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A Huge Propaganda Coup for the Iranians–Were Sailors Ordered Not to Fight Back?
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Persian_Gulf_mapStandard procedure at Radio Derb, when there shows up a story like this that calls for comment, is first to get the ascertainable facts in line. So off I went to Google Maps for a quick reminder of the geopolitical layout around the Persian Gulf.

It’s not that complicated. The main body of the Gulf goes very roughly north-south, with Iran on the east side and Saudi Arabia on the west side, separated by 120 miles or so of open sea—the width of the Gulf. Up at the top on the Saudi side is Kuwait. Halfway down on that same side is Bahrain, an offshore island.

So here came my first question. These American patrol boats that were captured are riverine craft, not made for the open sea. You can get from Kuwait to Bahrain by hugging the Saudi coast, which in a riverine craft you should definitely do. There is no reason ever to be closer to the coast of Iran than a hundred miles. So, question: How did they get into Iran’s territorial waters, as the Pentagon says they did?

FarsiAh, but the AP report quotes the Pentagon saying the boats were captured, quote, “near Farsi Island in the middle of the Gulf.” So back to Google Maps to look for Farsi Island. Google Maps never heard of it.

I pull down my trusty Times Atlas of the World, 1975 edition. No entry for Farsi Island. Off to regular Google. Yep, got it, smack dab in the middle of the Gulf, sixty miles from either shore. So again I ask: What were these riverine craft doing sixty miles out in the open sea?

Back to the Pentagon statement. ” … some type of mechanical trouble with one of the boats caused them to drift into Iranian territorial waters near the island …”

Say what? Absent strong winds or currents, a boat on the open sea drifts at around walking pace—maximum four or five miles an hour. To drift from close to the Saudi shore to close to Farsi Island—fifty miles minimum—would take at least ten hours. Video of the capture, which I’ll get to in a minute, shows windless weather. Currents in the gulf go up and down it, not across it, as they’d have to to get you from the Saudi shore to Farsi Island.

And there were two boats, of which, by the Pentagon account, only one had mechanical trouble. Why couldn’t the other one just tow it?

From there things just got weirder, and not in a good way. Wednesday Iran issued video of the actual capture of the two boats. The video showed the ten U.S. crew members kneeling on the deck of one boat with their hands on their heads. No large ships can be seen in the video; it looks as though it was patrol boats versuspatrol boats, although it’s hard to be sure.

Later we got video footage of the captain of one of the U.S. vessels, sitting with his fellow crew members, in Iranian captivity, being interrogated by Iranians.

Why had they penetrated Iran’s territorial waters? he was asked. The captain replied that it was a mistake, for which he apologized.

He was asked how many Iranian patrol boats captured him, and how the capture proceeded. The captain replied that the Iranian patrol boat—so I guess there was only one—came out, quote, “when we were having engine issues,” end quote.

So it wasn’t U.S. patrol boats versus Iranian patrol boats, let alone U.S. patrol boats versus Iranian capital ships; it was two of our patrol boats versus one of theirs. The Iranian boat had weapons drawn, said the captain, so, quote, “We tried to talk to them until more boats came out and took us in,” end quote.

The captain was asked how the Iranians had behaved towards him and his crew members. Replied the captain, quote, “The Iranian behavior was fantastic … We thank you very much for your hospitality.”

While these exchanges were taking place the Iranian cameraman panned across at the other U.S. crew members. One was a female. She had been given a rather fetching blue and white shawl to cover her head with. The servicewoman’s hands were free and she could have pulled the shawl off, but she didn’t.

Iran-image-9

That interview takes the whole thing from weird to radically weird. The interview itself violates both the Geneva Convention and the U.S. military Code of Conduct. Precise quote from the latter, quote:

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability.

Come to think of it, the Code of Conduct also says, quote:

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

capturedweaponsThose U.S. patrol boats are well armed, as the Iranian video of the capture was at pains to show, laying out all the weapons to be seen. Shouldn’t our guys have made a fight of it?

On the other side, our military personnel are under the orders of their superiors. We haven’t heard of any communication problems, so presumably our sailors had time to communicate the situation to their commanders. If they had orders from their commanders, possibly even from the Pentagon, to yield without a fight, to kneel, and to apologize, then they would have been under strong psychological pressure to obey those orders, whatever they might have felt about them.

