldiers, right?

Time Magazine will dedicate an entire year to the plight of the British soldiers, won’t they?

Dick Durbin will equate the treatment of the British soldiers by the Iranians to Nazis, a Gullag, and Pol Pot, won’t he?

Harry Reid and Teddy Kennedy will insist that the British soldiers are treated under the Geneva Conventions, right?

(crickets chirping)…..
(Crickets Chirping).
(CRICKETS CHIRPING)!

PinkyBigglesworth on March 25, 2007 at 4:37 PM

Everything Tim said and more!

V5 on March 25, 2007 at 4:37 PM

We have the Democrats to thank for this. They have emboldened the Iranians with their stupid vote and hatred of America. Of course, Iran would never take American soldiers because there is the possibility that despite the Democrat morons we might retaliate, the Brits, however probably won’t. I’d like to hear what our illustrious Democratic politicians have to say about this.

bloggless on March 25, 2007 at 4:42 PM

For what it’s worth, an Iraqi fisherman claims to have witnessed the Iranians detaining the UK sailers in IRAQI WATERS.

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C+Middle+East+%26+Africa&month=March2007&file=World_News2007032534322.xml

“We’ve been working in this job for many years and because of our experience we can distinguish which is the Iraqi and which is Iranian side,” he said, adding that Iraqi boats never venture across because of tight security by Iranian coastguards.

He added:

I have that memory which is seared -— seared -— in me

Okay, he didn’t really add that… But in more important news, it’s being reported that a web site run by friends of Ahmadinejad is claiming these guys will be tried for espionage:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article1563877.ece

RightWinged on March 25, 2007 at 4:50 PM

“I have not been commenting up to now because I want to get it resolved in as easy and diplomatic a way as possible, because it is the welfare of the people that have been taken by the Iranian government that is most important. But this is a very serious situation.”

-Blair

Talking tough? The SF school board talks tougher then this!
If they haven’t bombed something by tomorrow then those men and women have been written off the satisfy the surrender crowd. This is very very very bad news for the entire war effort on all fronts.

Limerick on March 25, 2007 at 5:01 PM

Iran has one of the largest shipping lines in the world. Stop and board their ships. Give them a 12 hours to make arraignments to give back the British servicemen. At that point start sinking them.

Then inform them that if any are hurt, they lose harbors. We mine them and bomb them.

In the 19th and early 20th century, the British would have done this without hesitation. No diplomacy. Kidnapping sailors is an act of war.

PRCalDude on March 25, 2007 at 5:05 PM

The hopes for Iran on this are threefold:

1. Britain pressures the US into giving up the Iranian spies and/or defectors. Ahmanadinejad looks like a strong man and stays in power by twisting the lion’s tail.

2. Britain starts breaking heads and Iran launches some kind of offensive. The US is drawn in Ahmanadinejad has is long sought apocalyptic battle. Whether or not it’s Armageddon, Ahmanadinejad can still unite the Iranian people through a foreign threat. He looks like a strong man (until a jdam lands square on his bunker) and thousands if not millions die. In addition, he would likely seal the Straits of Hormuz and attempt to starve the West of oil, causing massive disruption at home. He would go down, but we might follow…

3. The West buys the release of the RN sailors with economic incentives to help save Iran’s faltering economy. The swabbies go free, there is no war, but Ahmanadinejad can claim (and rightly so) that the West is paying him tribute in order to avoid a fight with the all-powerful Iranian army. What’s more, he is free to do this sort of thing again and again and again, just like North Korea.

The upshot of all these scenarios is that Ahmanadinejad cements his own power and gains a stronger bargaining position in the nuclear debate, with the exception of scenario two, in which he gets his apocalyptic (to him) war that he has been dreaming about for decades. He would make us prove that he is not the Twelfth Imam on the bodies of thousands (if not millions) of his countrymen.

Now, Iran could very well see the light like it did in ’04, but I doubt it. The stakes are too high right now (shaky homefront support coupled with a collapsing economy and Russia threatening to pull the rug out from under their precious nuclear program). This is an ugly situation and frankly I am not hopeful for its outcome. I pray that there is some kind of peaceful resolution, but I’m keeping my rifle clean just in case.

