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Hostage behavior: acceptable or unacceptable? (updated)
Posted by: McQ on Friday, April 06, 2007

It may be a little to early to say, since few details of the conditions under which the British hostages were held by their Iranian captors.

However it isn't too early to begin talking about some of the things being said on both sides of the question. Such as this:
"They did exactly as they should have done from start to finish, and we are proud of them," said Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup, the head of Britain's armed forces.
If that's the case, Air Chief Marshal Stirrup, then I certainly would never want to be a member of your armed forces.

Now that may sound harsh, but for heaven sake, to pretend that their actions and activities would elicit "pride" is asinine.

An indicator that even the hostages weren't particularly easy with their behavior was indicated by the lone woman hostage, Faye Turney who said, "not many of us slept last night, because we weren't sure what the reaction will be back home."

You know, it's is one thing to be seen on video reluctantly participating in something which is obviously done under duress (and making sure during your performance on the video makes the duress obvious). What you don't do is smile and wave and voluntarily chat about how you'd love to return to Iran as a tourist or how wonderful your captors were to you (and you'll note, in some of the pictures, a couple of the hostages were quite solemn and reserved).

As one of our commenters pointed out, the culture in which the Iranians and others in the Middle East operate within is an honor/shame culture. And in such a culture, suffering humiliation is considered one of the worst things anyone can suffer.

In such a culture, losing face is to be avoided at all costs. Losing face, such as Britain has just suffered, is considered an extreme form of humiliation. And this is understood very well in the Arab world:
Such a blow to Arab honor cannot be tolerated for cultural and political reasons: losing face means to feel utter humiliation, to lose public credibility, and to lose power.
That is precisely what this little bit of Middle Eastern theater has produced. Britain's humiliation is very well understood by the members of the honor/shame culture of the Middle East. There is no doubt in their minds who has been humiliated and lost face. And while people like Stirrup claim the claptrap they claim, they seem not to understand how such claims reinforce their loss of face and actually make it worse - at least in the eyes of the inhabitants of the ME.

Iran gains power and face in this confrontation. And yet even here, there are some who don't understand that point:
But despite that prohibition, Americans who acted similarly to the Britons would "most certainly not" be punished, said Thomas Donnelly, a security analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who served on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee for four years.

"Those were transparently cooked-up confessions. It would be wrong to criticize those people, and besides they were not betraying anything to put anyone at risk," he said.
I think Mr. Donnelly is full of beans. While they may have been "transparently cooked-up confessions", they can be made even more transparently so. It is one thing to appear on a video giving a confession which is stilted, obviously not in your own words and under duress as communicated by subtle body language. It is another to allow yourself to be a part of an event in which you're seen and heard to be seemingly enjoying yourself and praising your captors. Any American serviceman or woman in that position would certainly find themselves in some hot water for voluntary participation in such an event.

And if Chief Air Marshall Stirrup doesn't understand that difference, then woe be unto Britain.
As long as this pattern of Arab honor-shame and scapegoating behavior prevails and the West enables it, lasting and fair peace in the Middle East will not be possible.
Indeed.

UPDATE: Of course there are those on the left who, as usual, haven't a clue and don't mind proving it.

Talk about unsupported logical leaps, note how my comments from yesterday are mischaracterized.

Even more abject stupidity and mischaracterization presented as biting commentary:
So... you would then prefer that these soldiers were tortured, because that would be like Mommy kissing your ouchy-boo-boo widdle psyche. Charming.
Yikes.

And yet another clueless lefty who hasn't the foggiest idea of what the word "duress" means. But that doesn't stop him from mischaracterizing it as torture. That herd mentality is a bitch, isn't it?

UPDATE II: Sailor's statements, in full, here.

Some excerpts. The incident:
Capt Air continued: "It was during the boarding that we noticed the helicopter had returned to 'Mother', and we started calling the ship on VHF to find out why. A short while later two speed boats were spotted approaching rapidly about 400 metres away.

"I ordered everyone to make their weapons ready and ordered the boarding party to return to the boats. By the time all were back on board, two Iranian boats had come alongside. One officer spoke good English and I explained that we were conducting a routine operation, as allowed under a UN mandate.

"But when we tried to leave, they prevented us by blocking us in. By now it was becoming increasingly clear that they had arrived with a planned intent.

"Some of the Iranian sailors were becoming deliberately aggressive and unstable. They rammed our boat and trained their heavy machine guns, RPGs and weapons on us.

"Another six boats were closing in on us. We realised that our efforts to reason with these people were not making any headway. Nor were we able to calm some of the individuals down.

