April 08, 2007


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
-- John Stuart Mill

After Nick Berg, after Ken Bigley, my husband and I have discussed on numerous occasions what we would do in the unlikely event that he was ever taken hostage. I've said before that we gather strength from brave men like Fabrizio Quattrocchi. And I nod in agreement with this retired Army colonel who expresses disgust and dismay with the way the 15 British sailors chose self-preservation above any other values.

What ever happened to name, rank, and social security number?

I know this war is different than one fought in the past. Steve McQueen kept bouncing his baseball with little fear of having his head sawed off with a dull knife. You never know today if you'll be brutally murdered on a propaganda video or allowed to convert and be released. But it's not worth it to me to sacrifice my honor on the off chance I'd get to go home. I've been brought to tears by Vietnam POWs in AFN commercials enough times to know that your honor is all you have in these situations. These Brits sacrificed their honor and their country just so they could live. That captain said that they couldn't fight back against the Iranians who were taking them because then they would've surely died. Isn't this a war? Haven't you prepared yourself for the possibility that you might have to give your life in it? If not, you have no business wearing that uniform. Keep your damn leisure suit; if I were the British military, I'd yank those soldiers' uniforms so fast it'd make their heads spin. But no, the Brits are letting these sailors make book deals.

What is wrong with us these days?

Is there nothing we'll stand for? Nothing worth dying for? Nothing even worth sacrificing a small amount of discomfort for? Couldn't these sailors have at least pretended that they felt bad about their total acquiescence instead of laughing about f-ing Mr. Bean with their captors? They looked like they didn't have a care in the world, as long as they saved their own asses. Woo hoo, we're going home, and all we had to do was capitulate and sell out our country to do so. What a deal!

If this is the stuff we're made of today, we're doomed.


See also Cold Fury's The Seinfeld Sovereign

Also, cooler heads prevail hos Victor Davis Hanson, who begins with "Itís probably a good rule to do the opposite of anything the Iranian theocracy wants. Apparently, this government is now doing its darnedest to be bombed. So, for the time being, we should not grant them this wish." Sithmonkey comes up with a great alternative to bombing Iran, which you should read here.

Posted by Sarah at April 8, 2007 09:48 AM | TrackBack

I disagree with you here. I think that those soldiers did very well. I also believe that sometimes there is a time to fight, and sometimes it is better to save up your strength for a future battle. It is pretty clear that these soldiers were doomed from the beginning. This wasn't just a case of them wandering into Iranian waters. There was some plan from high up, to cause an international incident, so as to fuel Iran's propaganda machine. They were ambushed by 6 boats, I believe. Okay, yes, they could have fought, but they would have been killed, and then the story would have been: "they wandered into Iranian waters, and started shooting at us, so we killed them." I think their conduct in captivity was stiff-upper lip: we never saw pleas of mercy, crying or anything. There were just these mechanical sounding apologies. I don't think that anyone believed them. And pretty soon it became very clear (probably after that fake letter was released from the female in their ranks) that this was just some pathetic hostage situation that you would think belonged more in an Austin Powers movie, than in real life.
I don't think Iran won any points internationally with these hijinks. Perhaps at home, but they would have made it into a propaganda tool with their people no matter what. I was thinking that they must have had a pretty good commander to keep it all together, they never seemed really scared on TV. They kept their cool.
Plus it irks me that a US military commander is so quick to jump on TV and criticize soldiers of an ally publically. I mean, I find that pretty discraceful. We are supposed to be allies in this war, we are supposed to help each other. And for him to just jump onto TV and bitch smacks of self-aggrandizement, and its propaganda of another form.
I do agree that joking around with the Iranian president could have been avoided, they could have restrained themselves then. When I saw that though, I was like, what fricken country kidnaps soldiers, then has the President of their country present at the release. I mean, that is just too weird. That is not a rational country.

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at April 8, 2007 12:46 PM


This is a tough one. If we were captured in Iraq, I knew without a doubt that we would be getting the "big haircut" eventually so my attitude to my captors would be, "Screw you and the horse you rode in on".

But the Brits had a young female subordinate present and were in Iran. While we're all military and all accept the risk, I have to admit that I don't know what I would do if I had a young female subordinate to think about. I know I could not look at her without thinking of my daughters. Not to diminish a single bit what the POWs in the Hanoi Hilton went through, but they didn't have to deal with a female POW.

Yeah, yeah, I know...females can take care of themselves. But I think most males would automatically go through more extremes to protect that female than a fellow male soldier.

Posted by: R1 at April 9, 2007 12:03 AM

"We're doomed." The first true thing I have seen you write.

Posted by: Q at April 10, 2007 03:06 PM