So I’m not second-guessing our servicemen here. I’m too intimately close to the U.S. military to want to do that, anyway. I’m just pointing out that the whole affair was highly peculiar, and the facts as presented don’t add up.

Of one thing at least there can be no doubt: This incident was a huge propaganda coup for the Iranians, and for Islamia in general. See the infidels kneel! Hear them apologize! See the kaffir woman forced to cover her shameless naked hair!

ORDER IT NOW

It’s not the first such show they’ve put on, either. We tend to forget these things, but nine years ago there was a very similar incident involving the British Navy. Fifteen British sailors were seized by Iran while searching a cargo ship. They were held for two weeks. The one woman among them was made to wear a headscarf. They apologized and thanked their captors on Iranian TV. They even used the same word for the Iranian treatment of them as our patrol-boat captain used: “fantastic.” You might almost think the Iranians have this scripted.

Again, I’m loth to second-guess our servicemen, or even our diplomats—not even our shallow, vain, and foolish Secretary of State. Given the number of open questions here, it’s possible all was done for the best.

Still, it would be really satisfying if, the next time some third-rate towel-head despotism decides to humiliate our service personnel for propaganda purposes, we made them pay a price for it. A couple of capital ships would be a fair price, I think; bows under, screws in the air, slipping gently below the waters of the Persian Gulf.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran 
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  1. I admit to being really conflicted here. An American military that puts women on submarines, pretends that women can become Rangers or even Special Forces, and that permits pseudo-weddings between homosexuals in West Point’s chapel (I haven’t confirmed this, but it seems plausible) is worthy of no respect anyway. So if a foreign military doesn’t respect American soldiers, sailors and airmen, I really can’t get too worked up. And so much of what the U.S. military now does has nothing to do with genuine U.S. security or even genuine strategic interests (what the hell is a riverine craft doing in the Middle East?) that a “defeat” is something I find myself hoping for. If Americans paraded in chains gets some colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors (and Navy equivalents) to gather their residual self-respect and overthrow the whole rotten establishment, it would have served its purpose.

    I know that John has a son in the U.S. Army and I respect his choice. If I had a son I would advise him to dodge the draft, if the U.S. still had one; nothing he will be sent to do will actually improve American security. If a son had genuine military interest, I’d tell him to consider the French Foreign Legion, or the military of Russia–I think that they accept foreign volunteers.

  2. Vendetta says:

    Sounds like some sort of espionage mission gone wrong. The results were certainly embarrassing, but considering how the Turks responded to an alleged seventeen-second breach of their airspace, in the end I say we’re lucky the IRGC decided to play games with the sailors instead of machine-gunning the lot of them and dumping their bodies into the Gulf.

    If we’re feeling vindictive, proper response would be to do something that embarrasses them in return, not to escalate things by killing them.

    Have a US air squadron show up and buzz the next IRGC naval training exercise, for example, towing banners with nude pinup girls on them.

    That’ll have the rest of the world laughing at them with you, rather than starting up a pointless, stupid shooting war.

  3. David says:

    We should go kill a bunch of Iranian sailors because Iran reminded us that the Iranian government is the legal authority in Iranian territory? Those sailors had no more right to fire on the Iranian craft than the Derb would have to shoot a traffic cop. I think this great man is having an emotional reaction in a rather uncharacteristic direction.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  4. Still, it would be really satisfying if, the next time some third-rate beanie-headed despotism decides to humiliate and KILL our service personnel for propaganda purposes, we made them pay a price for it. A couple of capital ships would be a fair price, I think; bows under, screws in the air, slipping gently below the waters of the Persian Gulf.

    Never Forget when Israel attacked the USS Liberty and killed 34 US sailors and Americans

  5. Kirt says:

    It seems pretty evident that this was a US Navy probe to see how close they could get to an Iranian naval base and what the Iranian reaction would be. The US military has done this on a pretty routine basis throughout the Cold War and post-Cold War era. There is always the danger of some over-reaction with lives being lost, but the Iranians played this one just right – alert enough to show they would not be patsies, but quite friendly in their handling of the US crew. I cannot imagine why Mr. Derbyshire wants to treat this as a war situation and then make it one. He’s one of the last people I would have expected to go all neocon on us, but maybe I’ve misjudged him. The real problem is US military involvement in the ME and the Gulf to begin with.