Militant Bibliophile on March 25, 2007 at 5:06 PM

The American and British intel and defense departments war game everything. Is this the solution they have come up with after 4 years of being at the door to the lions den? Makes me sick.

If friggin Harry was over the wire the Queen herself would be bowing to Mecca five times a day.

Limerick on March 25, 2007 at 5:10 PM

In the 19th and early 20th century, the British would have done this without hesitation. No diplomacy. Kidnapping sailors is an act of war.

PRCalDude on March 25, 2007 at 5:05 PM

Where do you think I got the idea from? When in doubt, do what you did when you were at the height of power…you can’t go wrong.

Someone needs to quote Ace’s motto in these comments….

Tim Burton on March 25, 2007 at 5:10 PM

This is a situation that calls for Great Britain to live up to “Great”. Negotiating is not an option. Iran is clearly attempting to show it’s strenght by having the west cave to it’s demands. Giving in will simply be asking for more of the same.

darwin on March 25, 2007 at 5:14 PM

He looks like a strong man (until a jdam lands square on his bunker) and thousands if not millions die

See this is where I have mixed feelings. Kill all the Muslims, but there are huge amounts of apostate Muslims who are pro-West….Ah well, War is hell. The blood is on his hands.

Tim Burton on March 25, 2007 at 5:15 PM

What I want to know is which member of our State department is going to stand up to Iran if they make public a demand that the US release it’s agents that have been captured in Iraq. A statement like that would be public acknowledgement of Iranian involvement in Iraq from somebody other then a CENTCOM spokesman. What would the distinguished ISG make of such a pronouncement? But I don’t give our nutroots and MSM enough credit, just like they promote the 9/11 conspiracy after Bin Laden admitted to it they would somehow manage to create a scenario where our Special Ops snuck over into Iran, kidnapped these Iranian citizens and it is the Americans who where holding prisoners for ransom rather then the other way around.
I am left with one remaining burning question. What if anything can be considered an act of war anymore?

LakeRuins on March 25, 2007 at 5:24 PM

What I want to know is how long before they start blaming Bush?

bloggless on March 25, 2007 at 5:36 PM

Tim Burton on March 25, 2007 at 4:33

PM

I completely agree. We have two years to deal with Iran before a possible Democratic presidency (God forbid), and we are going to have to deal militarily with them eventually. So may as well deal with them now.

The Iranians would not test a Republican president like they are testing the British right now.

januarius on March 25, 2007 at 5:50 PM

Bush and Blair will strike when the time is right not when the Iranians say so. Have patience.

aengus on March 25, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Screw it, lets just light em up and get it over with already, what are we gonna wait for, a mushroom cloud?

Viper1 on March 25, 2007 at 6:10 PM

If that’s the case then we should just say, “screw it,” and take out Iran’s entire air farce and navy right now …

V5 on March 25, 2007 at 3:41 PM

Okay. Sounds like a plan.

But what do we do for the other 23 hours of that day?

Professor Blather on March 25, 2007 at 6:16 PM

Harry Reid and Teddy Kennedy will insist that the British soldiers are treated under the Geneva Conventions, right?

(crickets chirping)…..
(Crickets Chirping).
(CRICKETS CHIRPING)!

PinkyBigglesworth on March 25, 2007 at 4:37 PM

Brits are the wrong color. Have the wrong history. The wrong religion.

Change their skin tone, make them from an historically underachieving country – bonus points for past oppression – and for God’s Algore’s sake, lose the Christianity. Anything from Islam to pagan hamster worship would work.

If *those* were the guys who’d been kidnapped, Nancy Pelosi and her pals would be on the case in a heartbeat, baby!

Professor Blather on March 25, 2007 at 6:19 PM

An analysis at counterterrorismblog suggests Tehran wants limited US/UK counter-strikes, largely for domestic propaganda value. It needs to bolster the external enemy crisis in face of growing domestic unrest.

laelaps on March 25, 2007 at 6:21 PM

Bush and Blair will strike when the time is right not when the Iranians say so. Have patience.

aengus on March 25, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Hope you’re right.