"It was at this point that we realised that had we resisted there would have been a major fight, one we could not have won with consequences that would have had major strategic impact. We made a conscious decision to not engage the Iranians and do as they asked. They boarded our boats, removed our weapons and steered the boats towards the Iranian shore."
Now the timing is not evident, but according to reports when the two Iranian boats came along side, there were a total of 6 Iranians on those boats. At the point that the Iranian sailors began to become "aggressive and unstable" and the other 6 Iranian boats arrived was perhaps the only opportunity the 15 had to engage and defeat the attempt to capture them. Instead they apparently chose to "reason" with them.

This is followed later by another statement by Air:
"Let me be absolutely clear, from the outset it was very apparent that fighting back was simply not an option. Had we chosen to do so then many of us would not be standing here today. Of that I have no doubts.

"The Iranian Navy did not turn up lightly armed; they came with intent, heavy weapons, and very quickly surrounded us. We were equipped, armed and had rules of engagement for boarding operations within Iraqi water.

"We were not prepared to fight a heavily armed force who it is our impression came out deliberately into Iraqi waters to take us prisoner. Reasoning with the Iranians was our only option. We tried. We did our utmost to de-escalate the situation, but our words fell on deaf ears. They had come with a clear purpose and were never going to leave without us.

"The Iranians are not our enemies. We are not at war with them. Our rules of engagement at that time stated that we could only use lethal force if we felt that we were in imminent danger of a loss of life. By the time the true intent of the Iranians had become apparent - and we could have legitimately fought back - it was too late for action.

"We were completely surrounded, and in addition to the loss of life, any attempted to fight back would caused a major international incident and an escalation of tension within the region. Our team had seconds to make a decision and we believe that we made the right decision. We still believe this was the right thing to do."
The second highlighted sentence, while eventually true, was not true initially. At worst, it was a stand off. And at the point it was a stand-off, the possibility of bluffing your way out (crank up, point your weapons, and move out) is very plausible. Why?
The Iranians are not our enemies. We are not at war with them.
And that's precisely why you call their bluff.

Obviously at the point that they allowed themselves to be completely surrounded with more boats and heavier weapons, that option all but disappeared.

As an aside, EU Referendum points to a tactical difference between the US (and French) and Brits which may have been another reason they were picked by Iran to be attacked and captured:
Thus, in the last part of Harding's piece, we see him record that there was criticism "that the Cornwall's boats were sent close to the Iranian border without enough firepower or support." He then goes on to say that American boarding parties usually "have four patrol boats with at least two standing off to provide covering fire," adding that one defence expert asked why the Iranian boats were not detected more rapidly on the frigate's radar as they closed in on the Navy vessels.

On the American practice, I am not sure the claim stands up. I have reviewed now hundreds of photographs and articles on US activities in the Gulf and elsewhere, and see no evidence whatsoever of four-boat parties being used. I do see some evidence of boats standing off while the party is aboard though, but in all cases there is always a warship standing off, in visual contact and in weapons range, guarding the boarding team. That seems even the case with French Navy boarding practice.
Providing overwatch is pretty basic stuff. If the Brits haven't been doing so, that's simply slack.

Anyway, back to the sailor's statements. Their treatment:
Lt Carman said: "On arrival at a small naval base, we were blindfolded, stripped of all our kit and led to a room where I declared myself as the officer in charge and was introduced to a local commander.

"Two hours later we were moved to a second location and throughout the night were subjected to random interrogations. The questions were aggressive and the handling rough, but it was no worse than that.

"The following morning we were flown to Teheran and transported to a prison where the atmosphere changed completely. We were blindfolded, our hands were bound and we were forced up against a wall. Throughout our ordeal we faced constant psychological pressure.

"Later we were stripped and then dressed in pyjamas. The next few nights were spent in stone cells, approximately 8ft by 6ft, sleeping on piles of blankets. All of us were kept in isolation.

"We were interrogated most nights, and presented with two options. If we admitted we had strayed, we would be on a plane back to the UK soon. If we didn't we faced up to seven years in prison. We all at one time or another made a conscious decision to make a controlled release of non-operational information.
Alright - blindfolded, disoriented, separated, slapped around a little, stripped of their uniforms and kept in isolation. Pretty standard treatment that would be expected of anyone who'd been through any SERE course. At that point nothing in particular that a trained person would consider "unexpected".

They're interrogated at night and threatened. Again, nothing unexpected. One of the threats is 7 years in prison unless they cooperated in a propaganda effort. Here's where I think a little training would have been valuable (and it is acknowledged that the majority of these folks had zero training in this regard because they were unlikely to be captured).

Point one is you don't cooperate until you have no other choice. Make them take you to trial. You can always, on the eve of the trail, agree to cooperate. A trained person would know that and act accordingly. That these folks all arrived at a decision, apparently in isolation, to cooperate, says that such training wasn't evident.

Point two. Nothing which happened to them as described would have surprised a trained person. In fact, the only surprise a trained person might have is the fact that what is describes is fairly mild. But none of it is unexpected. In fact a trained person would have been mentally ticking off the elements of their capture and subsequent interrogation in their head. All pretty standard stuff.

