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.