But personally, I think the right time already passed.

This is an unmitigated act of war. Even by the United Nations international law standards the left loves to embrace.

The bombing should already have begun.

Let Iran try this with Israeli sailors. Then you’ll see how the response ought to look.

Professor Blather on March 25, 2007 at 6:22 PM

An analysis at counterterrorismblog suggests Tehran wants limited US/UK counter-strikes, largely for domestic propaganda value. It needs to bolster the external enemy crisis in face of growing domestic unrest.

laelaps on March 25, 2007 at 6:21 PM

It’s a valid point.

Of course, if you make the response not quite so “limited,” I don’t think the mullahs would be happy with the result.

Professor Blather on March 25, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Screw it, lets just light em up and get it over with already, what are we gonna wait for, a mushroom cloud?

Viper1 on March 25, 2007 at 6:10 PM

I’m with ya. If we were in a court of law, Iran’s balls would be nailed to the wall with all the evidence we have to justify doing it too. WTF is going on!

Roark on March 25, 2007 at 6:53 PM

Here’s a thought, wouldn’t this be a good time to use the
naval and air superiority that the US and UK have to blockade the country and allow no product or person either in or out. This would exploit Iran’s economic weaknesses and
perhaps their own internal dissidents would become emboldened.

Paul

pbary on March 25, 2007 at 7:14 PM

Now might be a good time to work out a hostage prisoner exchange. We recently uncovered a cache of about 600 of those EFD’s that Iran exports. We also have by some estimates 300 Iranians in custody in Iraq. Add remote detonators and several problems solved at once.

LakeRuins on March 25, 2007 at 7:57 PM

That quote in the update was from FRED THOMPSON, wasn’t it?!

SWLiP on March 25, 2007 at 8:07 PM

England should just give them Londonistan in exchange and get the dhimmi ball rolling.

Charles can revert, Camilla can don the chador, and Hook Hands Hamza can be made Lord Mayor.

It’s on its way, why not just admit it and submit, Brits?

profitsbeard on March 25, 2007 at 8:21 PM

Hope you’re right.

But personally, I think the right time already passed.

Hope you’re right.

But personally, I think the right time already passed.

Maybe. I’m hoping they’ll strike Iran before they leave office. If they don’t it’s going to look pathetic to future generations.

aengus on March 25, 2007 at 8:59 PM

“Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”
former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West

And your “chaps” will be used and screwed up. I always believe we have the best rule of engagement: When being attack, shoot first, ask questions later. Screw you First Sea Lord.

auspatriotman on March 25, 2007 at 9:42 PM

Update: The wedge is driven! Heh.

Oh how the MSM is gonna churn the waters with this. Damage control would be answering the question in terms that explain what the U.S. rules are and that we were NOT calling the Brit wimps (which you watch come out as the translation). As well as it’s sending a message to Iran, “Don’t even think about it Kermit.”

- The Cat

P.S. I feel calling Dinnerjacket ‘Kermit’ has a ring to it hehe.

MirCat on March 25, 2007 at 9:43 PM

Although I would love to see us go in and kick it, I do think that we would be playing into Dinner jackets hands on that, I like the idea of isolating them and letting the country collapse in on itself.

bbz123 on March 25, 2007 at 9:57 PM

Jeez, imagine if Edwards or Obama were president. They’d pull this crap with us in a heartbeat. As much as I dislike the Republicans right now, I am confident that a Republican president, in the same situation, would be seriously considering a serious enema for the butthole that is Iran.

RW Wacko on March 25, 2007 at 10:03 PM

In all fairness to the UK sailors and Marines, they were only in a couple RHIBs and were surrounded by what I heard to be around 6 armed speedboats. Defending yourself is one thing, suicide is quite another. Perhaps these missions need a couple helicopter gunships as cover for now on.