    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @International Jew
  6. bob sykes says:

    It is likely that Obama has ordered the military to stand down in all confrontations with an adversarial state. There may be exceptions, especially if the adversaries start shooting.

    Unfortunately, our adversaries are learning to have contempt for American service men and women. One of the Iranians claimed the Americans cried when they were captured. Likely untrue, but a dangerous propaganda point none-the-less. At some point, one of our adversaries might test the extent of Obama’s orders and attack an American unit. Perhaps a reconnaissance plane. Then it gets scary.

    This situation will obtain until the next Presidency. If that President is Bernie Sanders, the most likely outcome of the election, the exposure of our service men and women to unprovoked attacks will become extreme, and a rather large war is likely.

  7. Rehmat says:

    Ha, ha, ha ….. Thanks for enlightening us Mr. Derbyshire that US Marines are not combatant soldiers but just innocent sailors!

    I guess next time you’re going to tell us that the members of US Special Force that conducted the failed ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ to rescue American spies cornered inside Tehran embassy, were in fact aid workers taking hamburgers to the American trapped inside US embassy in Tehran.

    Last month, a US court ordered Obama administration to pay $4.4 million, or $10,000 each of 444 days, to each of the 52 Americans who were holed in the US Embassy known as Den of Spies on November 4, 1979.

    A group of Iranian students stormed US embassy in Tehran in response to Jimmy Carter’s administration allowed the deposed Shah to seek refuge in the US on ‘medical reasons’. The so-called hostage affair became a national pride on both sides when Jimmy Carter after failing to get the American released even after usual military threats and UNSC resolution – ordered a disastrous military rescue, code name, Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, in which ten US military personnel died as result of desert storm even without the knowledge of Iranian air force.

    Israel and US Jewish lobby groups used the incident to fan hatred toward the Iranian people for supporting Islamic Revolution against Israel’s top Muslim ally, King Reza Shah….

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/12/26/10000day-for-living-in-seized-us-embassy-in-iran/

    • Replies: @random observer
  8. If Derbyshire is so gung ho to start a war, he is more than welcome to go back to the UK and cheerlead for them to start fighting. We have enough immigrants wanting “Lets you and him fight”. Take Max Boot with you when you go, Derb, I am sure he could find transit back to Russia.

  9. MEexpert says:

    Typical neocon rant from Derbyshire. He wants war no matter what. How could this event have been arranged by the Iranians for propaganda purposes? Perhaps they weren’t US boats but Iranian vessels disguised as the US boat and the crew was Iranian disguised as American sailors. What nonsense?

    Derbyshire raises all these questions but he does not offer any answers. His only answer is war. He invokes Geneva convention which does not kick in unless the two parties are at war. Last I heard the US and Iran are not at war.

    What a stupid article.

  10. YIH says:

    ”A Huge Propaganda Coup for the Turkish–Were Russians Ordered Not to Fight Back?”
    FIFY

  11. @Kirt

    If it was a test of the Iranians’ alertness, then it was a pretty weak test. How alert does anyone need to be to notice two loud powerboats in the open sea?

    Navigational error seems more plausible. After all the Iranian territorial water they wandered into wasn’t the water off the Iranian mainland coast, but water around a little island that’s smack in the middle of the gulf.

  12. @David

    You could make a case that the US Navy has no business patrolling the Persian Gulf. But as long as the President thinks otherwise, he needs to let them defend themselves.

    • Replies: @David
    , @random observer
  13. Immigrant from former USSR [AKA "Florida Resident"] says:

    Either those US military boats
    came into the Iranian territorial waters near their naval base,
    or they did not.
    What business those small boats had to be close to Iranian base,
    even if not formally in the Iranian territorial waters?

    What would be the reaction of US Navy,
    if Chinese military boats came close to Okinawa US Naval base?

    With my respect of Mr. Derbyshire,
    this is one of the rare cases I disagree with the tone of his post.

  14. Unhinged Reaganite BS From Warmongering white supremacist Neocon ZIonist turd. Childish idiotic jingoism –pathetic.

  15. David says:
    @International Jew

    So you would make the case that the President has the right to send US Marines to any waters in the world, or in the Middle East, and if another country objects to its territorial waters being entered, bang! They’re dead.

    I want for others what I want for myself, which in this case is the right to control what’s mine. Perhaps you feel the need to reason around that limitation.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  16. Farsi Island is Iranian territory, held and occupied by Iran. By convention, it has a 3-mile territorial limit.

