Iran Holding American Sailors Who It Claims Drifted into Its Territorial Waters

This is the sort of contretemps that happens when one's military straddles the globe. It need not be a defining moment for anything.


A little something happened near Iran today involving the U.S. military, as reported by The New York Times:

The crews of two small Navy boats were picked up by the Iranian authorities on Tuesday after commanders lost contact with the vessels, and Pentagon officials said that Iran had agreed to return the sailors soon.

An official said that the boats appeared to have drifted into Iranian territorial waters after one of them experienced mechanical problems. The boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when contact was lost late in the afternoon, a Defense Department official said.

It was unclear how contact had been lost, and Navy officials in Washington said they were trying to determine what had happened. One official said the two vessels had failed to make a scheduled rendezvous with a larger ship to refuel…..

A senior military official said he expected the sailors to remain held overnight and be released on Wednesday. The official said that military and diplomatic contacts with the Iranians had been professional, which he credited to the stepped-up engagement over the nuclear accord. 

This is breaking news, and all the contours of it might not be precisely clear. Still, this sort of thing is apt to happen when one projects one's military half a world away from the nation it is meant to protect and near other nations.

Despite the wild knee-jerkings I'm seeing on the social networks of those who see every swipe at American amour propre as a "this means war!" provocation, it's not a story that as it stands deserves to have legs. And while I might look forward to any reason to put off the grim charade of the State of the Union address, this is not a national crisis deserving a "drop everything!" response.

Reason on Iran.


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      1. “Gotta nuke somethin’.”

    1. Ted Cruz has the weirdest boner right now.

      1. So does Ann Coulter.

      2. Why? Cruz is less warry than most of the competition.

        1. Ted Cruz has a glowing sand fetish.

          1. Ever since he lost his glow-in-the-dark K’Nex set in a sandbox as a kid, he’s had the weirdest hangups…

    2. I don’t know. A tactical on Raqqa.

      Of course with western air power the only reason Daesh continues to exist is because the Illuminati want it to.

  2. Well, this is going to crap all over Obama’s ‘look at me’ speech tonight.

    1. No, it just prove’s that he’s brought peace to the world. Look, the man has a Nobel Prize! No-Bell, baby! Everybody knows that he’s the bestest.

    2. Nothing serious, just a few more prisoners to join those we forgot about when negotiating a nuclear weapons treaty with Iran.

    3. Yes it will Dean but I was confident he was going to do a fine job of that all by himself. This will just compound it

    4. No shit, didn’t the Iranians know he had the mostest important speech to give and this crap is raining on it ?!?!

  3. I’m so goddamned sick of people thinking they can get away with this shit.

    Go in, go in now, go in now hard, and go in now hard without lube. It’s sandy over there, so that extra grit is really going to tear them up from the inside.

    They’ve basically been in an undeclared war with us since 1979. We tried to fight it by proxy during the 80s, but underestimated the complete incompetence of the fucking arabs. It’s time we finish this job correctly.

    1. So it’s glassy sand from the Mediterranean to Pakistan?
      No, thanks.

      1. Why not?

        They had a few good centuries, but we’ve already pretty much assimilated all the good ideas they’re ever going to have. And I say that as a person who hates doing algebra. They’re nothing now but a drag on everybody. That part of the world clearly can’t get it’s shit together, so fuck em, they get to die.

        1. Are you saying we’ve sunk so low that the boats’ motors came from Iran, and this is their fault?

          Or are you just so blue balled that you want to start a ruckus because our boats had an engine failure?

          Tell me, O wise one, what the heck did they do wrong in this little episode?

          1. They should have refueled the boats and sent them on their way. That’s if the initial reports of the boats simply running out of fuel are true. If it turns out that’s not the case, I’ll gladly change my opinion to reflect the new information.

            1. Engine failure – they didn’t run out of fuel. I know we’re sailors, but we’re not *complete* morons.

            2. Ah yea, if Soviet sailors had run aground on Catalina Island, you’d be saying the same, I am so sure. Or Iranian, for that matter.

            3. I mean, what’s a little killing here and there. We’re exceptional! Why can’t they just see that and understand? Especially when our politicians take turns vying for title of “most bloviated threat-maker”.