Obviously, if you know about it, you're better prepared to handle it psychologically, but it is still going to be scary. If you're unprepared because you haven't been trained to understand what will happen and how to resist it, it would be downright terrifying. And I'm beginning to believe that most of these folks fall into that latter category.

More:
"We were kept in isolation until the last few nights when we were allowed to gather for a few hours together, in the full glare of Iranian media.

"On day 12 we were taken to a Governmental complex, blindfolded and then given three piece suits to wear. We watched the President's statement live on TV, and it was only then that we realised we were to be sent home.

"It goes without saying that there was a huge moment of elation. We were made to line up to meet the president, one at a time. My advice to everyone was not to mess this up now - we all wanted to get home.
It is the first paragraph where some sort of command should have been established by the senior officer. When they were put together the first thing out of the senior officer's mouth should have been a code of conduct as a group. Perhaps that wasn't possible, I don't know, but the last thing you want is to support the intent of your captors to propagandize your capture. Again, training would have helped in that regard.

It is also apparent, by the statement, that not only was the UK caught by surprise by Amadinejad's statement of release, but so were the hostages. Their elation at hearing the news and subsequent behavior can, for the most part, be excused. However, and again this goes to training, there were many things they might have avoided. For instance, the refusal of gifts, chatting with the Iranian press during that moment of elation and other things.

I know, easy to say sitting here, but again, at this point I'm not necessarily condemning them as much as I'm criticizing whatever training (or lack thereof) they had. What they describe as their ordeal, in the annals of prisoners, isn't a particularly grueling one. But their speedy capitulation and agreement to aid the Iranian propaganda effort speaks more to me about the lack of good training than their conduct.

And the fact that they were captured at all lends me to believe that those operations conducted by the Royal Navy were slack and not particularly tactically sound.

The result was 14 days of humiliation for Britain.

Oh, one last point from Lt. Carman:
"I would just like to stress three points at this stage:

"When taken by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard we were well inside Iraqi territorial waters.

"The detention was clearly illegal and not a pleasant experience.

"We as a group held out for as long as we though appropriate. We then complied up to a point with our captors.
That last point is what is in contention. Had they, in fact, held out for as long as was 'appropriate'? I'm not sure they did, and I'm also not sure that's their fault.
 
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Comments
Of course there are those on the left who, as usual, haven’t a clue and don’t mind proving it
Quite simply, these people are massive narcissists. They only look inward, at the internal poiltical ramifications. The motives and machinations of our enemies never figure into the equation.

They’re our enemies because of something WE did or didn’t do
They’ll stop if WE give them what they want
The world only acts/reacts to what WE do
WE’RE the cause of problems

It’s all part of the blame America First/Bush Hatred crowd...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I heard the X-captive British soldiers’ press conference this morning. Their story is quite the opposite of the story they told while in captivity. Do not judge them too early or too harshly. Their captors probably made it clear that the right words were not enough. They had to be convincing to be spared from an espionage trial.
 
Written By: Doug Purdie
URL: http://
More info is coming out, so we can add to the mix.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
But McQ, they are heroes! They endured "harsh interrogation" and were made to sleep on piles of blankets! Some were even placed in solitary confinement!! For days!

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OB64N00&show_article=1

"Lt. Felix Carman said the crew faced harsh interrogation by their Iranian captors and slept in stone cells on piles of blankets."

"All of us were kept in isolation. We were interrogated most nights and presented with two options. If we admitted that we’d strayed, we’d be on a plane to (Britain) pretty soon," Carman said. "If we didn’t, we faced up to seven years in prison."


And how can you disagree with Adm. Band, head of the Royal Nayy!?

"They appear to have played it by the rules, they don’t appear to have put themselves into danger, others into danger, they don’t appear to have given anything away," he said. "I think, in the end, they were a credit to us."

Now we know, the mission of the Royal Navy is to avoid endangering themselves or others; not to go "in harm’s way". There ain’t enough lipstick in the world to make that pig look like anything else.

By the way, have the Iranians returned the boats and other weapons and equipment?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"I don’t order you to attack, I order you to die. In the time it takes us to die, other troops and commanders can come and take our places."
— Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Gallipoli.

Of course, these wretches had no reason to think that anyone was going to come and take their places, a circumstance that only makes them more wretched.

In any case, however, the example of Ataturk and his troops sharply illuminates essential attitudes on both sides of this fight, today. It’s still very pertinent.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I heard the X-captive British soldiers’ press conference this morning. Their story is quite the opposite of the story they told while in captivity. Do not judge them too early or too harshly. Their captors probably made it clear that the right words were not enough. They had to be convincing to be spared from an espionage trial.
Read what I said very carefully Doug. Was the chatting up the Iranian press and telling everyone how wonderful their captors were and how they’d love to return as tourists a necessary part of their "cooperation?"

