Let's get the facts and withhold judgement on the Brits

AF A-10's picture

WARNING: If you want info or discussion on local issues, this is not the place to find it.

I have been amazed out how critical of the former British hostages "some" media outlets and talking heads have been. Before the Brits were even home, commentators and editorialists were using words like "cowards" and "embarrasments." I was struck by these two points:

1: We still do not know what these Brits went through. We do not know if they were tortured, threatened, coerced, sleep deprived, or drugged.

2: More incredibly, the talking heads that are so ready to attack the victims have, by and large, never seen a hint of combat outside of a PS 2 game system. Who are they to dictate how a prisoner of war or hostage should act?

If you say you support the troops, then actually support the troops! All of them. Give them the decency of the benefit of doubt before attacking them for how they were compelled to act or react to a hostage situation that we did not experience.


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Denise Conner's picture
Submitted by Denise Conner on Sun, 04/08/2007 - 7:55pm.


A catalogue of errors, from poor intelligence to inadequate training and lack of firepower, was blamed yesterday for the capture of the 15 British Marines and sailors by Iranian forces two weeks ago.

One clear failure was the inadequate protection provided for the boarding party, which was equipped with only side-arms and travelling in two rigid inflatable boats (RIBs). The inflatables were no match for the six larger and better armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels that surrounded them.

The inquiry will want to know why the Lynx helicopter flying from HMS Cornwall, which was equipped with a heavy machinegun, had already returned to the ship before the mission was complete. It was scrambled when the ambush was under way but arrived back on the scene too late to save the Marines and sailors.

“I understand that HMS Cornwall had requested a sniper team be added to its crew but this was turned down by the Ministry of Defence,” one naval source said. “That has now been rectified.”

There are also concerns that Royal Navy commanders had inadequate intelligence that may have made them complacent. Iranian military commanders had been giving warning publicly for weeks that they intended to capture American or British forces in Iraq in retaliation for the arrest in January of five Iranian officials by US troops.

British servicemen were particularly at risk on March 23 since Britain was pushing through a UN Security Council resolution the next day, imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

British soldiers operating in southern Iraq were put on alert earlier this year against the hostage threat. They were authorised to use “maximum force” to avoid being captured while on patrol. The same rules of engagement clearly did not apply to naval personnel patrolling Iraqi waters.

The incident has also raised doubts about whether Britain has the right ships to conduct the operations required in the shallow waters of the northern Gulf. HMS Cornwall is a Type 22 frigate that was designed to combat Soviet submarines during the Cold War.

She is too large to operate in the confined waters of the northern Gulf coast. As a result she was several miles from the boarding party when they were ambushed and so was powerless to help.

Jason Alderwick, a naval expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that the Navy needed a warship more appropriate for the job, such as a small, fast and heavily armed corvette with a shallow draft that could operate right up to the Gulf coast-line. The US Navy is already developing such a vessel, known as a Littoral Combat Ship.

The MoD will also have to review its interrogation training for personnel on active service. At the moment, only forces on the front line are trained to cope with capture and interrogation.



“It was clear they arrived with a planned intent," said Air. "Had we resisted there would have been a mighty fight that we could not have won and with consequences that would have major strategic impacts."

Air said some of the Iranian sailors had been "deliberately aggressive and unstable."

"They rammed our boats and turned their heavy machine guns, RPG, and weapons on us. Another six boats were closing in on us. We realized that our efforts to reason with these people were not making any headway. Nor were we able to calm some of the individuals down... They boarded our boats, removed our weapons, and steered the boats towards the Iranian shore."



Tehran broke international law again by abducting British soldiers; it's time for the world to enforce the rules.

The international community's failure to show immediate outrage at Iran's action is deafening.

Permitting a United Nations member state that is also a regional power like Iran to violate these norms repeatedly and with impunity would have grave humanitarian consequences for the future.

If the [UN] Security Council cannot even "deplore" the unlawful detention of prisoners of war, let alone take more forceful action when a sovereign state chooses to act — openly and unapologetically — like a transnational terrorist organization, then it would better have remained deadlocked and silent. It is worthless as a guarantor of international peace and stability. The Iranian government has chosen to act as an international pariah, and it is time it is treated as such.



Critics have said the British military's vague rules of engagement on when force can be used may have contributed to the capture and subsequent standoff.

U.S. forces in the region operate under stricter rules of engagement, which allow them to use force if hostile boats or ships come too close. It appears the British rules were lax in that the Iranians were able to get close enough to seize the sailors.

Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army officer, said the American code of conduct is clear: Troops and officers will never surrender if they still have the means to resist.

"Had the captured sailors and marines been Americans, they should have fought and, if necessary, died resisting," Mr. Maginnis said. "Of course, that's likely why the Iranians went after Brits and not Americans."


Hope our commanders have learned something from this & have looked for weaknesses that put our soldiers at risk.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sun, 04/08/2007 - 7:41pm.

When the Hatfields' and the McCoys' were having their feud in Appalachia, no one could figure out why it went on until nearly all of them were killed.
It is now believed that many of the family members who were leaders on either side had a brain sickness that made them "blow up" nearly when most anything happened to embarrass them.
There are some on here also who want an immediate bomb run on places like Iran, no matter the long term consequences----win the damn battle, even if you lose the war!
This is why the world has been fighting each other forever. Some of us are not smart, and we fear our destruction with every little insult.

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