Yakko77 on March 25, 2007 at 10:23 PM

Although I would love to see us go in and kick it, I do think that we would be playing into Dinner jackets hands on that, I like the idea of isolating them and letting the country collapse in on itself.

bbz123 on March 25, 2007 at 9:57 PM

Problem, that never worked with Cuba, 1940s Japan, or even Iraq for that matter.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 25, 2007 at 10:39 PM

The link in the update says:

His comments came as it was reported British intelligence had been warned by the CIA that Iran would seek revenge for the detention of five suspected Iranian intelligence officers in Iraq two months ago but refused to raise threat levels in line with their US counterparts. The capture of the eight sailors and seven marines – including one young mother – will undoubtedly renew accusations that Britain’s determination to maintain a friendly face in the region has left its troops frequently under protected.

That’s surprising. I wonder what they were thinking. Anyone know anymore?

INC on March 25, 2007 at 10:45 PM

Okay. Sounds like a plan.

But what do we do for the other 23 hours of that day?

Professor Blather on March 25, 2007 at 6:16 PM

Bomb mosques….What? I’m just saying…It’s something to do….

Tim Burton on March 25, 2007 at 10:49 PM

P.S. I feel calling Dinnerjacket ‘Kermit’ has a ring to it hehe.

MirCat on March 25, 2007 at 9:43 PM

Are you implying that he has a romantic relationship with a pig? Because I can believe that. Or a goat, for that matter.

ReubenJCogburn on March 25, 2007 at 10:56 PM

Kermit is ok…..I prefer LaserDot

Limerick on March 25, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Are you implying that he has a romantic relationship with a pig? Because I can believe that. Or a goat, for that matter.

ReubenJCogburn on March 25, 2007 at 10:56 PM

I feel like a dork for not catching the pig thing. . as for the other, just as long as he sells the meat to another village.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 26, 2007 at 12:06 AM

Not to worry – special envoy George Galloway has been sent to resolve the ‘crisis’. His Wikipedia page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.

Entelechy on March 26, 2007 at 12:41 AM

…managed to mangle the link, above.

Entelechy on March 26, 2007 at 12:42 AM

If Blair is going to make a prolonged mockery of himself by trying the diplomacy, then at least he could try and look a little bit menacing.

He is quoted as saying “I hope that this is resolved in the next few days,” he said. “The quicker it is resolved, the easier it will be for all of us.”

It would be resolved a lot quicker if he said things like:

“I hope that this is resolved in the next few days, so that we don’t have to look at military options”

or

“Either these abductions are a legitimate mistake, or an act of war. If it is the former, then Iran should start taking immediate action to rectify the situation. We want our sailors and their equipment returned now. If they aren’t, then we will assume the latter and respond appropriately. The decision rests with the Iranians. Do they really want a war with the UK?”

uptight on March 26, 2007 at 2:42 AM

We need to send two Jedis to do a little “aggressive” negotiations.

If only diplomacy meant sending armed mystic assassins and blowing up transport ships…

Neo on March 26, 2007 at 4:40 AM

Yesterday, the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting … Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”

It’s official: The formerly great England has turned into France. De-escalatory engagement: euphemism for surrendering.

januarius on March 26, 2007 at 7:02 AM

In all fairness to the UK sailors and Marines, they were only in a couple RHIBs and were surrounded by what I heard to be around 6 armed speedboats. Defending yourself is one thing, suicide is quite another. Perhaps these missions need a couple helicopter gunships as cover for now on.

Yakko77 on March 25, 2007 at 10:23 PM

I disagree. The Brits should’ve been better prepared for this.

Set aside the fact that they were warned that the Iranians might be looking for an opportunity to pick up some “bargaining chips”; the disputed nature of the area in which they were operating, coupled with the fact that the Iranians have already done this sort of kidnapping to them once before in recent memory, should’ve been enough to put them on their guard.

As I understand it, the individuals who were taken were operating off of a Royal Navy Frigate. Well, where was that frigate? What good is “backup” when it’s not around or out of position to help when needed?

Don’t get me wrong, I blame the Iranians and not the Brits for this incident; but if the Brits had been more clear-headed about the prospects for trouble beforehand, they’d probably be justifying their act of self-defense instead of wringing their hands and issuing empty bluster right now.