I understand the possible necessity to make a propaganda video under duress (and I also know how you can ensure everyone understands you’re making it under duress without actually stating it).

But there are lines and I think some were crossed.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"More info is coming out, so we can add to the mix"

I couldn’t get your link to link.
This link might work better.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6533069.stm

My favorite quotes, from Capt. Air;

"Let me be absolutely clear, from the outset it was very apparent that fighting back was simply not an option".

"Had we chosen to do so then many of us would not be standing here today. Of that I have no doubts".

"Fighting back would have caused a major international incident and an escalation of tension within the region," he said.

I don’t believe any comment is necessary.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Kav: That link is coming up as an error.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"If we didn’t, we faced up to seven years in prison."
(laff, laff, laff)

When Adm. James Stockdale got whacked with 57mm AAA over Hanoi, he went out of the jet, and he says that as soon as he cleared his mind to think about his situation, he thought, "Well, this is it: this’ll be five years in prison, anyway." It turned out to be seven.

At one point, he sliced open his scalp with a razor blade to make himself useless for enemy television propaganda.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"(and I also know how you can ensure everyone understands you’re making it under duress without actually stating it)."

We have a few examples in this country courtesy of John McCain et al., and others from the first gulf war. There have also been a few videos taken recently of hostages in the middle east where REAL duress had been applied, and we have somewhat fewer examples of the behavior of some of them after they had been released. The difference is striking.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Sorry about that. It should have been this.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Iran has pulled off a tidy little success with its seizure and release of those 15 British sailors and marines: a pointed humiliation of Britain, with a bonus demonstration of Iran’s intention to push back against coalition challenges to its assets in Iraq. Charles Krauthammer
Krauthammer has an excellent incite to this. I would recommend his essay.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Krauthammer has an excellent incite to this
That has to be freudian
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
Freudian? maybe. Maybe spell checker.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Mischaracterization? You wrote: "When you see two officers on video "admitting" to wrong doing you would think they were doing so only under severe duress and after weighing threats against themselves and those in their command against doing propaganda work such as that. I’d actually be heartened (and much more accepting) if that turns out to be the case. But I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not."

You’re disheartened that they apparently weren’t tortured. That’s the plain meaning of these words.
 
Written By: Thers
URL: http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com
You’re disheartened that they apparently weren’t tortured. That’s the plain meaning of these words.
No it really isn’t. McQ is simply pointing out that, by all appearances, the sailors freely offered their services as actors in the Iranian kabuki. He’s simply hoping that a requisite threat was a issued, in the very least, before rolling over and coming to heel. If the sailors never even had to weigh the consequences of their actions, doesn’t that put their performance in a different light?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
You’re disheartened that they apparently weren’t tortured. That’s the plain meaning of these words.
No one is happy they weren’t tortured, and they probably were to some degree, but, clue, that’s one of the dangers of falling into the hands of the ’enemy’ as a soldier and you’re not supposed to provide aid and comfort to them if you do fall into their power.

And you’re told that from the get go and especially if you are an officer.

So, go ahead, and try to make it some kind of moral issue, but they had an obligation to resist torture and NOT provide any assistance to the Iranians that would be detrimental to the position of their country. To the point where they might be obligated to take that stand even if their government ultimately admitted it was wrong (then it’s their country failing them, not them failing their country).
You’re disheartened that they apparently weren’t tortured. That’s the plain meaning of these words.
And the plain meaning of your words is you think like a child on the geopolitical world stage and probably think everyone is nice and just wants to be our friends and that McQ is just a big meany.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"When you see two officers on video "admitting" to wrong doing you would think they were doing so only under severe duress and after weighing threats against themselves and those in their command against doing propaganda work such as that. I’d actually be heartened (and much more accepting) if that turns out to be the case. But I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not."

Look up the word "duress", for heaven sake.

"Constraint by threat; coercion: confessed under duress." It has zip to do with torture.

So severe duress could be what? Yes ... a imminent threat to commit violence.

And, as you’ll note, after saying ’severe duress’, I clarify "after weighing threats against themselves and those in their command ...".

The point? I was wondering at the level of duress under which they agreed to cooperate, and I was hoping that the level was more severe ("we’re going to rape the woman and kill one of your men") than just "we’re going to put you on trial" before the decision was made to do so.

Indications are, and I cover that in the latest update (UPDATE II) to this post, that what they endured was pretty routine treatment which a trained person would have expected and probably resisted. I’m coming to the conclusion that their training was insufficient or completely lacking (and early reports have indeed stated they were not trained to undergo capture).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No one is happy they weren’t tortured,
Really? Still holding a grudge from 1812?

I’ll let go of your leg now...
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"You’re disheartened that they apparently weren’t tortured. That’s the plain meaning of these words."