    No state of war exists between Iran and the US. The Geneva Convention HAS NO APPLICABILITY to the situation.

    The taking of the riverine boat was SOP. The riverine boat is an armed, flagged military vessel with uniformed military crew. Even if they declare an SOS condition (which they apparently did not), the fact of the riverine boats being armed military craft dictates the absolute requirement of a well-ordered surrender of arms, and a polite negotiation with respect to return of equipment, arms, and personnel.

    Everything was done SOP. Derbyshire, quite obviously, has never been in a small military craft that loses power at sea. For the love of God, will you nut-job warhawk wackos knock it the hell off?

  17. I think this thing was staged to make both the US and Iran look good. Iran looks “tough but reasonable” and the US Administration looks good for getting everybody out alive without a war.

    I think they staged that alleged Bin Laden raid as well to get people off the birth certificate issue which Trump had raised a few days before.

  18. Polymath says:

    Nobody, including Derbyshire, is emphasizing the absolutely critical issue of fact on which everything else depends, but is instead eliding it as if it doesn’t matter much.

    Either the American ships were in Iranian waters, or they were not.

    If they were not, then Derbyshire is absolutely right to counsel belligerent response, and I get the impression that Derbyshire doesn’t think the boats were in Iranian waters, but he doesn’t make the distinction explicit as he should.

    If they were, then either it was inadvertent or it was intentional.

    If it was inadvertent, the captains of both boats should be cashiered because there is no way TWO riverine boats ought to drift several dozen miles because of engine trouble, which would take several hours, without calling for and receiving aid from other American ships. The Iranian island should have been avoided by the ancient technique known as “dropping anchor”.

    On the other hand, if it was intentional, then either it was done clandestinely to probe the Iranians in some way, in which case whoever conceived of the mission and approved it should be demoted because it was idiotically risky, or it was done in cahoots with the Iranians for diplomatic purposes, in which case Obama ought to be impeached.

  19. Polymath says:

    To put it another way: someone should be fired, and it’s Congress’s job to figure out who by holding hearings to figure out which of the four mutually exclusive factual situations actually occurred:
    (1) the boats were not in Iranian waters and whoever ordered them not to resist capture should be fired
    (2) the boats were in Iranian waters accidentally and their captains should be fired
    (3) the boats were in Iranian waters clandestinely and someone high up in the Pentagon should be fired
    (4) the boats were in Iranian waters with advance notice to Iran and Obama should be impeached (or, if he didn’t know about it whoever ordered it should be court martialed for treason).

    I don’t think there’s any scenario in which Congress should not demand accountability, there is no explanation for what happened that does not involve someone (and probably more than one) deserving to lose their jobs and possibly more.

    Am I missing any possibility here?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @MarkinLA
  20. @John Jeremiah Smith

    Even a warship has the right of “innocent passage” through the territorial waters of another country as long as the passage does not endanger the peace, good order or security of the other state. There are some rules about innocent passage (e.g., a submarine may only do so on the surface, and aircraft carriers may not launch or recover aircraft) but simply entering the territorial waters of another state is not a violation of international maritime law, even if done so by a warship.

    If the U.S. Navy vessel (again, why was a riverine vessel that far from rivers???) was doing something (reconnaissance, perhaps) that somehow threatened the Iranian island, then the Iranian response might have been justified, but mere presence does not justify stopping and seizing. The U.S. Navy routinely runs “freedom of navigation” exercises, but usually with much larger ships. The fact that it was a riverine ship, and the crew surrendered quickly, probably indicates an activity inconsistent with the right of innocent passage.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
    , @anon
  21. @Diversity Heretic

    For your post, “Yes, but …”

    “Innocent passage” requires the vessel to be under power or under sail. The one in question was adrift.

    I suspect the entire event may have been an experimental invasion of sovereignty — particularly since we’re talking Farsi is known to be occupied by the Revolutionary Guard, not the Iranian military arm per se. Maybe a plot of some kind within the zionist-leaning American military? That was defused quickly by the real bosses on both sides?

    Dunno.

    A riverine boat would probably have some difficulty towing another of the same size in open waters of the ocean.

    “Dropping anchor” was one of the more hilarious suggestions noticed in the message base. Any riverine boat carrying enough anchor chain to set anchor in the middle of the Gulf would have been decks awash from the weight of the chain.