      2. We do have low yield bombs ya know.

        1. I’m sure the people downwind getting the fallout would understand. They would say, “look at how much they value freedom and human life!”


          1. Low yield, low fallout. Anyway it’s mostly empty desert. The French should do it.

            1. Then let them. Just keep me, my sons, and my tax money out of it.

          2. Air burst. Maximize the 5psi zone and you’re golden.

            1. Don’t let the fireball touch the ground and fallout is neglible.

              1. It’s getting hard for me to tell the parody from the warmongers. Poe’s law.

                1. It wouldn’t be a war, it would be a massacre.

    2. Are you cereal?

      1. Batshit Grapenuts.

        1. Maybe koo koo?

    3. “They’ve basically been in an undeclared war with us since 1979.”

      It’s the truth.

      1. 1979? Try 1953.

        1. 1953? Gee, I wonder why?

          1. But hey – *none* of the batshit insane meddling we’ve done over the last century has any bearing on how we’re perceived *today* in the ME. Those ragheads have absolutely no possible justification for being pissed off at us despite the near constant stream of coup/install dictator/have another coup to remove the dictator we installed/rinse/repeat that has been American foreign policy for longer than any of us have been alive.

          2. 1979-1953 = 26 years
            2016-1979 = 37 years

            The “revolution” has lasted a decade longer than the shah’s regime.

            1. Try 1801.

        2. Cytotoxic hasn’t learned about that far back yet in his 7th grade history class.

          Plus, when you’re a short Canadian warmonger, it’s always 1938 and it’s always Munich! Yay, war!

    4. You first. C’mon, man up.

    5. Excellent, JJ.

  4. Via Foxtrotalpha:

    Foxtrot Alpha has heard and CNN reports that the boats may have been supposed to be refueled in the proximity of the island by a larger craft. If this report is true, and the vessel never showed up, this could explain how both boats both became incapacitated.

    Bang up job, team.

    Also, there is one female sailor being held as well.

    1. So I guess it’s too soon to make any “does she whistle at herself?” jokes.

      Lord, that was awful, seriously, I pray they get out soon.

    2. Call me what ever,I just don’t like the idea of women in combat,or a possible war zone.You guys on the other hand….

      1. Some like the idea, some (like me) don’t.

      2. Why not?

        There’s a huge difference between lowering unit effectiveness because you water down requirements to put women in there and ‘women in combat’. There are plenty of roles in combat for women – mainly as vehicle operators (pilots/tankers/AFVs/Etc).

        And the difference in capability is significantly smaller in the Navy than it is in line infantry units. We employ a significant amount of automation (waaaaay more than anyone outside of the AF) which makes the average man’s increased endurance and strength largely moot.

        She can shoot an M-16 just as accurately, operate a Bushmaster just as well, stare at a PPI blankly for just as long, lift the same weight of a load with a crane, as any man.

        1. Don’t women already have lower requirements? I know they do in the Marines and Army.

          1. Yep. And that should certainly be done away with.

            Its a major problem with the Marine Corps recent ‘women in combat’ testing. They aren’t testing women who meet the same physical standards as men and seeing how they perform compared to those men. They’re testing women who meet a much, much lower physical standard and seeing how they stack up against men who meet a much higher one.

            And that’s important in an MOS where physicality is of equal important to intelligence. But there are tons of combat roles (and combat support roles that are in the shit routinely enough to be classified as fighting roles) that reduce or eliminate the importance of physical strength.

              1. Scuttlebutt I’ve read says that, yes, actually the standards were different. Mainly in how many times they got to recycle Darby, how many patrols they got to fail, if they were carrying the 240-mortar base plate-insanely heavy radio: whatever the shit thing to hump is these days. Did they have to?

                AIUI, you fail two patrols, you’re gone, and when they’d both failed one, they had a General following them until they passed Darby. Miraculously, they passed. Didn’t one or both of them have to recycle Mountains too?

                This isn’t counting the, what was it, 6 months + of isolated training just to get to the point they could do the Ranger Indoc?

                I’m proud of them: that tab should be worth a very large book contract.

                Re Agamemmon’s point on Women in the Navy: isn’t a lot of what enlisted Sailors have to do is damage control, and aren’t women materially inferior at damage control tasks—humping hoses all over the ship, moving pumps, hammering wedges/shoring up bulkheads, etc…? But their physical shortcomings are a lot less bothersome than they would be as 11s in the Army, or 03 in the Marines.

