British Soldiers "Trespassing" in Iranian Waters: U. K. and U. S. Response(s)


Okay, I’m just about overcome with . . . well, such a wild mix of emotion at the Iranian capture of fifteen (15) British soldiers found trespassing in Iranian waters. Now, I’m no expert on international law, maritime law, nor politics (though I do love to pontificate on the latter), so what you are about to read is one woman’s rant. Correction: one American woman’s rant.

So maybe the sailors were in the waters illegally. I’m not sure what the usual protocol is on this, but as we are not (yet) at war with Iran, I would imagine that it’s wrist slap time. I mean, what would have happened if these men and one women had been found there oh, say two, three years ago? But it’s not then, it’s now. And Iran is all itching for a fight, aren’t they? (this has been noted around blogland, of course, but perhaps best by Simon.) So, they have “our” troops, not American but those of our closest ally, and now both Blair and Bush are calling that they be released unharmed.

What surprises me is that this surprises anyone. Not the capture, that’s sort of a surprise, though it shouldn’t be, but the call for their release. Did anyone honestly think that the British Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America were going to . . . oh, shrug and say, those very bad trespassing troops; they have been arrested as they deserved. And good thing they wrote those letters and taped those confessions because otherwise we might be shaky about the facts here. Luckily, they’ve admitted all wrong doing, so we’ll just wash our hands of them. Um, likely not. I have found myself wondering how British people who hate Bush and America would feel if we did nothing, if our President said nothing. I’d guess they’d be angry and outraged by that, too. Goes to show . . . .

Anyway, one thing about all this that I found actually amusing is the story about Iranian citizens throwing rocks and firecrackers (!) at the British embassy and demanding the ambassador be expelled from the country (novel idea: why not expel the British prisoners?). Sorry, I know it shouldn’t be funny, but it kind of is; I guess it’s just a total difference in culture. Imagine if the U. S. had its prisoners video weird confessions and write bizarre letters to be shown publicly. I can’t even think what the result would be, but I suspect it would entail belly laughter and eye rolling. It’s interesting to see that middle eastern countries have no more idea how to communicate with us than we do with them.

I wonder how things might have been different if we had (as Bush said) “stayed the course” in Iraqistan? If we hadn’t been forced to the policies regarding Iraq that we’ve been following, Iran would never have been emboldened to do this, to push for war, to commit (what I take to be) an act of war. And of course, we’ll end up in a far worse war, with far more loss of life, than we’d have had at the outset. And I honestly think it wouldn’t have to have happened if we hadn’t tied the hands of our leaders over Iraq (I mean once we were there; going in the first place was a mistake I think). But again, done is done, and everyone talking about how awful that war was will have a good, long, hard look at something far worse all too soon, I’m afraid. Well, we ALL think war is horrible and to be avoided, I know, but some of us think that it’s possible to ignore such acts of aggression and to keep peace all on our own (that whole “it takes two” thing holds in matters of war, I’m afraid.). We’re on our way to war, I suspect, and we didn’t have to be. We really didn’t.

One thing that I’ve seen again and again around blogland is the repetition of statements like “Bush is a pansy” or “Bush is a pussycat with no claws” or substitute “America” for “Bush” in these configurations, that’s okay, it’s what I’ve read. So. What do we make of that? Well, personally, it makes me angry to see that. In part because I can see why it might seem true. History repeats, right? We wiffled and waffled and didn’t do anything about Hitler during the first several years of World War II; we kind of looked the other way, really (or not, if like Iran’s fine leader, you don’t believe the Holocaust happened). Why wouldn’t Japan imagine they could roll right over us? So Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Well, that got our head out of our . . . behinds in a hurry. We reacted. A lot. And Japan’s leader famously stated, We have awakened a sleeping giant, and instilled in him a terrible resolve.” Oops.

Despite everyone’s uproar about what warmongers we Americans are, we really hold back and drag our feet about war. Historically speaking. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that something is going to happen, something awful that will again awaken a sleeping giant and instill in us a terrible resolve. It happened with 9/11, but we forgot.