And it is empty bluster. That’s another part of the problem for the Brits: they’ve done what the donkey party would like to do here, so thorougly gutted their own armed forces that they don’t intimiate anyone anymore – and can’t undertake meaningful military action without the United States taking the lead and doing the heavy lifting.

You can tell by the way they phrase things, making a virtue of necessity: “[W]e don’t want wars starting …” “[V]ery much de-escalatory…” “Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight, we try to step back …”

These are expressions of weakness trying unsuccessfully to masquerade as restraint: set up a straw man, the big, brutish American way of war, then set yourself up to look more “nuanced.” I saw another high-ranking British officer express the same thing when he described why the British Army took such an indirect approach to recapturing the Falklands in the 1980s – “Rather than just charing in headlong like the Americans, we prefer a more considered approach,” blah blah blah.

Yeah, right. Translation to American English: “Because we were too weak to take on a bunch of shivering Argentinian conscripts head-to-head, we had to nibble away at them first.”

The distressing thing for Tony Blair is that he’s going to end up looking like Britain’s Jimmy Carter, only worse. It’s not well known today, but Carter was actually preparing for major military action against the Iranians when they took our embassy personnel hostage; we noticed, however, that the Soviets were pre-positioning significant military forces in anticipation of our making just such a move, so he backed down (interestingly, this was one of the first clues we received that the Soviets had broken our military communication encryption – the Walker family spy ring was still in operation at the time).

What’s going to be Blair’s excuse for eschewing military action from the get-go?

If I sound harsh on he Brits, it isn’t because I don’t like them; I love the Brits. They are, however, the canary in the coal mine when it comes to where we’re possibly headed. You can say that in many respects, like the rest of “Old” Europe they’re just further along the same dangerous road we’re traveling when it comes to creeping socialism and a slide back toward appeasement-as-foreign-policy. We should take what’s happening to them today as a warning of what may happen to us tomorrow if we don’t watch out.

Spurius Ligustinus on March 26, 2007 at 8:36 AM

‘Barbara Ann’ by the Beach Boys.

Let’s not wait 444 days either.

locomotivebreath1901 on March 26, 2007 at 9:38 AM

This is the time, if we had the Malkin’s, to say “you have 24 hours to return the men”. Period. No more discussion, with anyone else. It is no one else’s business when your men are captured.

After 24 hours, back it up, and don’t stop pounding them. These little pooches have to learn what it means to come off the porch and run with the big dogs.

Forget the finger pointing, and who should have done what…the men were illegally captured and illegally detained by a government who does not follow international law. Nothing more needs to be discussed, except where to pick up the men…unharmed.

right2bright on March 26, 2007 at 9:50 AM

A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.

This makes me so proud to be an American.

wytammic on March 26, 2007 at 10:02 AM

I agree. We shouldn’t under any circumstances strike back, because that’s just what Ahmadinnerjacket wants us to do. Heck, nothing would make him happier than losing his infrastructure, his air force, his navy and most of his armed forces.

Instead, we should immediately release any and all Iranian terrorists in our captivity, send him $40 billion worth of subsidies, a full and functional nuclear missile program and redeploy all of our forces in the region to Alaska.

THAT would throw him for a loop. He’d NEVER see that coming and, as a result, he’d immediately surrender his Presidency and make Judaism the official state religion of Iran.

Was that enough sarcasm?

Misha I on March 26, 2007 at 10:43 AM

Other Great Moments in Harebrained Policy Proposals:

“We shouldn’t attack Afghanistan because that’s EXACTLY what Osama bin Laden WANTS us to do!”

“We shouldn’t attack Iraq because that’s EXACTLY what Saddam Hussein WANTS us to do!”

Neither of the above could be reached for comment, but rumor has it that they weren’t too happy with getting EXACTLY what they WANTED us to do.