No, the plain meaning is that he would be heartened if they had made these statements only because they under extreme duress, not just because they were uncomfortable. I share the sentiment. It is, frankly, either idiotic or dishonest to say only that he wishes they had been tortured, without mentioning the bit about the "confessions".


***********************************

"that what they endured was pretty routine treatment which a trained person would have expected and probably resisted"

I am wondering how these British sailors and Marines were trained to handle prisoners. Handcuffs and restraints? Certainly. Blindfolds? Probably. Separation? Of course. Perhaps a little subtle intimidation? Were they treated, according to their own testimony, much different than they would treat a similar class of prisoners? Probably not. Except maybe for the suits and gifts.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I was wondering at the level of duress under which they agreed to cooperate, and I was hoping that the level was more severe ("we’re going to rape the woman and kill one of your men") than just "we’re going to put you on trial" before the decision was made to do so.

It’s always an interesting experience, being lectured on ethics by people capable of weighing with such precision exactly how much suffering they should like other people to endure.

 
Written By: Thers
URL: http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com
They’re soldiers, dope. It’s their job: their raison d’etre
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
It’s always an interesting experience, being lectured on ethics by people capable of weighing with such precision exactly how much suffering they should like other people to endure.
What’s even more interesting is to watch someone caught in a rhetorical mistake refuse to acknowledge the point and attempt to find another way to attack the person they mischaracterized in the first place.

Do me a favor ... look up another word, will you?

Integrity.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I was surprised how quickly the Brits capitulated. I kept looking for a reaction like the middle finger signal the USS Pueblo crew gave in their public photograph taken by the North Koreans; something to say “what we are saying is BS”. But we saw the opposite; the grins, the smiles and the other friendly gestures. As ex-US Navy, I can’t understand how they can be treated as returning heroes after their behavior. I thought they were all enlisted initially, based on their conduct, but there were two officers in the 15 kidnapped; one a captain. That makes their conduct even worse. I have yet to hear what the British equivalent to the UCMJ calls out for resistance when captured. No more honor and country steadfastness?
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
I was surprised how quickly the Brits capitulated. I kept looking for a reaction like the middle finger signal the USS Pueblo crew gave in their public photograph taken by the North Koreans; something to say “what we are saying is BS”. But we saw the opposite; the grins, the smiles and the other friendly gestures. As ex-US Navy, I can’t understand how they can be treated as returning heroes after their behavior. I thought they were all enlisted initially, based on their conduct, but there were two officers in the 15 kidnapped; one a captain. That makes their conduct even worse. I have yet to hear what the British equivalent to the UCMJ calls out for resistance when captured. No more honor and country steadfastness?
That’s mostly what has everyone whose ever been in the military puzzled the most. And I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that their training in this area was either grossly deficient or non-existent.

If you’ve been trained in what to expect, then everything that actually happened to them, as they described it, wouldn’t have at all come as a surprise. And when it isn’t a surprise, when you expect something like that, then it isn’t the shock it is supposed to be. Given that fact, then you can deal with the effects of such treatment much more effectively and resist longer.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And here is a video made of them partying with the Iranians.

As the church lady would say: Isn’t that just special?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I took at look at Thers’s blog. I think this is the same infamous "thersites" who manufactured a scandal with Jeff Goldstein at PW.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
The more I think and read of this business, the more I am starting to wonder about how the entire operation is being run. Six or more boats containing heavily armed men penetrate over a mile into supposedly monitored waters without anyone noticing or reacting? If they did actually run into insurgents what would they have done? It seems there might be a great deal of complacency involved.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It’s always an interesting experience, being lectured on ethics by people capable of weighing with such precision exactly how much suffering they should like other people to endure.
Oddly, McQ has had training concerning what to do when in that situation. So did I, when I was in the US Army.

In our case, this is a measure of what would have been expected of us in such a situation compared to what the British appeared to have gone through. Ever heard of the "Code of Conduct"? Try reading it sometime.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Honestly, I feel sorry for the brits. They used to be a damned proud people, and rightly so. This incident seems to cement the fact that they just aren’t anymore. They acted like a dog that’s been whipped all it’s life. They cowered in the corner the entire time.

As for the sailors themselves, I’m partilly ashamed I share a base language with them. I’m a pretty meek guy, with only a moderate pain-tolerance-threshold.

However, I’m also possessed with a more-than-fair streak of "Eff you, pal..."

I certainly wouldn’t have worn the suit, nor would I have taken the gifts. "Send me home in my uniform, or i’m wearing my PJ’s, thank you". Even as a young child I was told about what the VC did to POWs, and was told by my dad "If you ever serve in the military and are captured, I expect you to hold out as long as you can, and if you’re on TV, I better see bruises".

Yeah, that’s harsh stuff for a kid to hear, but it’s stuck with me. Hell, COPS don’t get much out of me when I’ve not done anything wrong. I certainly wouldn’t be on TV saying what I did was wrong.