                1. I’m sorry to hear that. Media’s making out like they actually made it.

                  1. From what I’ve read Francisco, they did make it. They ran, and took part in, successful patrols. They made it through the—from an outsider’s perspective–ridiculous caloric deprivation the Army feels is necessary to stress Ranger candidates. They made it through obstacles that a lot of the men trying with them, couldn’t.

                    They just had a lot of the possible obstacles smoothed for their tabbing, that a similarly situated man wouldn’t have had done for him. Like his command would let him train for 6-12 months, then recycle phases again and again.

                    And really, why were they there in the first place? Are we suggesting that they’re now ready for an infantry command? Assuming they can handle the position, the workload would break them. It breaks 25 and 30-year-old men, mainly because the infantry carries a fuckload of stuff these days, and nobody wants to get rid of any of it.

                    The problem is the Army’s de facto insistence that officers can’t make O-6 or Flag rank if they aren’t tabbed. Even if their branch in the Army has nothing to do with Infantry, or small unit tactics.

                2. Gray Ghost – DC is *important* and you train for it a lot. But you don’t *do* a lot of it. And women can do it just fine. You’re humping stuff a couple hundred feet at a time not running a marathon. And its not like you’re doing this stuff by yourself – you’re not going to be humping a half-dozen shoring beams across the ship by yourself to reinforce a sagging deck.

                  Beyond a *minimum* bit of strength its far more important that you are smart enough to understand the systems and have enough self-control to remain in control of yourself during very hectic and dangerous situations.

                  1. Thanks for the reply, Agammamon. I had thought that it was a big part of what they drill for, if not what Sailors (and when did we start capitalizing that?) do all day. Sub guys I’d read, made it sound like the inability to carry x-kind of pump from a DC locker to wherever they needed it, was a bad thing.

                    If you’ll continue to answer my questions, do you: 1) think that women are a net positive to the Fleet, and to the .mil as a whole, especially in a time when the military is trying to reduce headcount?
                    2) think the problems with unit discipline (fraternization, leading up to the prostitution rings I’d heard of happening with new female sailors) and unwanted pregnancies (the whole “Love Boat” phenomena), have been dealt with, were overblown to begin with, weren’t a problem at all for a savvy NCO/JO to account for in staffing?

              2. Yes – they got several retries which male candidates would not have gotten.

                Plus, at the very beginning, when they joined the service as officer candidates, they were subject to lower fitness standards than their peers right out the gate.

      3. Isn’t it sorta like their decision, not yours?

    3. No – only 10 sailors. One of who happens to be a woman.

      1. You are correct. I wanted to mention the one female sailor because my assumption is that tomorrow, if the sailors are returned as the Iranian’s promised, her treatment will be the story.

  5. Kind of a dead night here.Guess everyone’s getting ready to watch the speech. (opens another beer hoping to pass out before 9)

    1. Everybody’s getting ready to watch the speech? What speech? Is there a speech tonight? Who? Somebody famous, I presume. Is David Bowie making a speech about feeling better? Charlie Sheen making a speech about how great it is to have aides? Blair Walsh making a speech on shanking a bitch?

      1. Blair Walsh making a speech on shanking a bitch?

        From his Wikipedia page:

        He was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and is responsible for sending the Vikings home in the 2016 playoffs with a missed field goal from 27 yards, sending the Seahawks to the divisional round.

        Bold is mine.

  6. So I guess the US should have also ‘expected’ this when it projected its military half-way around the world to fight the Barbary pirates?

    1. Its blowback all the way back to Cain and Abel.

      1. I read that part of the Bible. Do not understand why that guy’s offering was rejected. I’d be pissed too, but not that pissed.

        1. God’s not a vegan.


        2. I suspect a lot of Genesis would make more sense to non-Hebrew speakers if the names were translated into their native languages. For example, “Spear and Vanity, the two sons of Blood and Life….”

        3. How would you feel if you were counting on Cain’s sacrifice for the universe-warming weekend BBQ you’ve been promising the Holy Spirit and the Logos since the Fall?