Misha I on March 26, 2007 at 10:47 AM

UK Hostage Crisis – Day 3

faraway on March 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM

The once great British Lion no longer has teeth!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on March 26, 2007 at 11:04 AM

former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting

Was to be included in the post above.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on March 26, 2007 at 11:06 AM

A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.
This makes me so proud to be an American.

wytammic on March 26, 2007 at 10:02 AM

Really? Offending one of our last remaining allies, needlessly, is by you a great moment in American history? What possible good comes from this? One can certainly hope what he said was true, but the idea that articulating this thought is anything other than bone-headed? Sorry, can’t agree.

honora on March 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM

How about this. The Brits take over the offshore oil rigs that comprize the vast majority of the Iranian oil production and confiscates every import into Iran until they release the Sailors and then keep the oil production during the time they have the rigs for reparations.
Of course, that would require the British leadership to have some Malkins. Sadly it wont happen.

rarbolay on March 26, 2007 at 11:48 AM

DEFINITION: De-Escalatory – Unwilling or unable to confront thuggish bully; See appeasement (Example: Neville Chamberlian’s policy towards Hitler was de-escalatory)

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 26, 2007 at 11:50 AM

While I see your point Honora,I don’t have a problem with what he said at all.Perhaps the harm would come if he said something along the lines of “we’re just as easy targets as anybody else”. As to embarrassment,through their own comments and actions, or inactions, the Brits are doing a pretty good job of embarrassing themselves.

tomk59 on March 26, 2007 at 11:57 AM

Really? Offending one of our last remaining allies, needlessly, is by you a great moment in American history? What possible good comes from this? One can certainly hope what he said was true, but the idea that articulating this thought is anything other than bone-headed? Sorry, can’t agree.

honora on March 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM

Huh? When your ally is screwing up, best to let him know. In the process, it’s time to remind them of their proud naval history, military tradition, and the fact that they’ve been a great force for good in the world. Blair should ask for the admiralty’s resignation and then replace them with fighting men. This is just pathetic to watch.

PRCalDude on March 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM

PRCaldude, agreed. But as to the Brits proud naval history, that’s pretty much all it is these days –history.They’re down to what, 26 ships now? Still very high quality, but when your quantity is so low, it kind of takes the edge off of your quality.

tomk59 on March 26, 2007 at 12:13 PM

PRCaldude, agreed. But as to the Brits proud naval history, that’s pretty much all it is these days –history.They’re down to what, 26 ships now? Still very high quality, but when your quantity is so low, it kind of takes the edge off of your quality.

tomk59 on March 26, 2007 at 12:13 PM

43 ships. Plenty to start blockading Iran. They need to pull up, mine their harbor, and start interdicting shipping.

PRCalDude on March 26, 2007 at 12:20 PM

With budget cut talks that aim to knock it down to 26 ships the next few years.The days of Britannia ruling the waves are long gone, my friend.

tomk59 on March 26, 2007 at 12:26 PM

With budget cut talks that aim to knock it down to 26 ships the next few years.The days of Britannia ruling the waves are long gone, my friend.

tomk59 on March 26, 2007 at 12:26 PM

I think the days of Britannia are over.

PRCalDude on March 26, 2007 at 12:36 PM

DEFINITION: De-Escalatory – Unwilling or unable to confront thuggish bully; See appeasement (Example: Neville Chamberlian’s policy towards Hitler was de-escalatory)

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 26, 2007 at 11:50 AM

Also, See…….. honora on March 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM

PinkyBigglesworth on March 26, 2007 at 12:52 PM

Great Britain, what are you waiting for? Your country has always done well in defining what it means to have honor. Honor demands that you rescue your 15 men. Iran clearly is trying to get you to respond; I normally would say let’em have it. I think Iran wants that, though, and the key to war is not to give the enemy what it wants.

I’m less concerned about Great Britain’s lack of action than I am about our own Congress’s lack of words. Grow some stones, Dems.

