Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Free at Last

I'm delighted to see our Sailors and Marines freed by the Iranians this afternoon and now the tough questions need to be asked.

*What were the rules of engagement?
*Why was no air cover or support given
*What coercion was used to convince the Sailors and the Marine officers to "confess?"

If you think back as far as the Korean war or even the first Gulf War, it would have been inconceivable for a British officer to "confess" to anything without being beaten to within an inch of his life first.

Perhaps times have changed and I certainly don't know the circumstances. One interesting thing, from my point of view, is that once upon a time, any group of that size would have had a mature NCO with them, like the tough colour sergeant, whose name I forget, in the photo. The officer I remember is a Captain Sheridan and you might be able to spot me hiding in the back row.


Anonymous said...

I suspect that the briefing given to them in the eventuality of such an incident was to go along with the 'game' being played by Iran. It is of course possible that the young officers involved accepted they were in the wrong because they were and that MOD briefings to our media were false. Such is the lack of integrity in this Government and the higher echelons of the Armed Forces that it is difficult to believe what 'THEY' tell us anymore! Dr Reid ushers in Big Brother speakers with CCTV as if it is accepted by everyone as OK. With such mentality from a Home Secretary, what are we to believe anymore?

Doctor Doom said...

It's a master-stroke by the Iranians and all credit to them.

The British government has failed to produce any objective evidence to back up their claim that the the British vessels were in Iraqi waters (what's certain is that they were not in British waters...) and the former British ambassador Craig Murray at the weekend effectively asserted the British government deliberately lied. So what else is new? Anyone seen any WMDs recently?

Dr Moores' query about possible coercion used by the Iranians does him little credit. Other than the obvious and natural stress of being detained in a foreign land, it is quite obvious the British sailors and marines alike were relaxed and comfortable, and treated a lot better than we treat our untried prisoners.

If the UK armed forces official policy on capture is now to go along with everything the "enemy" says, then publicly thank the president himself for his hospitality, then clearly the armed forces are no longer "fit for purpose".

The British navy has been left a laughing stock of the world ("singing like canaries", as the Americans thoughtfully described them), while the Iranian president has emerged statesmanlike and enhanced both at home and abroad.

The PR value of the release, totally unexpected, and right after rewarding the Iranian forces who captured them, was a master-stroke of PR diplomacy both at home and abroad. To then link the release to the birthday of the Prophet and to the occasion of the ascension of Jesus Christ was simply to ice a beautifully baked cake. Pure genius. Blair's spin doctors must be green with envy.

So now the "hostages" are on their way home, unharmed, no weapons fired, no innocent civilians killed, no nuking Teheran necessary.

When the Little Englanders have exhausted their vitriolic indignation they might want to reflect on which parties have emerged with dignity from this affair. It certainly wasn't the Blair Government or the UK armed forces...

Anonymous said...

Naval officer personnel singing like canaries I can believe but the Marines look like a contingent of the Women's Auxilary Ballon Corps....who doubtless from what I have seen this week would be tougher. Paras wouldn't have acted like that. Marines are a laughing stock now.

Anonymous said...

Oh well put, Dr Doom!

DrMoores said...

Marines aren't apparently what they used to be I'm ashamed to say! You can't find the staff these days!

Anonymous said...

How long were you in, and where did you serve, if I might ask?

Anonymous said...

Yes they are! They are as tough,fit and as well trained as ever. We are not in a position to know what their instructions were in the event of being grabbed by Iranian forces and one must assume they were in radio contact with HMS Cornwall and discussing their impending arrest right up until the moment when it occured. Their release has saved Mr Blair's Government an ongoing nause. 'name,rank and number' and obdurate behaviour would have lengthened the affair much to the Government's discomfort. I am of the opinion that the 'booty' Captain and Naval Lieutenant were behaving as ordered.

DrMoores said...

Briefly answered in an earlier post for the curious.

Anonymous said...

Like the picture! Looks like a mid 1970s Potential Officers Selection Group in the style of RCB for the Army. At least a young Moores had his hair cut to a more military style than some of the others!