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.