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British Sailors Captured By Iran

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Barmy Army, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Darkie,
    you take as granted that (a) the Brits were not in Iranian waters and (b) that the Iranians did break international law. I would be very careful to make either point.

    As I pointed out above, Commodore Nick Lambert said:
    And that's the the Royal Navy commander of the operation on which the Marines were captured saying that.

    And after all, international law allows for tit-for-tat retaliation, often called “reprisals in kind”. Storming Iranian consulates and arresting diplomats, or simply snatching them, as the US did in Iraq, isn't exactly a friendly act. That the retaliation hit the Brits, under such a pretext, what a pity. But they are partners in that coalition, aren't they?

    The Iranians sure played dirty, with plausible deniability. But they're not alone in that game (with presumably Saudi money, thus no congressional oversight, and plausible deniability). It is more complicated than you suggest.

    [ April 04, 2007, 23:05: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
     
  2. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I've come across a FT piece today that thinks the entire affair a publicity stunt. First, Ahmadinejad gets to play the defiant brave Iranian who is not easily intimidated by the world powers - and by the comments they provided, even those of relative moderates, the elites in Iran rallied behind him for a while. It's an old tactic - when there is uncertainty and danger, people gather behind the leader - any leader. Second, the piece argued, it's a kind of a morale booster. If these soldiers are the best the UK could offer (and there's an anecdote in Iran about a young soldier captured by Iraq in the 1980-1988 war who never spoke for 8 years of captivity), then the army/navy will feel more confident.

    Weird? Perhaps. It does presume - about which I'm still not sure - that Iran planned the entire affair and the Brits were taken from Iraqi waters. However, it can somewhat explain the brinkmanship Tehran embarked on for a few days.
     
  3. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    has anyone noticed how short the iranian president is?
     
  4. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Yep, it was a bit weird. Or maybe it was the marine? who was quite tall. Man, I can't believe it, one of these guys looked 16 or so.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    [​IMG] Hilarious, the same day Terry Jones’ piece appeared in the Guardian, the following appeared in the UK’s Telegraph:
    Yes Mr. Ahmedinejad, for the record, you're on notice for seducing innocent kids to smoking :mad: :flaming: :mad:
     
  6. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Haha, imagine :) I wonder what's the Iranian women stance on the issue, I don't know how prevalent smoking is among them.

    [ April 06, 2007, 12:34: Message edited by: The Shaman ]
     
  7. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Now that they're back I'm waiting for news articles to say that the sailors had no choice but to spew that Iranian propaganda and ask for forgiveness on camera some 20x times, but I'm not seeing any...

    So did those dolts actually believe everything that Iran has been feeding them? Or were they such cowards that they'd say and do anything, no matter how harmful to Britain, just so that Iran would treat them like honoured guests?

    I find their behaviour in captivity deplorable and shameful, and I think that not discharging them from the navy sends an entirely wrong message to every other navy and military serviceperson. Such people shouldn't be doing anything but desk duty far from anything that might scare them ever again.
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Well, to answer your two questions, I'd say no to the first one, and possibly or probably yes to the second one.

    You are right that cowardice is not typically considered virtuous, but quite frankly, if I were in a position such as them, I'd be scared s---less. I'd say anything they wanted me to say - whether it was under threat of torture or not. If I thought that spouting off Iranian propoganda would get me released faster or treated better, you can bet your ass I'd do that too.

    Think about it - these people were prisoners. Basic self-preservation will tell you that it probably isn't a good idea to piss off the people that captured you. Even if they had not tortured them yet, pissing them off may very well make them more inclined to do so. Keep in mind that these British sailers were in a position where the Iranians had total and complete control of their fates. If acts of contrition or humility were a means to improve the eventual outcome, then I support whatever they did - and any harm they may cause to Britain due to those statements be damned. At the end of the day I'd rather return to my wife and kids a coward than return to them a brave man in a coffin.
     
  9. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    There has been alot of talk here in the UK that some of the men were kept in solitary confinement and only allowed out to be filmed together. And I don't care what anybody says they were forced to spout that Iranian propaganda perhaps not under direct threat but forced into it all the same. If you look at their faces they looked very uncomfortable and if it turns out they were then some action better be taken as the lack of UN support during the actual crisis was laughable.
     
  10. jaded empath Gems: 20/31
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    Also remember that little has been made public about the diplomatic 'deal' that the UK gov't made with Iran to get her people back; maybe part of that was no public 'recinding' of the (obviously) coerced statements.

    Heck, maybe Britain is going to back Iran in their interpretation of the territorial waters borders? Start pulling some strings to get the line moved on everyone else's maps? I'd consider that less important than 15 servicepeople's lives...

    And I don't care HOW brave you are; the fact that Iran held fifteen people, who could easily be seperated from each other, would play very well with the 'holder's' gambits.

    A hypothetical example:

    Prisoner: I don't care what you do, I'm not lying on camera.

    Guard: You will read this statement, or we will break your toes.

    Prisoner: G'wan - I could use an excuse to avoid guard duty when I get back.

    Guard: You will read this statement, or we will stop feeding you.

    Prisoner: *yawn* Good, I've been meaning to lose some weight, anyways.

    Guard: You will read this statement, or we will do all that to your friends.

    Prisoner:....

