Fly, Sailors, Fly

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Coming across the wires now: Iran will release the 15 British sailors captured in their waters.

This is a surprise if you've been watching Fox News, especially Hannity and Colmes—you'd have believed that Britain was fixin' to bomb Iran, and that it was about time somebody did.

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  1. Engooland is so weak right now militarily they couldn’t take the Falklands back if they were invaded…sadly this leaves them not bombing Iran and resorting to the most crude technique available — negotiation…

  2. We know they were captured in Iranian waters?

  3. My guess is that Tony Blair & Co. warned the mullahs that GWB was batshit crazy and that, while Blair was trying to restrain him, he wasn’t going to be able to hold Dubya back much longer. If the sailers weren’t released by Friday, Blair had it on good authority that Dubya was going to use that as his excuse to launch the long-longed-for war with Iran. Sure, that would ensure the deaths of the sailers (and would get the U.S. into an even worse clusterfuck than the one they were in in Iraq already), but Dubya was just that crazy and impervious to reason.

    I think the mullahs could be excused if they believed every word of it.

  4. Seamus,

    It worked for Reagan.

  5. Shouldn’t there be quotes around “captured in Iranian waters?”

    We snatched some of theirs, so they snatched some of ours, so they could make a trade.

    Good thing we didn’t open negotiations with Iran six months ago, and trade those same Iranian figures for someting that would actually benefit us. Nope, not talking to them sure was a brilliant strategy.

  6. I’m told by reliable White House sources that they will have a nuclear device powered by kidnapped American children in about 30 minutes.

  7. Seamus,

    You did see the story about Iranian security personnel captured in Iraq being released two days ago, right?

  8. Of course Joe, we didn’t capture some of theirs the us and the Iraqis captured some of theirs in the sovereign territory of Iraq and the people we captured were helping to run a terror campaign against the Iraqi people. There is a big difference between that and running around in a patrol boat in the Persian Gulf. There is no moral equivalence between the two acts.

    Further, I haven’t seen where the Iraqis are releasing the Iranians picked up in Irbil. Maybe they are and this is a part of some groveling deal that will tell the Iranians anytime they want something just capture a few westerners and wish and you shall receive. I certainly hope not. I would hope Blair told them to knock it off or there would be a few cruise missiles with various mullahs’ name and addresses on them. But that is probably hoping for too much.

  9. OK, John, if we’re da good guys and they’re the bad guys, then…uh, what, exactly? We (the Brits and us) shouldnt’ have made the trade?

    Do you have any point beyond “We’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys?”

  10. “…and the people we captured were helping to run a terror campaign against the Iraqi people.”

    Why would any sane person believe your assertions at this point?

    Lemme guess – they were bringing in thos shaped exposives that could only have ever possibly come from Iran, on the orders of the highest level of the Iranian government, right? You know, the ones that were being manufactured in a factory in Iraq that was raided a week later?

    Sadly, that’s not even the dumbest conspiracy theory you’ve tried to foist on us. Iranian agents are helping Al Qaeda bomb Shiites. Right?

  11. joe:

    You think Iran is not doing anything in Iraq?

  12. All I know is that the captured folks weren’t Scottish.

    English pussies.

    (I kid, I kid!)

  13. I will say that it has to be rough on ye olde English pride to be beaten on the high seas by Iranians. Ouch. Time to roll out the HMS Lost Glory.

  14. So Joe, you don’t believe that the Iranians are funding the insurgency in Iraq? Didn’t we already have this argument? Wasn’t your position that the Iranians were funding the insurgency because Bush wasn’t engaging them and that they would help stabilize Iraq if only we asked them? Further, where have you been for the last year? The U.S. has found tons of evidence that the Iranians are funding both sides of the insurgency. Everything from sniper rifles to precision made parts on IEDs have been traced back to Iran. The only defense Iran’s defenders have been able to muster is that the Iranians are rogue elements not controlled or supported by the government.

    In an interview with ABC, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that his government is “opposed to any kind of conflict in Iraq.” And he dismissed documents and other piece of evidence the U.S. military has presented as proof of Iranian involvement.