    • Replies: @David
    , @Polymath
    , @Polymath
    , @anon
  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The US has agreements with the Gulf Arabs that let us patrol their waters with Coast Guard ships. Apparently, coast guards have certain abilities to board and inspect ships that navies lack. That’s what the US Coast Guard sailors explained to me when the refueled on our cruiser in the middle of the Gulf in 2003. I think the conversation started “Coast Guard? What the [email protected] are you doing out here” “I know, right! What the [email protected] are we doing out here?” A pause. “No… seriously, what are you doing out here?” He then explained this treaty business to me.

  23. bunga says:

    “Of one thing at least there can be no doubt: This incident was a huge propaganda coup for the Iranians, and for Islamia in general.”

    and then

    “Still, it would be really satisfying if, the next time some third-rate towel-head despotism decides to humiliate our service personnel for propaganda purposes, we made them pay a price for it. ”

    The anger is palpable The frustration is steaming hot. The tension is bursting at the seams.

    All you need is some dental work at your missing teeth that you lost yrs ago from biting too much that you can’t chew and from unattended complications of drinking cheap booze brewed in the tavern next to the church you go on Sunday to pall around persons like Sarah Pallin and Huckabee . They fully will endorse your impotent racism and might guide you where to go to sell it .

  24. David says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    One of those boats could easily pull the other. We can see there’s no chop or wind.

    Most small boats only use chain in the rode close to the anchor if at all, with nylon line making up the rest for, as you say, weight and stowage considerations and because it keeps the angle at which the boat pulls against the anchor right. It’s certain those ships are carrying anchors and line sufficient to use them. For a boat with any propeller, an anchor and a sufficiently long rode for the operating area are required by law up and down the east coast of the US anyway.

    Like this: http://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvisor/Selecting-An-Anchor-Rode

    A $200 handheld GPS will record a track (proof of where you’ve been) and remember thousands of way points, which when approached, can cause the GPS to sound an alarm. These two boats weren’t lost.

  25. Polymath says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    It’s not ridiculous for a boat that is drifting because of engine trouble to drop anchor BEFORE it gets “out of its depth”. That’s another ancient concept which is still relevant to navigation today. If a boat is not equipped for safe deep water operations and due to engine trouble it begins to drift away from its shallow-water shore-hugging mission, then to fail to notice in time to drop anchor is dangerous incompetence.

  26. DES says:

    “When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability.

    “I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.”

    Do these provisions apply? How can one be a “prisoner of war” when there is no war? Similarly, does the provision regarding “surrender” apply when there is no battle?

  27. Polymath says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    Furthermore, the maximum depth of the Persian Gulf is only 90 meters, that is certainly not too deep for a riverine boat to be equipped with a sufficient anchor chain.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  28. @Polymath

    Furthermore, the maximum depth of the Persian Gulf is only 90 meters, that is certainly not too deep for a riverine boat to be equipped with a sufficient anchor chain.

    I had a feeling I’d get called on that one. Okay, so why didn’t they drop anchor? And why didn’t the other boat take them in tow? The entire incident seems weird, and perhaps staged.

    When the lieutenant reads the canned “apology”, his expression is one of someone who has been advised ahead of time that situation protocol allows, even suggests, for him to do that.

    • Replies: @Stephen
  29. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I have to disagree with the tone of this article and its general sentiment. That US ship was in IRANIAN territorial waters. At least technically and even if 100% accidentally, IT WAS TRESPASSING. How would Americans like it if Iranian patrol boats were operating off their shoreline or in the Gulf of Mexico? If US ships were not in the Gulf – itself a provocation – this whole sorry mess would never have happened.

  30. @John Jeremiah Smith

    “No state of war exists between Iran and the US. The Geneva Convention HAS NO APPLICABILITY to the situation.”

    Now now, don’t go confusing crazed neo-con warmongers like Derbyshire with the facts.

    He’s such a piss-poor parent that his marginally employable child signed up to kill for the biggest mass murderers on the plane.

  31. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    “A riverine boat would probably have some difficulty towing another of the same size in open waters of the ocean.”

    Only partially true, and only if the currents were against it. In any case the narrow and shallow waters of the Persian Gulf are hardly the “open waters of the ocean”. Nowhere can you be more then about 60 miles from land and the Gulf is not even a 100 meters deep.