Just a thought… don’t we need something like 200,000 more troops guarding the Iraq-Iran border right about now? Surely a British strike would prompt Iran to (more formally) invade Iraq. We’re not ready to defend that as well as we should be… yet? We do have to be careful not to play into Iran’s end-times dreams; otherwise, we’ll win, but it’d be at the cost of Iraq and Israel.

flutejpl on March 26, 2007 at 12:52 PM

Really? Offending one of our last remaining allies, needlessly, is by you a great moment in American history? What possible good comes from this? One can certainly hope what he said was true, but the idea that articulating this thought is anything other than bone-headed? Sorry, can’t agree.

honora on March 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM

The liberals in England brought this upon themselves by ruling out any military action against Iran from the get go. Surprise: The Iranians believed them and are testing them. They have nothing to lose; liberals will never use substantial military action against dangerous enemy.

januarius on March 26, 2007 at 12:54 PM

I really find this whole incident hard to see as anything but Ahmadinejad sticking a “NUKE ME” sign on his own back.

saint kansas on March 26, 2007 at 1:08 PM

I don’t think there wil be any retaliation, by the Brits or by the US. Bush has been downplaying the Iranians’ involvement in Iraq since at least last year, and has effectively ruled out military stikes against their nuclear facilities.

I think that Bush is afraid that any “escalation” with Iran could lead to Iran sending full-fledged forces across the border, and that would require us to-gasp-INCREASE the size of our forces in Iraq. And not by a mere division or so.

Remember, Bush spent six years with Rumsfeld, the first major politico-military leader in 10,000 years NOT to understand that when you go to war, you GET A BIGGER ARMY!
As a result, I suspect that our troops in Iraq are practically hostages for Ahmadinejad.

Hmm….maybe if we can push that angle with the Dems in Congress, they’ll agree to let the troops stay, and then we could trick them into letting us send more “hostages” over there until we finally have enough to do something about Iran.

Lancer on March 26, 2007 at 2:04 PM

Its kind of funny to note that some people (honora) take the American to task for this:

I don’t want to second-guess the British after the fact but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team’s training is a little bit more towards self-preservation.”

But doesn’t seem to have any sore of equivalent abhorance for the Brits who say this:

British rules of engagement were “very much de-escalatory, because we don’t want wars starting … Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”

But of course, what else could one expect from people whose whole life philosophy seems to be to blame America first?

Which one of the above people do you think the neighborhood bully would target first? My bet is on the Brit losing his lunch money and having to beg 1/2 a sandwich off the American.

Fatal on March 26, 2007 at 2:44 PM

It’s pretty clear to me now that the Iranians are trying to provoke a military attack. I am assuming this is very calculated – with a retaliatory strike to close the Straits of Hormuz early in the piece one of their high priorities.

Yet, in reality, all it takes is for insurance rates for cargo and vessel to go sky high, or to become unavailable, to stop the flow of tanker oil through the Straits.

Time to tighten the financial noose even further, and make it clear diplomatically that any unprovoked action against shipping in the Gulf will be met with a massive and decisive response against government and military infrastructure.

shaken on March 26, 2007 at 6:53 PM

Not to make fun of the Brits but imagine if they had this attitude in times past.

Hmm, it seems the USS Hood is sinking. Do telegram the Germans and ask them what trouble is causing the Bismark’s guns to misfire.

Resolute on March 26, 2007 at 9:28 PM

“Roaring into action”????

What a dope! A foriegn power attacks your sailors and allowing them to defend themselves would be called roaring into action?

What would he call a proper response to a wmd attack on his troops? Tea and crumpets with the terrorists?

csdeven on March 27, 2007 at 1:03 AM

Hmm, it seems the USS Hood is sinking…

Resolute on March 26, 2007 at 9:28 PM

Erm, that would be the HMS Hood. Right side, wrong navy.

Lazarus on March 27, 2007 at 2:30 AM

Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away.”

So, he both understands the mistake, and stands by it? And given the chance, dammit we’d do it again!

Plus which, in the future we’ll be sending out our little rubber boats pre-punctured and loaded with buckets of chum. It’s how much we care about our sailors that makes us stand out in the crowd.

Give away the store, why don’t you? Not that the Iranians didn’t already figure out your strategy before you outlined it so nicely. At least you said it in the iconic, superior British Officer tone. That should intimidate…nobody.

TexasDan on March 27, 2007 at 1:47 PM