    <faint sounds of screams on other side of thick wall - that could be other guards acting...or could be the prisoner's comarades>

    Prisoner: *sigh* where do I effing sign?

    ----

    For a LOT of people, chivalry trumps self-sacrifice...
     
  11. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    The problem is, military or navy members are not your average Joes like you and me once they put their uniforms on and therefore can not and should not be allowed to react like regular people would in such a situation. If I were to enlist in the navy or the army and sail near the border of Iran I would certainly have to be prepared to deal with a likely event of being captured in a proper way. Which becoming a propaganda mouthpiece a day after capture most definitely isn't.

    I'm not in the navy or the army because I don't want to come anywhere near such a situation. But the people who are there are supposed to be trained to handle such situations properly, and I seriously doubt that what they did was anywhere close to how they should have reacted. It's akin to having a soldier drop his rifle and surrender at the sight of the enemy before ever firing a single shot. Such people are clearly in the wrong line of work.

    I am very well aware of the difficult situation they were in. But that does not in any way excuse what they've done. If they were some bureaucrats captured by Iran by sheer chance I wouldn't say anything. But they weren't. And as I said, if there actually were some serious threats involved, I could possibly excuse it as well. But I'd like to know the details.

    Many US soldiers have managed not to crack during years of actual torture by the Vietnamese or the Japanese (not just idle threats), but this sorry crew sang Iran's tune like a chorus in a day. That's what bothers me the most.
     
  12. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well rev up your excusing engine because according to this they were threatened with up to seven years in prison! So, yeah, excruciating. ;)
     
  13. Duffin Gems: 13/31
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    Well according to the news that was just on, the woman marine was held in isolation and told all the men had been released. One of the marines also said he would call their treatment pyschological torture an example of which all the men were blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs lined up against a wall whilst the Iranians loaded rifles.
     
  14. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    We don't really know what their training told them to do. I'm sure that sailors in their position were trained extensively about what to do should they ever get into such a situation. Who knows? Perhaps their training was just to cooperate and say whatever they needed to say in order to get released.
     
  15. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    BTA, yea, I just wanted to post this link (a bit more detailed).

    Basically, they've been scared witless by the threat of 7 years in prison and a few other scare tactics. The idea that the woman was the only captive left must obviously have been dispelled relatively soon, considering she was in the company of other sailors on most of the recordings.

    All in all, this new information doesn't really change my original opinion much. I find it sad that they had so little faith in Britain securing their release that idle threats of prolonged imprisonment were enough for them to become Iran's propaganda puppets.
     
  16. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Let us not be quick to judge. We do not know the circumstances, we do not know what they were told to do under these circumstances. We do not know what we might have done under the same circumstances.

    Walk a mile in another person's moccasins before you judge.

    I'm just glad they are free.
     
  17. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I've already said that I would have done the same as they did - but the whole point is that I'm not a navy or an army serviceperson. Of course it's also possible that their training required them to cooperate with the enemy under such circumstances, but I have to wonder about the logic behind such instructions. They came out of it alive and unharmed, sure - but they've given Iran a tremendous propaganda boost that will be replayed and talked about for years, not to mention the obvious display of Britain's navy's weakness that the whole world has witnessed.

    Also, it probably has most UK navy service people convinced now that in the event of capture by the enemy, cooperating with the enemy is the right thing to do. To me it seems insane to send out such a message to your troops, but what do I know.

    I'm surprised that considering we have quite a few people who have worked or are working in this field, none of them are offering their insight into this matter.
     
  18. Shadow Assassin Gems: 13/31
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    Tal, there's really not much point in offering anything up. It's been done, plain and simple. How someone like myself, prior enlisted in the USMC, would have responded is moot. That said I wouldn't be suprised if this doesn't embolden Iran further.
     
  19. Dragon3 Gems: 6/31
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    it's easy to sit in a comfortable home and talk about how they should have acted in captivity.but,regardless of military training,they are still human beings.they feel fear and pain.they know the kind of terrible tortures these camel-loving arabs are capable of.i understand that they would say anything to stop torture,even if it hadn't happened yet.they should never have been captured.i hope we join with our british friends and allies to reduce both iran and iraq to a burning cinder
     
  20. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    Actually, Tal, it's not insane. Britain has small but very professional armed forces. The level of cooperation - going on TV and reading inane statements - is standard procedure. The Armed Forces don't care about propaganda. As far as they're concerned, propaganda makes the propagandists look at least as silly as the captives, and no confession claimed under "duress" can be considered legally binding by international law. So it's far better for captives in that situation to go along with demands to a point. You have to bear in mind that propaganda of this nature accomplishes very little. It's not worth losing personnel to stop it. Even in the first Gulf war, and probably before then too, when downed British pilots were frequently paraded on Iraqi TV declaring the war illegal, immoral etc. this has been standard procedure. Genuine military intelligence is worth holding out for. Propaganda simply isn't. Ask yourself what the results of this "capitulation" have been. After no more than 13 days captivity, all 15 personnel have been returned unharmed, and not a shot was fired. Neither side has had to be seen to seriously back down, and no-one other than Iran actually believes the crew were in Iranian boarders. For my book, that's a victory without even having to fight for it - the only real kind. Now if we'd had the attitude of diplomacy and "victory over war" from the start everyone might be better off.
     
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