    Iran has denied any cooperation with insurgents in Iraq, but the Pentagon cites what it calls compelling evidence to the contrary. The U.S. military says it has proof that Iran is providing militias in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs.

    The powerful roadside bombs are capable of piercing U.S. M1 Abrams tanks, one of the most heavily armored land vehicles used by the U.S. military. And in addition to being more deadly, the devices are also more compact than most roadside bombs.

    After months of wrangling over how to broach the issue, military intelligence officers released their evidence Sunday in Baghdad. Pentagon officials reiterated the accusation Monday.

    The U.S. experts say that metal disks used in the bombs are precision-engineered and bear Iranian serial numbers. And, U.S. officials say, the EFPs are known to have been used only by Shiites – the majority religion in Iran.

    Robert Siegel talks with NPR’s Guy Raz.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7371750

    Further, is it your position that the Iranian governemnt is the “good guys”? The appalling Iranian human rights record is so well documented I will just point you to wikipedia and leave it at that. If you want to defend the Mullahs as morally equivilent to the U.S. and Britian, there is no hope for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Iran

    That doesn’t even mention, the holocoust denial and the promises to destroy Isreal once they get the bomb. Is their any country that you cannot sympathize with at the expense of the U.S.?

  15. “So, wait–if we do his job, we’re the bad guys, and if we do our job, we’re the good guys?”

  16. I take this as proof that video games have shortened our attention span. When I was a kid, hostages stayed hostages for at least a year.

    Anywho, go White Sox!
    Did you see the new-look Sun-Times? Don’t think I like it, although the headline “Hello, Dalai” and the accompanying photo are priceless. (Not, unfortunately, on the front page of their website.)

    What was the news story we were talking about?

  17. JasonL,

    I’m saying we should not take the word of Iraq War dead enders about what is going on in Iraq.

    I think it’s beyond question that Iran is playing some role in Iraq. “Waging a terrorist war on the Iraqi people” – well, maybe by supporting the Shiite militias that are waging the civil war on their off hours from serving in Iraqi government positions. The actual terrorist war being waged against the Iraqi public is being waged by Al Qaeda, which is more or less at war with Iran’s proxies.

    John,

    “Iran has denied any cooperation with insurgents in Iraq, but the Pentagon cites what it calls compelling evidence to the contrary. The U.S. military says it has proof that Iran is providing militias in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs.”

    No, John, the U.S. Army raided the factory in souther Iraq that was making those EFPs. An Iraqi factory, John, in Iraq. Don’t you ever read anything that isn’t obvious propaganda? It was all over the news. I figured you had, because once the story broke, you shut up about that accusation, after having spent weeks repeating it.

    “Further, is it your position that the Iranian governemnt is the “good guys”?” No, not even remotely. What an idiotic question – about what we’ve come to expect from you.

    “Is their any country that you cannot sympathize with at the expense of the U.S.?”

    Is there any accusation you won’t make to change the subject from the utter collapse of every factual argument you try to make?

  18. But hey, keep repeating made up stories, John. It’s not a bad strategy for delaying the inevitable diplomatic offensive, and making sure that the Iranians have the momentum when it finally does happen.

    Maybe, if you’re really lucky, you can make sure that the next deal we cut gets us even less than this one!

  19. Joe you are just ranting now. You always do that when I start to win an argument or point out that you took a contradictory position at another time. The U.S. did not just grab the Iranians in Irbil for fun. The Iranians are at the very least funding Shia millitias and trying to undermine the Iraqi government. Isn’t that one of your big bitches about the war is that it is going to end with an Iranian dominated Iraq? Of course now that the subject is Iran, you disown that position and claim that Iran’s intentions in Iraq are completely benign and that the seizing of the Iranians in Irbil is the moral equivilient to the Iranian kidnaping of the British sailors.

    I wish you would figure out what your position is and stick to it even if it means admitting that the U.S. might be right about something. Instead, your default position seems to be that the U.S. is always wrong and the facts and arguments must be adjusted to fit said assumption.