  32. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    I’d like to see the American reaction if a Chinese, North Korean or Iranian warship were to engage in the “innocent passage” through American territorial waters…..

    • Replies: @random observer
  33. @David

    if another country objects to its territorial waters being entered, bang! They’re dead

    Depends *how* they object. If one of our ships happens into the territorial waters of, say, Norway, the Norwegian navy isn’t going to take our sailers prisoner (even for a day) much less point guns at them, make them kneel hands behind their heads, disarm them, etc.

    Even if you’re outraged that our sailers are in the Middle East to do the Zionists’ dirty work or whatever, as an American it should bother you to see American servicemen treated like that.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @David
    , @anon
  34. BDoyle says:

    Ummm… We can’t sink a couple of Iranian capital ships. They don’t have any.

  35. pyrrhus says:

    According to some Americans who have been involved in this sort of endeavor in special forces, the Iranian patrol boat, or boats, carry at least one gun capable of blowing these riverine craft out of the water in short order. Hence, according to them, it was in fact a “hands up” situation.

  36. Stephen says:
    @John Jeremiah Smith

    When the lieutenant reads the canned “apology”, his expression is one of someone who has been advised ahead of time that situation protocol allows, even suggests, for him to do that.

    His expression was of a person who was clearing his diary for the court martial while at the same time imagining a new line being added to his personnel file: ‘not for further promotion’.

    • Replies: @John Jeremiah Smith
  37. “Still, it would be really satisfying if, the next time some third-rate towel-head despotism decides to humiliate our service personnel for propaganda purposes, we made them pay a price for it.”

    Next time the towel-heads seize your guys off Baltimore, feel free to go for it.

    • Replies: @Realist
  38. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    It doesn’t bother you to see “our sailers” willing to take your money via Uncle Sam to run his shameful empire?

    Please try to look at this as if you lived in Iran. After all, that is where it happened.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  39. Thirdeye says:

    If the U.S. Navy vessel (again, why was a riverine vessel that far from rivers???) was doing something (reconnaissance, perhaps) that somehow threatened the Iranian island, then the Iranian response might have been justified…..

    So please, Mr. Expert Derbyshire, how were the Iranians supposed to verify that the boats operating near their facility were doing nothing untoward, such as reconnaissance or intel gathering, without inspecting them and interrogating the crew? Just take the American commander’s word for it and wave them along on their merry way? You glossed over one important difference between a detention interrogation and a POW interrogation under the Geneva Conventions. The Iranians had a compelling need, and right, to know the full nature of a suspicious encounter in their territorial water near their own military installation.

    If you’re going to whine about how the Iranians approached this situation, you might consider this account of an American civilian who got lost on the Trident submarine base in Bangor, Washington. He was intercepted and detained by a busload of Marines with weapons ready until he could verify his innocence and reason for being where he wasn’t supposed to be. The requirement for full surrender posture applies to everyone who arouses suspicion in a militarily sensitive area, even if they are a citizen of that country.

    The notion that “innocent passage” of an adversary’s craft can be presumed near your own military installation is laughable. The default presumption is that and adversary’s craft in that situation has adversarial intentions.

  40. jtgw says: • Website
    @Polymath

    I completely agree.

    I think D is saying at the end that, whoever is responsible at the top, we should not tolerate a situation where our servicemen are publicly humiliated. If the Geneva code is not applicable, since we are not formally at war with Iran, that only means we are formally at peace with them and they should not arrest our sailors as if they were the enemy. At the same time, we shouldn’t go about intruding in their territorial waters without notifying them. The question is whether Iran, our own leaders or the sailors are at fault. We just don’t have the facts, but given the diplomatic implications I concur that Congress should investigate.

    • Replies: @boogerbently
    , @MarkinLA
  41. David says:
    @International Jew

    I’m ashamed when members of my tribe behave shamefully. That makes me a…

  42. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website

    Honestly, Derb, I don’t see much “propaganda coup” in all that. Sh.t happens, people do get kneeled all the time, navigation mistakes are also made pretty often. Guess who is remembered with admiration today–this neurasthenic Wesley Clark or gruff and tough British paratrooper General Sir Jackson, who refused to follow orders of an idiot? You know, Slatina Airport, Serbia, 1999? You want to see issues with Geneva Convention–try both wars in Chechnya. Skinning alive, beheadings and all other “wonderful” things. Geneva Convention you say?