Unless there was a gun pointed at the girl’s head, and the hammer cocked, I don’t see any reason for the brits to cave that damned fast. I mean, come on... Take a PUNCH for god’s sake guys!

McQ says that training would have made everything "expected". Hell man, *I* could have called it. "Well, we’re boned... Cue the blindfolds and the stripping and the BS..."

It just seems like the Iranians lucked onto catching the 15 people in the british navy MOST likely to do whatever they were asked the moment there nethers were exposed...

’Resist to your upmost’ still requires you to... you know... resist...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
" When they were put together the first thing out of the senior officer’s mouth should have been a code of conduct as a group. Perhaps that wasn’t possible, I don’t know"

When I saw the video linked to by Capt. Joe I tried to figure out who was in charge. It looked to me like the officers had abdicated any command responsibility. One would have expected the subordinates to at least physically look towards their leaders to get a clue on how to react, to look for some verbal or visual signal, and for these leaders to give some clue to their subordinates. Even when they were standing and appeared to be free to wander about the room there didn’t appear to be any attempt by the leaders to restore control.

"My advice to everyone was not to mess this up now - we all wanted to get home."

It appears to me that the officers completely abandoned their command responsibilities and ceded authority and control to the Iranians. Were there no senior NCOs in the group who may have been able to restore a bit of discipline?

So much for "England expects every man to do his duty". As I said before, it looks like Great Britain is passing from irrelevance to liability as far as any alliance is concerned.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I have not been best pleased with how this situation has developed. I have my opinions on what I think our sailors should have done and what my government should have done. I will be interested to see what the full rundown is on the situation once all the available facts are in; I know that at the moment I am less than impressed with the apparent capitulation and am interested in knowing what the standing orders were for a situation such as that.
As I said before, it looks like Great Britain is passing from irrelevance to liability as far as any alliance is concerned.
timactual, that’s fine. We’ll withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. if we are a liability than it is best for the US if we do so.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
’Anyone here ever served in the military?

Anyone?

Any military?
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
I’m partilly ashamed I share a base language with them
Actually, you seem to have a ’base language’ all of your own, Mr. Meek.

To the point: I’d LOVE to know if you - or any other of the virtual macho men puffing their chests out here - have any military experience beyond W*rld of W*rcraft or Q*ake III.

Lets take a roll call.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
"Lets take a roll call."

Use the search button at the top of the page.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Lets take a roll call.
28 years. Infantry (airborne and ranger qualified).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"...any military experience beyond W*rld of W*rcraft or Q*ake III."

Good point. I find historical wargames to be much more educational and relevant. I particularly fancy those with lots and lots of German tanks and SS units. Really cool.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Lets take a roll call
.

28 years. Infantry (airborne and ranger qualified).
William?

Helllooooo?

You still out there?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Helllooooo?
Helllooooo!!!

I surely am. Forgive me for not hanging on your every word, but I have tasks to complete before my return to work tomorrow AM. And this site is just a personal blog, after all.

Your military record seems very impressive indeed; certainly in terms of length of service. I guess you do have a right to comment on military related matters - at least on those subjects in which you have some personal experience.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
I particularly fancy those with lots and lots of German tanks and SS units. Really cool
I hope you dress for the part. You really should.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
Your military record seems very impressive indeed; certainly in terms of length of service. I guess you do have a right to comment on military related matters - at least on those subjects in which you have some personal experience.
Actually William, I’d have that right even without that record. And ensuring that right is one of the many reasons I served that long.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Actually William, I’d have that right even without that record
You’ve a legal right to wear your pants on your head if you want to, McQ. No one can take that away from you.

I spoke in terms of the credibility a long and, presumably, distinguished career might afford you when expressing an opinion on the performance and behavior of the armed forces of another country.

Fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft would never do for the likes of you. Is that not so? Your period of service can’t have begun much after the Vietnam conflict.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
I spoke in terms of the credibility a long and, presumably, distinguished career might afford you when expressing an opinion on the performance and behavior of the armed forces of another country.
Yet you apparently presumed my credibility was in question and ignored, or at least denigrated, my right to speak out.
Fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft would never do for the likes of you. Is that not so? Your period of service can’t have begun much after the Vietnam conflict.
After VN? Heh ... I wish. It was the first stop in my service. I’ve been retired for 10 years. I wasn’t drafted. I was a volunteer.

So no, while fleeing was an option, it was never a real option for me.

But that’s all irrelevant as I see it. My opinion should be taken on the merit of it’s argument, not on whether I served or not. It either stands on its own or it doesn’t. I assume you are able to make a compelling argument against it.

Should we check and see if you ever served first before considering your counter-argument credible or should we consider it strictly on its merits?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"I hope you dress for the part. You really should."

Sometimes, when I have the time. I have a really neat genuine uniform I wear. It puts me in the mood, if you know what I mean. Actual recorded sounds, too.