23 thoughts on “British Soldiers "Trespassing" in Iranian Waters: U. K. and U. S. Response(s)

  1. Sadly, there is this ever increasing impression that the Iranians are playing games and taunting the international community.

    What really worries me now is that when I sit and contemplate the different ways open for the West to deal with Iran, the options get fewer and fewer.

    In fact the options just get scarier and scarier.

  2. well, i don’t know what’s going to happen with regards to iran. i don’t really understand these sorts of things and how they work. all i can say is, whatever we do, it will probably be seen as the wrong thing by those countries/people that don’t like us. we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. that’s how it’s been playing out for decades.

  3. “It’s interesting to see that middle eastern countries have no more idea how to communicate with us than we do with them.” I agree they do have a strange of communicating and telling the world how humane they are, maybe we are missing something in Lost in Translation sort of way. This will lead to another war or maybe lots of bombings there will hurt the civilians with thousands dying more than those central idiots who will get worse like Osama has. If Iran has proof they can show the same way as they showed the civilians. Where is UN by the way, why can’t they go to Iran and see if they have the proof or not?

  4. whats even more surprising is that we have better beaches in the uk. Why did those soldiers decide they wanted to play there? Its not even as if iran sells buckets and spades or kiss me quick hats. The response again from united nations is pathetic. As soon as we get them back,Britain and are beloved allies the yankee fuzzies should go kick some sand in there faces.

  5. Pilgrim has hit on one point that people seem to have forgotten – the 15 were in waters off Iraq (who really cares whether they were Iraqi or Iranian? As you say Fuzzy, we’re not at war with Iran), but they were there on UN business. This isn’t a UK matter or a US matter really; it is a UN matter. But, for what it’s worth, I think it will get sorted. Whether things will then escalate in other ways – don’t know. The problem with Iran is who is in charge and, like so many closed societies, there are at least 2 versions of events – one for the people to latch onto (and get upset about outside the British Embassy) and one for real life. The real life one will be solved by diplomacy, but we will probably lose the PR battle.

  6. Oh – forgot to say, sorry, good blog, Fuzzy! I think it’s excellent that you found time to draw attention to this. Thanks.

  7. looks like hes dammed if he does and dammed if he doesnt. I really doubt thoe sailors were in I rans waters. If they were so worried about it, why dont they put up a sea fence. I am so freaking sick of all this. coukld you imagine if we did the same acts to their soldiers that they did to ours. And I also refer to the British soldiers as ours. If they want war, and it looks like they do, I think we could take them up on that. Release our soldiers, then we could really blow their asses off the map. I dont have a problem with this. Not any more. I am tired of what these countries think is ok to .do. Its ok to behaed people and put it on the internet and tv, but we take away a prayer rug and we are heathens. Im ranting in your space now. If they want war, sure, they can have it. they wont learn we mean business untill we do something to hurt them where it matters. do what ever it takes. they are really poissen me off here.
    OK, im again stepping down. Thank you very much

  8. Awww voot a grave injustice! I think all these evil regimes (from Putin in Russia to this bearded man in Iran) are picking on noble British servicemen.

    Both US and UK should give a grand response by catching all them Iranian spies and moles hiding in US and UK, mostly under the guise of illegal immigrants or carpet sellers.

  9. I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq. So many lives have been lost on both sides, to achieve … what exactly? I hope that our service personnel are returned safe and well. I don’t know, nor do I really care, whether they were in Iraqi or Iranian waters. There will be no winners if we use this as an excuse to go to war.

  10. AMerica is a slumbering giant as was mentioned. It could liquidate Iran’s nuke facilities and seize its oil fields in fairly short order if aroused enough. Incidents like these only convey the impression of Iran as irresponsible. If America doesnt hit them, the Israeli’s are waiting in the wings to go after the nukes. Sooner of later the mullahs and/or their frontmen will miscalculate and pay the price.