  43. @anonymous

    Um, I’m not an Iranian, I’m an American. I put America’s interests first and I’m not going to apologize for it.

    Here, I’ll give you an example: if in a future confrontation between American and Iranian boats, there appears to be a 1% chance any of the Iranians will shoot any of the Americans, I’d be fine with us killing every last Iranian in sight.

  44. jtgw says: • Website

    Some say that Iranian hardliners may have done this to provoke the US into retaliation, giving them a pretext to oust Rouhani and the moderate faction, that our sailors were in international waters and our own government has ordered them to keep quiet about this to avoid escalation.

    I sympathize with Derb’s contempt for how Muslims and Muslim regimes too often behave, but we have to put that in the context of our imperialistic policies in the region. All too often we assume that we have a right to interfere in everyone else’s affairs, so that it is understandable that the locals view us with suspicion. I absolutely do not agree that this situation should have been escalated, but this does not connote approval of the video. I think it does raise questions about our military presence in the area.

  45. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @International Jew

    Dude, you have serious issues with Salvo Equations and the issue of a “leaker”, if you know what I mean;-)) If you are a Jew, however international you are, you should be aware of INS Hanit’s fate. And that was pretty average C-802 made in China (wink, wink).

  46. @Stephen

    His expression was of a person who was clearing his diary for the court martial while at the same time imagining a new line being added to his personnel file: ‘not for further promotion’.

    What a load of ignorant bullshit. I did a full enlistment during the Vietnam War. I don’t know how much time you spent in military service, what branch, or what assignment, but you sound like a fat quartermaster sitting at a procurement desk in Sioux Falls.

  47. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    “the Norwegian navy isn’t going to take our sailors prisoners”

    We have an alliance with Norway. Orange and apple comparison.

    “As an American it should bother you to see American servicemen treated like that.”

    How about how the American servicemen on the Liberty were treated by Israel?

    • Agree: Realist
    • Replies: @International Jew
  48. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    “I put America’s interest first.”

    America’s interests are not served by conflict with Iran. Israel’s interests are.

    • Replies: @International Jew
  49. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    With respect to its “interests,” is “America” the people who live here, or is it the government under which they live?

  50. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    Here, I’ll give you an example: if in a future confrontation between American and Iranian boats, there appears to be a 1% chance any of the Iranians will shoot any of the Americans, I’d be fine with us killing every last Iranian in sight.

    ain t that just like a jew.
    if you was really American you’d comply with the rules of road.

    now me? I’m an American.
    I’m all in favor of killing every jewish neocon in sight for the shitstain they’ve created of US foreign policy. after a trial of course. then hang em.

  51. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What were they really doing there? Were they on a spying mission, probing defenses, what? What was the route they took prior to capture? One could suppose the Iranians might be on alert for things like agents being inserted who go on to do things like assassinate their nuclear scientists and carry out other acts of terrorism. Suppose the Americans did decide to open fire, what then? If the Iranians fired back some of the Americans might have gotten killed. That would have been even worse and an unpleasant situation might have been triggered. It’s not reducible to a schoolyard fight where someone is afraid of being called a chicken.

  52. Realist says:
    @Simon in London

    “Next time the towel-heads seize your guys off Baltimore, feel free to go for it.”

    Yes, indeed.

  53. Blobby5 says:
    @Bill Jones

    Unfair, Derb has mentioned his son has always sought a career in the military.

  54. @anon

    America’s interests are not served by conflict with Iran. Israel’s interests are.

    Nice. So, Iran seeking confrontations with the US must mean Iran is Israel’s best friend. I’m so relieved!

    • Replies: @Thirdeye
  55. @anon

    How about how the American servicemen on the Liberty were treated by Israel?

    Not so well, not so well. At least the Liberty returned fire and Lyndon Johnson didn’t pretend it was a triumph for his diplomacy.

  56. @Bill Jones

    At the risk of seeming to confirm Godwin’s Law, some of you guys sound like America has disappointed you so much you wish it destroyed.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  57. gcochran says:

    John, I remember when you wanted to go to war because some Arab country kept Condoleeza Rice waiting for half an hour.

    Do we have to do the sloth thing again?

  58. Thirdeye says:
    @International Jew

    So, Iran seeking confrontations with the US must mean Iran is Israel’s best friend. I’m so relieved!