"I spoke in terms of the credibility..."

There are some who think that credibility lies in the argument, not the arguer.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Yet you apparently presumed my credibility was in question and ignored, or at least denigrated, my right to speak out.
Your credibility IS in question! You HAVE a right to speak out - and I have a right to yank your chain when you write articles in the manner of John Wayne addressing a bunch of raw recruits.
So no, while fleeing was an option, it was never a real option for me.
It was a viable option for 60,000 of your fellow countrymen.
My opinion should be taken on the merit of it’s argument, not on whether I served or not
The whole credibility of your argument DEPENDS on whether you served or not.

Who the hell CARES what your opinion is on military matters if you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about?
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
There are some who think that credibility lies in the argument, not the arguer
Quite right too, Gruppenführer
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
The whole credibility of your argument DEPENDS on whether you served or not.
Why?

If I have the opinion that Iran is a danger to the world and should be confronted, must I have been a State Department employee or the Ambassador to Iran from some country before that opinion has crediblity?
Who the hell CARES what your opinion is on military matters if you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about?
Anyone who can get beyond the artificial mental barrier you’ve erected and consider an argument strictly on it’s merits, that’s who.
It was a viable option for 60,000 of your fellow countrymen.
But not the 5,000,000 who served, huh?

So, once again, have you served? And if not, and using your standard, why should I care about your opinion on all of this? What credibility does it have?

Try not to avoid the question this time around when and if you reply.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Try not to avoid the question this time around when and if you reply
I served with the Royal Army Medical Corps for four and a half years, up until 1995.
If I have the opinion that Iran is a danger to the world and should be confronted, must I have been a State Department employee or the Ambassador to Iran from some country before that opinion has crediblity?
I’d take a bit more notice.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
I’d take a bit more notice.
I would assume however that you’d assess the arguments on merit of the argument and not on who gave them.

I guess the best way to illustrate this is to ask how you assess an argument without knowing who made it? A random paragraph or two espousing a position, for instance.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Consider it from Iranian point of view please.

Your British sailors and marines were defective hostages.

And there was never a plan to capture a fat white girl. A white officer with blonde hair and blue eyes was wanted for the dance in honor of the Royal Navys anniversary.

The officer commander captured had dark hair and was too much of a surrender monkey to be helpful.

Once in captivity most of their behaviour was awful. Their crying kept the gaurds awake. One of the prisoners brought a Ipod with a weak battery -expensive to replace! And when the gaurds teasingly called him Mr. Bean he cryed. No sense of humor!

Not knowing why a navy would have a fat girl in a tiny boat, a idiot test was given to her. Wood was sawed outside her prison door and she was told it was for her coffin. She believed that story. Duh! Not attractive and not too bright, a useless prisoner and always hungry.

When let go and given their new suits and goody bags, they were all smiles. Then they got greedy
and started to brown nose for more gifts. They had to be sent home quickly then!

Even their boats were defective. The engines had high hours and the RIB’s were in need of major fixing. The rifles captured were inferior
and are in need of that special British glue to repair them that Iran does not have in its hobby shops.

The Scoring (1 to 10):

Hostages - 3
Captured Equipment Quality - 2
Nuisance Factor - 10

So have some sympathy please.
 
Written By: Captain Amir
URL: http://
So have some sympathy please
I DO have sympathy Captain.

But, just wait a while. The US forces will eliminate the British contingent in due course through friendly fire incidents alone (there doesn’t seem to be much of anything relating to professionalism in this ’code of conduct’ of theirs).
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
I would assume however that you’d assess the arguments on merit of the argument and not on who gave them
This is a BLOG for Weekend Warriors and red-necked right-wing American militarists in general.

The whole thing reads like an episode of "King of the Hill", for Chr*st’s sake!

Substitute ’Martians’ for ’Iranians’ and the tone and credibility of this site would barely have changed.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
Maybe the USA just managed to lose almost as much face in Asia as the British just did with over Iran.

Democratic Presidential candidate Govenor Richardson of New Mexico was in North Korea to work out some cash for nukes deal for the US government.

While there, the North Koreans took him to where the USS Pueblo is docked in Pyonyang. He was there filmed as a North Korean officer harangued him about the Pueblo incident. Even the NBC reporter along filmed it for last nights NBC news.

Then he went on board the Pueblo! And to look more foolish, he and his party were seated in the ships wardroom and then filmed as they watched a North Korean propaganda video about the USS Pueblo. Disgusting!

I think that Govenor Richradson is old enough to recall the Pueblo incident and how its crew was
severly beaten and tortured for 9 months.

He should have refused to even visit dockside and most definitely should not have boarded the Pueblo unless they were going to refuel it and give him the keys.

All in all it was a disgusting display and televised on NBC news.
 
Written By: Captain Amir
URL: http://


Your jab at the Americans professionalism is just hopeless bitterness.