        4. From what I recall, Abel gave God the best portion of his flock, while Cain just half-assed his offering. Basically, Cain treated it like an obligation or a tax, while Abel treated it like a gift given out of genuine devotion, so God appreciated what Abel did more. Because Cain was a shithead, he got all shitty about it.

          Also, it may been a way for a clan of herdsmen to metaphorically remind their descendants that farmers suck.

          Also, Abel’s gift was gluten free.

    2. I know, right? That whole “blowback” thing is just a myth. ISIS probably would have just sprung up by itself in strongman-ruled Iraq.

      You must be *this* tall to warmonger.

  7. I don’t see this as a crisis…yet.

    If obumbles is good at anything it is turning everything into a disaster so I am holding my breath.

    *Just on the radio; “who thinks the Iranians would have even taken these guys if Reagan were president? How about if trump or Cruz were?”

    1. Never waste the chance to turn a problem into a crisis ,eh?

    2. No one serious is actually intimidated by Trump.

      1. Do you have any coherent thoughts on anything?

      2. Seems like the entire establishment is scared shitless of him. Reason too, or they wouldn’t be whipping out the blatant Hitler analogies (that’s a task best left to us).

        1. A buffoon of that magnitude must not be given power.

          1. Cytotoxic is like Red ButtPlug. He has to bring up the same stupid shit even when it’s only tangentially related to the issue at hand.

            But yes, I concur with the buffoon thing.

    3. Yeah, isn’t this pretty standard? A few people get caught in foreign territory, the foreign government checks them out does a little investigation, sees that it was unintentional, send them on their way.

  8. I’m watching Coulter claiming Cruz isn’t eligible to run. Of course she claims this after tweeting he was a couple years earlier IN ALL CAPS.

    1. I really believe Coulter eats live baby birds and her jaw is hinged.

  9. People have a right to be outraged. Why if disabled Iranian military boats drifted into American waters, the Coast Guard would give the crews a hot meal while they repaired and refueled the craft for them and sent them on their way.

    1. Actually, we would have given them a crowd of white women to rape. That’s all those Muslims want to do. Shoot up marijuanas and rape white women.

      1. And listen to jazz records.

        1. It’s the only way to escape being killed by the axeman.

        2. In Obama’s America, the Iranian sailors would become instant United States citizens, vote Democratic in the next election, receive free healthcare, and would be on welfare forever.

          1. And receive gold chains and cologne.

          2. Not to mention THE JURBS! They’ll displace 100% American Sailors/Heroes!

            Probably wind up driving USN patrol boats around the Persian Gulf. Then “getting captured” and returned(sans boats). Rinse. Repeat.

          3. Or moved to Orange County, opened up a chain of used car franchises, and voted Republican.

            + Adans’ gold chains and cologne. (With laser hair removal for the girls.)

      2. Oh boys,looky what I got here!

        1. Hey, where are the kafir women at?

      3. Hey, that’s offensive. Muslims will rape fucking anything, they’re not goddamn racists.

    2. But would people be outraged if the mullahs in Iran declared a fatwah against some Muslim heretic living in Miami and sent a drone to kill him on the advice of their legal experts that striking heretics wherever they live is totes legal according to their reading of the AUMF?

      1. That would obviously depend on the reason for the declaration. These sorts of comparisons are always so stupid.

        Oh my god! Germans killed Americans in WW2, but we also killed them so they’re both killing! So it’s really the same! Cuz killing one person is no more justifiable than any other!

        Oh my god! Muslims killed Americans, but we also killed them so they’re both killing! So it’s really the same! Cuz killing one person is no more justifiable than any other!

        Oh my god! The police lock people up for kidnapping, but kidnappers are also locking people up! So they’re really doing the same thing. Cuz kidnapping one person is no more justifiable than any other!

        Repeat ad nauseam for everything. The underlying actions matter or every single war is equal with no right, wrong, good, or bad since they all execute the same actions.

        1. Also, have we ever had a drone strike in Iran? I don’t think so.

          1. Does a “crash” count as a strike?

          2. But if the Afghanis or the Pakistanis or the Yemenis did it we would freak the fuck out.

            1. But if the Afghanis or the Pakistanis or the Yemenis did it we would freak the fuck out.

              And fire whoever at the Dept of Agriculture was in charge of animal importation and quarantine, cause I can’t think of a drone that Afghans/Pashtun would come up with that didn’t involve a goat or a hawk at some point.