  11. Great post Fuzzy. I look at this and think about the ship, USS Pueblo, seized by the North Koreans in 1968. The crew was tortured and made to say untrue things. Similar happenings during Vietnam with captured soldiers, torture and fake admissions of guilt. It seems this is a common element of demagoguery by dictatorial leaders with a look at me complex. They benefit by causing uproar here by manipulating the media. They redirect attention away from their nuclear ambitions. They cause the stock market to fluff, which drives the price of oil to go up thus increasing their coffers to operate terrorist actions. Perhaps they will take the British Embassy next and hold them hostage like they did us.
    Could thus be a plan by the Iranians to whittle away our allies till we’re by ourselves and then attack with more terrorism? Most likely after the elections when they think we will have elected a verdant leader without experience or the courage to fight. Remember the President is the leader of the armed forces of this country. Have Barack Obama or Ms Clinton any experience of leadership or military protocol? None.
    I certainly agree with your last words about forgetting the lessons of 9/11.
    So your blog has innumerable implications for many problems. Fodder for us all to blog by.
    WRight on Fuzzy!

  12. hmmmm interesting reading alright…with the links et al. If I may I’d like to comment on your comments on the British and the americans being “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. Being British myself I actually knew very little about American politics when growing up – didn’t care to either for what it’s worth – this is a country that has film stars as its presidents and politicians after all. Now, of course, I am a grown up and pay a little more attention to the world and its goings on – but not really all that much – I must confess – for me its too damned saddening and frightening really – I might be the emu burying my head in the sand but I have to think of the smiles on my childrens faces when their days are filled with joy and laughter and activities. Anyway, “I” think that it is more the “how great we are” American attitude that people don’t actually like Fuzzy – all the “we’s” and “us’s” – all the seeming superiority that offends the rest of the world. The British I am sure would be greatful for the SUPPORT of America but we all know that the US will later claim glory in the free-ing of the 11 if indeed they assist in extracting them from Iran….oh look I dont actually want to take this comment any further *sparkles laughter again* I just jumped in….9/11 is been and gone…the best that can be learned from it is not to build such tall buildings and fill them to the top with bodies….sitting ducks in such terrible times…there will always be extremist factions, there always have been…you cannot change the nature of humankind….to me it all much of a muchness…Muslims…christians…americans…english…black…white….there is always someone that wants to be the leader, thinks they are better, that their ideals are the best….so all I have to offer is love and light and love and I’ll keep my opinions to myself LOL (too late!!!!) be well and prosper…noogies…Ali xx

  13. No problem, Snuggles, that’s such a great thing Nancy invented for us, isn’t it? Thanks for being you. Huggggggssssss

    Simon, these videos, pictures, and letters the Iranians are forcing the British sailors to produce are being seen as a way to emasculate Britain? Or make them look foolish? This is very interesting; I had not thought of that angle, actually, because it’s so obvious that they are being forced to say these things, and according to your link and other reports I’ve seen, they’ve not received any training in interrogation, etc. (suggesting they’re not “spies”). I don’t think there’s any shame in their saying those things, but I can see how the families are hurt by this (though it must be heartening to see they’re alive) and how it would be a blow to their personal pride when (unfortunately if) they’re released. Is it generally accepted that they should not be sending these vids, etc? And yes, I hold a much more pessimistic view of this situation and its potential resolution than many seem to. Thanks for your comments and the link. 😀

    Yep, Kerry, that’s so true. If we help, we’re just throwing our weight around and/or itching for war, and if we don’t, we’re self serving whimps without an ounce of loyalty. It’s so silly to me that the world can’t get enough of how much we suck (um, until they want something from us, that is). American solidarity hug to you, Kerry!! ;))

    Hey Chris, you are so right here. Yes, where indeed IS the U.N.? Honestly, I’m beginning to think that particular body has morphed so far beyond its original intention that it’s pretty worthless for anything that’s not dealing with aid or global issues like global warming, etc. (which is fine, but we need to see this and not endow them with power or interest they don’t have, can’t handle). And you make a good point, too, about Lost in Translation; I’ve been blogging all along that the hugest obstacle to peace is a complete lack of cultural understanding on both sides and a willingness to accept those cultural differences, find compromise. Well, I’m not the only one saying this, of course, but all these calls for “diplomacy” are silly, they mean to say blackmail them into doing what we want, and that’s not different than strong arming them via war (well, it’s a bit different in terms of war, but it’s not ideologically different, though those proponents pat themselves on the back). Oooh, see what a fab response you’ve given? I can’t stop talking. Yikes. Huggs, Chris, as always.