  20. Oh, and here’s link to the story disproving John’s gullible assertion:

    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002629.php

    “The Iranians are at the very least funding Shia millitias and trying to undermine the Iraqi government.”

    Whoa, walking it back a little, huh? In case you haven’t noticed – which you haven’t, because it would inconvenient for you to do so, and you’re good like that – the Shiite militas aren’t “undermining the Iraqi government.” They largely ARE the Iraqi government.

    “Of course now that the subject is Iran, you disown that position and claim that Iran’s intentions in Iraq are completely benign and that the seizing of the Iranians in Irbil is the moral equivilient to the Iranian kidnaping of the British sailors.”

    Wow, three lies in one sentence – you’ve outdone yourself. I have never described Iran’s involvement as benign, I’ve never disowned the positin that this is going to end with an Iran-dominated Iraq, and I’ve never claimed any moral equivalency.

    But don’t feel bad – if I was in your shoes, I’d be tempted to make stuff up, too.

  21. “You always do that when I start to win an argument or point out that you took a contradictory position at another time.”

    I wouldn’t know. You’ve never come close to winning an argument with me; nor have you ever pointed out a contradictory position I’ve taken.

  22. “We snatched some of theirs, so they snatched some of ours, so they could make a trade.”

    John, are you actually reading this as a statement of moral equivalency – this factual statement about the Iranians capturing the sailors to arrange a trade?

  23. “We snatched some of theirs, so they snatched some of ours, so they could make a trade.”

    Joe we snatched some of their and they snatched some of ours implies at least to me that both parties engaged in the same act. Maybe you didn’t mean it that way but I can’t see any other way to read it. The same verb generally means the same act. My objection is your equating the U.S. arresting Iranians in Iraq they believe were supporting the insurgency to the Iranians act of international piracy. The two acts are not equivilent and that is my objection.

  24. “engaged in the same act” != “morally equivalent” If it “implies” a moral judgement to you, then you should work on that.

    I was reporting facts; the Iranians grabbed some sailors so they could arrange a trade.

    Military adversaries do that all the time.

    I wonder, how many of your delusions come down to reading what you want to see into your oppoinents’ statements?

    I don’t that you’ve acurately characterized a single thing I’ve written yet.

  25. joe, why do you even bother at this point?

  26. Pour encourager les autres.

  27. And it beats working…

  28. HI#,
    If they were ever in the same room, they would annihilate each other in a glorious flash of light.

  29. “We know they were captured in Iranian waters?”

    I guess whatever waters they were captured in are de-facto Iranian now. What a shameful display of weakness on the part of the international community. (Including the U.S. and U.K.)

  30. “I wonder, how many of your delusions come down to reading what you want to see into your oppoinents’ statements?”

    ooh lawdy lawdy lawdy me.

    um. all of his posts?

    john obviously needs some basic education:

    dem i-ran-ianz pull a T34
    you pull an M1A1
    one of dem takes your guyz on the water
    you take one of deir’s dancing.
    one of dem gives you a hot karl
    you give one of deir’s a dirty sanchez.

    Dat’s the mid east way.

  31. I wonder what sort of reception the soldiers who cooperated with Iranian PR will receive. They are probably safe from court martial, since that would only intensify the embarassment.

  32. If only British Marines had the fortitude of warbloggers.

    We support the troops!

  33. To quote my buddy Col Hogan, who is generally an anti-war activist………..

    I’d have thought that Cornwall would’ve blown the Iranian savages out of the water before they could capture the patrol boats, and then dropped a few bombs ‘pon the nearest Iranian Navy base to teach them a lesson. Looks like Tony Blair is more of a yipping terrier than a bulldog.

  34. God Damn, I really hate Dave Weigel’s attitude.

  35. I guess whatever waters they were captured in are de-facto Iranian now.

    You got that right. I recall reading that the first Iranian announcement included GPS coordinates that put Brits safely on the international side of the line, which was quickly, umm, “corrected.”

    Keep in mind these Brits were enforcing the UN trade sanctions on Iran, so this was more of a spit in the eye of the UN (and the Brits) than the US. Glad to see the UN (and of course the EU, of which England is a member) stand up for one of their own, here.