    3. The state of America is largely rights-protecting and therefore has rights.

      Iran is an anti-rights regime and that state has no rights.

      1. That would be every nation in the middle east and most of Africa and large parts of Asia. You really are a warmonger.

      2. I don’t think a lot of people, like Hugh up above, quite grok this.

        The rules for acceptable behavior are not equal among countries. We are allowed to do things that Iran should not be allowed to do, because our country is superior to theirs, in terms of liberty.

        It is not acceptable for them to assassinate our leader, but it is acceptable for a Western nation to assassinate their leader.

        It is not acceptable for them to detain our seamen, but it is acceptable for us to detain theirs. Hell, they’d be better off in our prison system than being back in Iran.

        It is notacceptable for them to have nuclear weapons, but it is acceptable for us to have them.

        Not sure why this is confusing for so many people.

        1. We’re even allowed to invade countries as a means of ‘pre-emptive defense’ – but other countries are not.

          1. I do wish they’d drop the pretense of “pre-emptive defense”. It really isn’t.

            But the larger point stands. Yes, we are allowed, morally, to invade other countries at our discretion, as long as the places we’re invading have fewer liberties than we do, and we institute those liberties in the places we control.

            1. But what about places that have fewer liberties than we do that we invade and *then fail to institute those liberties in the places we control*?

              Does that retro-actively make the invasion non-legitimate? Or does it only matter that we *intended* to institute those liberties but . . . well events got out of hand – not our fault?

              1. It retro-actively makes the invasion non-legitimate. And those who caused such a failure should be subject to criminal sanction.

                1. Or how about just not invading in the first place?

                2. I know, like how all of the neocons who fucked up Iraq are rotting in jail, right?

                  But hey, a few hundred thousand brown people dying isn’t so bad. I mean, I’m sure they were grateful for our magnanimous invasion right before they died.

        2. Because it’s fucking insane? Did you forget a sarc tag?

          1. None needed.

            1. I guess I need to recalibrate my sarcasm meter.

            2. For once. Honestly, a lot of time it’s pretty well within the Poe threshold.

              1. Gojira’s really throwing heat this time, isn’t he?

                Much better than when I last caught him.

      3. When the US was created it was *explicitly built on the doctrine that STATES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS, ONLY PRIVILEGES*.

        The US government has no rights. Only privileges and duties.

        Aaaaaaaaand – your formulation runs into the sticky bit where you have to ask ‘where is the dividing line between *protecting* rights and not protecting them’? How ‘largely’ does a state have to be ‘right-protecting’ to have those rights? Where is the line drawn where it loses them? If it loses a right, did it have that right in the first place?

        1. I’m pretty sure he thinks that it’s completely clear to everyone. I mean, what could go wrong?

    4. No back rubs?

  10. Are we winning in Libya yet?

  11. this sort of thing is apt to happen when one projects one’s military half a world away from the nation it is meant to protect and near other nations

    I see.

    So I guess the old saw about protecting shipping lanes counts for nothing among classical liberal anymore. Huh. And I suppose that any business that opens half a world away from the nation it started in is probably just asking for it, too.

    (That said, this is hardly a declaration of war — too soon to tell, and Iran’s apparent communication with the Pentagon to return our sailors is encouraging, at least.)

    1. Reason is pathetic on these sorts of issues.

    2. You don’t just attack them. But if they refuse to turn them over, that is an act of war and should be treated as such. Reason of course thinks that it should be open season on American citizens and forces abroad because BUSh or something.

      1. So we should start a war if they don’t immediately turn over our servicemen who were (apparently) in their territorial waters?

        I’m sure the sailor-prisoners would fare pretty well in that.

        But hey, if it strokes your warboner, it’s all good.

    3. So I guess the old saw about protecting shipping lanes counts for nothing among classical liberal anymore.

      I don’t think that they were in a shipping lane.

  12. Do I see a “Gulf of Oman Incident” in our future?

    1. I’m sure our betters can come with another bullshit story to lie us into war. Why not? The American people seem to fall for it every time.

      1. Wow, from shitty worthless agreement to war in a few months’ time.

  13. It really is Carter all over again.

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