    This is an outstanding response, Pilgrim. I really like the way you make strong statements but couch them in humor (so English of you! :)) ).

    Thanks, Neil, and yes, I think that the UN needs to step up, but as I was just saying to Chris, I do think it’s time to reassess that body and work out just what it’s good for and what it’s clear and real limitations are. Thanks for your fab comments. 😀

    Lise, I totally feel your frustration and anger. I feel much the same way (of course, isn’t that usually the case on these topics?). I think one of the things that gets me (and maybe you) is that it’s all so unnecessary. If we would just deal with problems when they crop up, when they are small and manageable, so much more would be accomplished with so much less international incident and loss of life. But noooooooooooooo, we can’t do things quickly and efficiently, we have to drag it out until the situation escalates and we’re in a far worse situation than we needed to be. We wanted to keep our noses clean in WWII and only got involved (not in the face of the enormous WRONGNESS of Hitler and his death camps) when we were bombed. It’s always the same, yet no one learns, nothing changes. It’s totally frustrating and anger-making. As I said, I feel the same way and need to vent these same thoughts. Huggs to you TME!! :))

  14. Not at all sure how to respond to your comment, Elmo. But thanks for commenting and giving me something to . . . um, ponder. :))

    Yes, Jon, I, too, was opposed to the war in Iraq, but that’s not really the issue, you know? And things are being accomplished there, actually, in terms of order and etc. in Baghdad, but it’s not over yet, so we can’t really answer your question. I’m not sure that you meant to imply that we (the UK and US) are chomping at the bit to go to war, but that does seem to be implied when you mention needing an “excuse.” I think that we’re trying very hard NOT to go to war, and that goes for war with Iran and North Korea. We’re being pushed, though, and we’ll just have to see if this new button they’re pushing will get the job done. Iran has to be careful not to upset the balance and awaken “universal” resolve in both countries. They won’t do anything too outrageous because they need people in the US and the UK to oppose any military action; once that balance tips, they lose. That much is not in doubt. It’s interesting to watch, that’s for damn sure. Thanks for your comment. :))

    Yes, Sarge, I think I agree. And the cost to us, for having to wait until that point, will be great (I believe). As I just said to Jon, I do think that Iran is playing it carefully so as not to create the climate you mention. Thanks for your comments as always. 😀

  15. What I don’t understand, Heyman, is why they even bother? As I said in my post, it’d be ridiculous if we did it and totally transparent to all of us as citizens, yet the Iranians seem to believe these “confessions.” It’s bizarre to me, really. I just don’t get it, then Simon adds to the mix that the Iranians are doing this to taunt the UK. Huh? It’s baffling to me how these obviously coerced “confessions” are taken seriously by anyone and how we can look at those and not blame the Iranians, themselves. Sigh. And as to your question about the next president: alas, this is just WHY the next president will be elected (unless Iran missteps horribly and tip the balance, awakening this slumbering giant) because they DON’T have any experience with war and say they want it over. Of the two, I’ll take Hillary Clinton in a time of war; she’s smart enough, and she’s strong enough. And she does know how international relations work, she knows very well. She’s far more experience than Obama in that regard. Yay!! Thanks for your fab comments!! 😀

    Ali, Ali, Ali . . . YOU of all people giving me guff in an anti-American rant. Sigh. But I forgive you because you’re funny and cool ;D. I do know what you are saying about the “cockiness” that is perceived about our country, and in this context, especially, rightly so. Patriotism on steroids is the term I’ve used to describe it. Our military is pumped up and proud, it helps with morale. Our leaders are confident and sure, it helps with leadership. I guess it’s all in perception, too, and in the role. It wasn’t too long ago (in historic terms) that it was the UK in that position and behaving much the same (though not, of course, as brash). With regard to 9/11, I think the whole it’s over and done with thing is a bit tooooooo flippant. You Brits are STILL bashing the Germans, after all. Wink. I say we, that’s you and me, start a new love and light movement to unite us and to teach understanding and enlightenment about each others’ cultures and manners. Where’s the champagne for the inaugruation of our new partnership?? Teehee. Huggs to you, you closet American hater, you. xx