    The real shame, of course, is that the Blair administration agreed to/ordered such restrictive rules of engagement for this mission. They might as well have trussed up the Marines, given their boat a sign saying “Seize me”, and pushed it towards Iran.

  36. Am I the only one that equates the whole kidnapping thing to child’s play:

    (a) Hey, you crossed my line, I told you not to cross my line. Now I shall take your 15 marbles.
    (b) I did no such thing, liar. Now, give em back, or else!
    (a) Or else what? You crossed my line, now I own your marbles.
    (b) I told you, I did not cross the line!
    (a) I’ll give you back your marbles if you just admit that you crossed the line.
    (b) Nope, never!
    (a) Ok, you don’t have to admit you crossed the line, just give me back that shiny blue marble you took last year.
    (b) Hmm…let me get back to you on that one…

    And it’s not just this incident, but many conflicts world-wide. The fate of the world rests on a bunch of childish assholes.

  37. “Keep in mind these Brits were enforcing the UN trade sanctions on Iran, so this was more of a spit in the eye of the UN (and the Brits) than the US. Glad to see the UN (and of course the EU, of which England is a member) stand up for one of their own, here.”

    I agree with RC here.

    I’ll just add, there’s no way the seizure of British sailors enforcing the Iranian sanctions plays out like this, absent the Iraq War.

    It sucks that we have to pussy-foot around with these thugs, but that’s where we find ourselves.

  38. Anywho, go White Sox!
    Did you see the new-look Sun-Times? Don’t think I like it, although the headline “Hello, Dalai” and the accompanying photo are priceless. (Not, unfortunately, on the front page of their website.)

    highnumber,

    I got the Sun-Times today. I am kind of on the fence if I like it. I’m not a big fan of the gimmicky “jump to web for more” but maybe there will be some worthwhile content that couldn’t fit in the limitations of the page.

    Overall though, it doesn’t seem to add much value — and it moved columnists around making it harder to find.

    And Go SOX! Let’s hope we get a better pitching effort today.

  39. That swishing sound you hear is joe’s comment flying over the heads of hawks.

  40. Warren,

    I think they’d lock eyes and rip each other’s clothes off in a fit of passion.

  41. “I’ll just add, there’s no way the seizure of British sailors enforcing the Iranian sanctions plays out like this, absent the Iraq War.”

    Joe you are truly a fanatic. First, you claiming that you would somehow be supporting a hard line with Iran if only it were not for the Iraq war is laughable. Second, if Husein were still in power in Iraq, how would have things played out differently? The Iranians would still be building nukes and of course giving the rest of the region justification to build their own. Iran would still be run by a criminal regime bent on dominating the region. The British would still not have the military power to protect their own people. What exactly would be different?

    Thoreu,

    Smugness and arrogance is no substitute for thought. You have been listening to Joe too much. You used to actually make salient points on here.

  42. highnumber,

    You mean the White Sox?

  43. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/04/africa/web0404-iran.php

    It doesn’t look like the Iranians got anything for this other than some propeganda from the films of the hostages. I am sure why people don’t look at this as a good thing. There is nothing in there that says the U.S. or Britian gave them anything, but perhaps that part is just not public yet.

  44. Hey, John, why don’t you try, just once, staring a comment without an insult?

    “First, you claiming that you would somehow be supporting a hard line with Iran if only it were not for the Iraq war is laughable.”

    Why is that? I’ve been denouncing this war for distracting and detracting from our efforts to deal with real secuirty issues since before it began. I suppose it’s equally laughable, in your imagination, that I’d support a “hard line” on the escape of the Al Qaeda leadership from Tora Bora.

    Just because your support for the Iraq War is based on staking out a position as a militarist, doesn’t mean my opposition is based on staking out a position as a pacifist. This episode is just another example of your foolish pride and strategic blindness getting in the way of America’s real security needs.