    Your “wit” apparently makes you a legend in your own mind.

  59. @jtgw

    They weren’t “publicly humiliated”, they were treated like enemy combatants.
    Disarmed and taken into custody.
    THE END.
    I agree that the “accountability” aspect needs to be determined.
    But, we’re still “trying” to determine accountability for banking indiscretions that led to the recession, now, aren’t we ? OBVIOUS e-mail indiscretions by Clinton.
    We have NO accountability, here, anymore. Just greed and arrogance……and PC, of course.

  60. @Rehmat

    Funny how, despite all the conflicts and diplomatic brouhahas of the last 40+ years, I can remember only three assaults on embassies, and all three in Tehran.

    It’s as if there is something in the water that prevents them from respecting normal diplomatic conventions- whether it’s a hysterical crowd not properly controlled by Iranian police, or a hysterical crowd egged on by the Iranian state, or both. And whether or not there are “spies”. Every country’s embassy everywhere has the gathering of information as one of its missions, and every country with an intelligence service uses them for that mission. It’s par for the course. It doesn’t mean you get to allow your mob of loud-mouthed half-wits to violate the Vienna Convention.

    Now this latest incident, on the other hand, seems like a clear violation of Iranian territorial waters by the US military. I don’t see why the Iranians should have to tolerate that.

  61. @International Jew

    Then they need to stick to those portions of the Gulf that are international waters, or are the territorial waters of US allies who have requested these patrols, or at least agreed to permit them.

    Perhaps Cuba should send a patrol boat into the Florida keys and see whether the US considers this acceptable behaviour. [Granted, the US probably would treat the sailors better and not go out of its way to publicize their condition, but it would still seize them and probably keep the boat.]

  62. @anon

    I think the Chinese may have done that recently off Alaska. Not sure- they may not have actually entered US waters. They definitely did do an exercise in that region of the north Pacific, which is itself a bit of a tweak to the nose of the US, which has long assumed its sole right to the oceans for naval purposes.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  63. MarkinLA says:
    @Polymath

    Yeah, it is a CIA F-up like Benghazi so the only Congressional hearings about it will be for political theater. I think there is a mutual agreement never to discuss CIA bungles openly.

  64. MarkinLA says:
    @random observer

    The Chinese are building their blue-water capabilities. They aren’t tweaking our noses they are doing what Teddy Roosevelt did with his Great White Fleet – telling the world that the US Navy is a force to be reckoned with.

  65. MarkinLA says:
    @jtgw

    that only means we are formally at peace with them and they should not arrest our sailors as if they were the enemy.

    The Iranians have every right to try and determine if this was a covert act or just an honest mistake. We would have the same right if a Russian Trawler found itself too close to an American naval base and their sailors just said “One of our guys caught a huge tuna and we didn’t want to lose it”. Would that work for you?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  66. jtgw says: • Website
    @MarkinLA

    What is the protocol for these kinds of incidents? There are rules against publishing humiliating videos of captured enemy soldiers in wartime, which to me suggests that, when not at war, we should treat foreign soldiers with more, not less, respect than that.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  67. MarkinLA says:
    @jtgw

    What??? Who said they were mistreated? That was the neocon media. Putting them in a position where they cannot attempt an act of violence is normal when you take somebody into custody. Were they beaten or assaulted in any way? If not, then nothing of significance happened.

    What is this nonsense about publishing humiliating videos? Did the Iranians make them dog-pile naked on each other and video tape it? Did the Iranians make them piss on a Bible or Torah while being video taped?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  68. jtgw says: • Website
    @MarkinLA

    Whether or not you approve, publishing videos and photographs of captured soldiers is against the rules of war. I would think that, absent a state of war, these rules would apply all the more. So Iran behaved inappropriately. I completely agree that we were right not to escalate, which I think was Iran’s intention, or at least the intention of the hardliners in the Revolutionary Guard who probably orchestrated the incident. But I can also see why it raised hackles at our end.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  69. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @jtgw

    Whether or not you approve, publishing videos and photographs of captured soldiers is against the rules of war.

    How about the US displaying the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein’s two sons like trophies for the world to gawk at? Any violations there?

    intention of the hardliners in the Revolutionary Guard who probably orchestrated the incident.

    How could the Revolutionary Guards orchestrate this? They didn’t drag the American boats into Iranian waters.

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