  16. The evidence is overwhelming that the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters, not Iranian. When the Iranians were presented the facts, they changed their story re the positioning. But that’s really by the by. It’s happened. What I can’t understand is why we let this happen in the first place. I mean, for christ sake the Iranians have DONE THIS BEFORE!!!. With their record, surely a more heightened sense of security was required, even if the positioning WAS in Iraqi waters. And knowing the POTENTIAL threat, why were the Marines so lightly armed?? Apparently an American commander at the scene asked the British commander why they didn’t defend themselves. Simple, we had small arms, the Iranians came with their whole arsenal!! The whole thing beggars belief in the ineptitude of our forces’ operational planning and security.
    I could go into a rant about the way the service personnel have been treated since their capture, about how wrong it is using hostages to promote political/religious propaganda, which is against international treaties. But what’s the point? The Iranians have shown they don’t give a shit about anything but their own narrow-minded worldview.

  17. Fuzzy, I really am not as political as you are. I vote, and I have my opinion, which I try not to dribble on others. I do know International politics and Domestic politics are two very different animals. Domestic politics lends itself towards the “You wash my back I’ll wash your back” theory, with many back room deals and local projects attached to bills as they are forced through Congress. I do have a bad feeling about the British soldiers, and how this entire fiasco turns out. But my question is, when did the Americans and the British become joined at the hip. Weren’t we the big nation in the west, and England was the snob nation on the other side of the pond?

  18. Hei Fuzz.

    I have read this entry a good few times and me thinking is this:
    “This whole ‘episode’ is a bait of some sort to make the Iranians
    to catch it in order to create hostilities so that the ‘others’
    would have a ‘proper, legimate’ reason to attack them with full arsenal!

    Otherwise, the whole military machinery on both the Brit and US sides should get out of ‘business’ and go home for they are not acting ‘professionally’ if this the way that they are carrying on!!
    Take care and do keep well. Rii xx

  19. Hey Mitch, I really don’t know enough of the details to comment, but I had heard, too, that they were not trained for combat or for interrogation. And that DOES make you wonder what the hell they were doing there (unless these reports are just so much bs to protect some mission?). What do you think should be done? I mean if Iran fails to release the hostages after diplomatic talks? (nice to see you riled you about something . . . um, something that makes sense to me, that is. Wink, nudge, friendly fond hug)

    Hey Diggy Rii, not too sure I follow you here; what is it that you think the UK did wrong? Or is doing wrong? What is this carrying on that has you so upset? I do see your logic in suggesting the Brits baited the Iranians with the British sailors, but even if that were the case, the Iranians took the bait and are behaving rather badly, no? Anyway, you know that you’re the bomb in my book, and anything you think and say is golden! Honest to goodness huggs to your most dignified self xx

  20. I am grateful that the 15 British captives are free and once again home on their soil! I never believed that this act by Iran alone would lead us to war, but would be solved by diplomacy! However I do believe that the cumulative actions and stance of President Mahmou Ahmadinejad will drive us to use military action! I am afraid that the only thing he understands is the big stick! I have no doubt that the British were in Iraqi waters when they were detained! Iran has been on the hot seat for sometime now, due to their Nuclear Ambitions! The world has called for Iran to abandon their Nuclear Program, to which he has repeatedly stated that its program has no brakes or a reverse gear. In Presidents Bush’s state of the union address in January, he denounced Iran for providing material support for attacks on American troops. Iran needed to take the spot light off them and they saw the British Soldiers a much easy target than American Forces! The United Nation and the world has called for Iran to once and for all end their program! I too question the United Nation’s role and effectiveness in solving matters at hand! The British captives have now begun to speak out and just as suspected anything they said was coerced, they were threatened with long prison terms and at one time blindfolded and lined against a wall! Iran and it’s President should be seen for what they are, a rogue country who practices terrorism! I to believe that we are headed to war and will take care of Iran’s Uranium enrichment program once and for all! What worries me, very much so, is the constant threat of another 9-11, in some form or another!

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