    “Second, if Husein were still in power in Iraq, how would have things played out differently?…What exactly would be different?” 1. We would not have been taking Iranian personnel into custody, which motivated the Iranians to snatch some trade bait. 2. We would have more freedom to act against Iran if they bucked the sanctions, because both our political and military capacity would be higher.

    “The British would still not have the military power to protect their own people.” The British have all the military power they need to protect their own people. They could sink every Iranian ship in the fleet this afternoon. They chose not to do that – partially because of the weak military and political position their involvement in the Iraq War has left them in.

  45. From John’s link: “The Iranian president said the decision to release the prisoners was not part of a swap with Iranian prisoners in Iraq.”

    All right then. We released some Iranians purely as a humanitarian gesture, and two days later, the Iranians release some Brits purely as a humanitarian gesture.

    In John’s hear, he knows that we did not trade hostages for hostages with Iran. But the facts say differently.

  46. David,

    Iran will release the 15 British sailors captured in their waters. My ASS!

    The Iranians even gave the first location of the hostage taking as in Iraqi waters.

    Nice to see this story make it to the pages of Reason after 13 days of capture.

  47. “Why is that? I’ve been denouncing this war for distracting and detracting from our efforts to deal with real secuirty issues since before it began. I suppose it’s equally laughable, in your imagination, that I’d support a “hard line” on the escape of the Al Qaeda leadership from Tora Bora.”

    I can’t read your soul Joe, but why don’t enlighten me on your hardline positions with Iran? Perhaps you really want to do something about Iran besides talk to them and hope they like us like we were some kind of prom date, if so I would love to hear about it.

    Further, if you would read what I said, I have always said from the first post on this thread that I fear that this is some kind of groveling deal on the part of the British that will just encourage the Iranians to take more hostages. If we mysteriously release the Iranians in three days, I will be outraged by it. Moreover, even when I posted the link I said that there apears not to be a deal but our end may not be public. The bottomline is that if they gave the Iranians one thing other than the promise not to bomb them into the stoneage this week for the return of those sailors it is a huge mistake.

  48. “I can’t read your soul Joe,”

    No, you can’t. You should stop mouthing off about the positions your gut tells you I must believe in.

  49. this training (?) video may help with British Navy policy in this matter.

  50. One thing I keep wondering about: does Joe have a job? He posts repeatedly on pretty much every thread. He seems to have a LOT of free time on his hands.

  51. Seamus and Rimfax have a point.

    Let’s remember that Bush’s pressure on Musharraf during the first few years after 9/11 resulted in limited but important actions against the Islamists within Pakistan. We didn’t know these details until recently.

    Someday we might discover the behind-the-scenes pressure resulting in this face-saving “gift from Iran”. Notice that Israel still hasn’t secured the return of their three soldiers from Iranian agents.

  52. The Iranians even gave the first location of the hostage taking as in Iraqi waters.

    Nice to see this story make it to the pages of Reason after 13 days of capture.

    HA, is this the first thread?

    How much Persian cock is the “world community” going to suck when they go nuclear?

  53. meerdal,

    Yeah, but it’s slow right now.

  54. I’ll just add, there’s no way the seizure of British sailors enforcing the Iranian sanctions plays out like this, absent the Iraq War.

    Why not? The diplomatic assets and capital on the line here are British, EU, and UN. The latter two, at least, have not been reduced or impaired in any way by the war in Iraq.

    What diplomatic leverage could have been used on Iran if not for the Iraq war?

    The EU and the UN have no military assets, of course, but I don’t see how the war in Iraq has depleted British military assets to the point where, but for that war, they could have done anything different.

  55. Yeah, seriously Dave, do you really think the Brits were in Iranian waters? If so, I’d love to hear your reasoning. Granted that after how things turned out with the Iraqi WMDs, we’ve ample reason to be skeptical about any claims that could potentially be used for justification of another war in the Middle East. But we certainly don’t have any more reason to trust Iran’s claim of where the Brits were when they were captured. And that they gave one set of coordinates in Iraqi waters and then revised them to be in Iranian waters is pretty damning.

    If you sincerely think they were in Iranian waters, say it outright and say why.