If you are British and truly concerned about friendly fire incidents, you should look in your own house first.

In the history of the British Navy, more British submarines have been sunk by your own navy by depthcharge and accidents, than in all enemy actions combined.

In short, when it comes to hazards faced by the Royal Navys submarines, their biggest enemy is themselves - the Royal Navy!

And on a annual basis the Royal Navy crashes more surface warships onto rocks and shoals than any other western navy..even in daylight, in charted waters and with all modern navigational gear!
 
Written By: Captain Amir
URL: http://
In short, when it comes to hazards faced by the Royal Navys submarines, their biggest enemy is themselves - the Royal Navy!
At least the Royal Navy isn’t in the habit of destroying allied vessels through live firing ’accidents’ in peacetime exercises.

So - get the f*ck off your soap box, and STAY off it. You’ve no right to be up there.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
This is a BLOG for Weekend Warriors and red-necked right-wing American militarists in general.

The whole thing reads like an episode of "King of the Hill", for Chr*st’s sake!

Substitute ’Martians’ for ’Iranians’ and the tone and credibility of this site would barely have changed.
I see. So there’s absolutely nothing you say anyone should take seriously.

Fair enough.

Just checking.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"At least the Royal Navy isn’t in the habit of destroying allied vessels through live firing ’accidents’ in peacetime exercises.

So - get the f*ck off your soap box, and STAY off it. You’ve no right to be up there.


Written By: William White"

The Royal Navy is far too busy sinking itself or surrendering to be concerned about foreigners. They have surrended to Iran twice in almost 2 years. Will they give Iran a upgrade next? Maybe more sailors, a frigate or something like that?

And since you are so stressed as to swear at strangers, maybe you should find a nice hole and crawl into it or go surrender yourself. Ultra nationalist reactionaries with dirty mouths are
such bores. Maybe a Iranian goody bag would cheer you up.


 
Written By: Captain Amir
URL: http://
Maybe a Iranian goody bag would cheer you up
Chill! Wind down some!

Take a break. Try Canada. Sixty thousand draft dodgers can’t be wrong.
Ultra nationalist reactionaries with dirty mouths are such bores
This is a first for me - being called an ’ultra nationalist reactionary’ on an ultra-nationalist blog site run by people with ultra-nationalist tendencies.


 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
So there’s absolutely nothing you say anyone should take seriously.
Forgive me, but I still don’t see why I should take you seriously.

Enough of this, I think.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
So there’s absolutely nothing you say anyone should take seriously.
Forgive me, but I still don’t see why I should take you seriously.
By your initial criteria you should. But then you backtracked on that. In fact you have no coherent or credible process for judging an argument’s merits.

Since you’re obviously confused, hostile and really don’t have any real criteria for assessing arguments (or presenting a coherent one), you become a huge waste of time. And since time is limited and valuable, you are someone on whom I don’t plan on wasting any more time.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
By your initial criteria you should. But then you backtracked on that. In fact you have no coherent or credible process for judging an argument’s merits.
I didn’t say military service should be the solitary prerequisite requirement for presenting a credible argument.

Try writing something that isn’t laced with snide pejorative comment and tub-thumping jingoism from start to finish, and I might be more inclined to take you seriously.

I wouldn’t give up my post-service day job if I were you, though.

See ya, Hank.
 
Written By: William White
URL: http://
This is a first for me - being called an ’ultra nationalist reactionary’ on an ultra-nationalist blog site run by people with ultra-nationalist tendencies.
Written By: William White "

Well perhaps you need to check your goody bag at the door.

You are defending the indefensible. Only a reactionary monarchist could defend the behaviour of the Royal Navy and the MoD in this affair. And to compound matters you insult the Americans to distract them from your own jingoistic defense of the inexcusable behaviour on the part of the MoD, The Royal Navy and the slimey politcos that creep and crawl in 10 downing street. Its either that or you are truly pleased to see the Iranians
capture a god portion of a Frigates crew with only a few speed boats.

There is nothing much good to say about the MoD and the Royal Navy in this whole matter. To infer that there is, as you are by attacking the Americans, is truly just ultra nationalist yankee baiting rubbish.

















 
Written By: Captain Amir
URL: http://
"Who the hell CARES what your opinion is on military matters if you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about?"

So what happens if two people with military experience disagree? Do you draw straws? Isn’t it just barely possible that someone may have a valid opinion without being the world’s foremost authority in a particular field? For example, in my opinion the battle of Gallipoli was not, to put it politely, the best run operation in military history. The general is charge no doubt disagrees with me, thus it was obviously a triumph worthy of a Caesar.`Boer War, Balaklava, etc. We are long past the day when knowledge was a closely held secret of various priesthoods and guilds.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Quite right too, Gruppenführer"

Good heavens, no! I would not dare to presume to even aspire to so high a rank. No, only a lowly unterscharfuhrer.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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