    And I do think the total lack of blogging of this development on H&R is sort of weak. More so than with a lot of other issues, a libertarian perspective doesn’t always provide an obvious way of understanding issues of foreign policy, but really guys, if there’s so much time for posts about feces-throwers, Canadian, monkey, or otherwise, an insightful post or two about a pretty major current event isn’t too much to ask is it?

    Granted I shouldn’t really complain until I’ve settled down at a new permanent address and renewed my subscription to the print edition. Or maybe that’s all the more reason to complain. My 11$ or 15$/yr or whatever is currently on the line!

  56. Okay, okay: No TRUE Scotsman gets caught in Iranian waters.

  57. Isn’t “John” the same fellow who was confidently pronouncing a short while ago in this excuse for time-wasting how the IDF would quickly make mincemeat of Hezbollah? That worked out exactly as he predicted, didn’t it? Forgive me if my recollection is in error.

  58. to “April 4, 2007, 2:11pm”:

    Awesome play off the poem! Well challenged!

    (it’s a favorite – so any reference to it, especially with such a cool twist, automatically qualifies you for the Darkly Award for Intertubz Achievement)

  59. Yeah, seriously Dave, do you really think the Brits were in Iranian waters? If so, I’d love to hear your reasoning.

    I think is likely that they were in Iranian waters because:

    (1) the British decided not to sink the Iranian gunboats; and

    (2) the British (who basically had control of the podium as far as our media sources go) never made a clear compelling case, with hard data, that they were in Iraqi waters.

    Instead, the British claimed:

    (1) Iran was inconsistent in the positions they gave; and

    (2) the boundary isn’t clear.

    As a lawyer, I recognize those arguments. Those are the arguments you make when you got nothing.

  60. joe, John, could I ask you two a favor? Could you filter each other? You’d both be happier, and there’d’ve been a lot less namecalling on this thread. Just think about it.

  61. HA, is this the first thread?

    Yes, and some of us are still waiting for that first thread about Sen. Webb’s assistant being busted under a silly DC gun law (and not even being charged with several others, including the “DC Machine Gun Law”)

    At risk of ignoring my rule to ignore Dave W., I say again the first position that the IRANIANS reported as the site of capture was in Iraqi waters and then they ginned-up another location after they spewed their own violation all over the world.

  62. I tend to agree. I have little doubt that the Iranians jumped the gun on this one. Oops. It can easy to forget just how off the reservation the Iranian government really is. Thankfully, they like to remind us on a regular basis.

    We shouldn’t have let them win that soccer game. It went to their heads.

  63. the first position that the IRANIANS reported as the site of capture was in Iraqi waters

    Not quite. I believe it was the British MoD who reported that the Iranians initially gave the British MoD a wrong location and then changed it. Which should raise several questions, such as:

    – why was the press talking to the British MoD and not directly to the Iranians?

    – why did the British MoD release (some of) the subject matter of what was supposed to be confidential negotiations?

    – did the Iranians have any sort of explanation for the discrepancy? if not, how do you know that?

    – was the British MoD lying out of desperation — after all, the British presumably had more direct ways to make its case — why focus on a collateral matter?

    – was there an innocent miscommunication or mistranslation?

    Of course, that is why both sides generally allow these things to go on in secret. That way the British MoD figures out to tell “Nigel Montag” what he needs to hear, while the Iranian government gets to tell “Muhammed Montag” what he needs to hear. Never the twain shall meet, nor the real truth be out.

  64. WC, I might be anti-war, but I’m pro-self defense. I’d have to be fresh out of ammo before I’d let a bunch of savages board my boat.

    The guy who told them not to fight oughta be court marshalled.

  65. “””I’d have to be fresh out of ammo before I’d let a bunch of savages board my boat.

    The guy who told them not to fight oughta be court marshalled.””””

    It speaks volumes about one’s ability to “secure” an area when you can’t “secure” yourself. It would not be the guy who told me not to fire getting the court marshall, it would be me for defending what I was assigned to defend.

  66. Where is the Leftie “outrage” at their “torture” while in captivity and being put on display?

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