April 4, 2007

Iran 'Pardons' Captured British Sailors, Marines

Well, talk about making lemonade out of lemons. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced a "pardon" for the 15 British sailors and Marines just a few moments ago, and promises to have them flown out of Iran within the next couple of hours:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran will pardon and set free 15 British sailors and marines being held in Iranian custody.

"I declare that the people of Iran and the government of Iran -- in full power to place on trial the military people -- to give amnesty and pardon to these 15 people and I announce their freedom and their return to the people of Britain," Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

He said the Britons would be taken to the airport after the news conference. The action was a goodwill gesture for the Iranian new year which began last week, he said.

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "We are looking at what has been said."

Ahmadinejad makes the most out of the reversal. Facing the threat of a blockade if Iran pressed this any further, he gets to look magnanimous while still maintaining the notion that he could have tried the sailors for espionage, even while dressed in uniform. It's a net win, allowing the Iranians to feel as though they won a tactical victory while avoiding having to back up their rhetoric with action.

Whether this is a win for Tony Blair remains to be seen. He stuck with negotiations and got the 15 back, and he didn't have to apologize for a violation that never occurred. On the surface, it looks great -- an end to the crisis without a shot being fired. It's what happened below the surface and behind the scenes that will determine how Blair fared against Ahmadinejad. What did the British have to give up in order to get their personnel back?

UPDATE: Allahpundit smells some quid pro quo:

Iranian state media reported Wednesday that an Iranian envoy will be allowed to meet the five Iranians detained in January by U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil. ...

"A representative from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad will meet" the detained Iranians, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

U.S. troops detained the five Iranians when it raided their office in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous zone, on Jan 11. The troops also confiscated computers and documents.

So far, CENTCOM says they have no information regarding this meeting. It's possible that the Iranians have planted the story in their state-run media to give themselves cover for what could be seen as a retreat from the confrontation that the Revolutionary Guards provoked. That would also explain the invocation of Mohammed as part of the reason for the release. Even if it turns out to be true, it doesn't seem like much of a concession on the part of the US and UK.


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» Iran To Free British Hostages from The Sandbox
From Sky News:Iran is to free the 15 UK sailors and marines taken captive in the Shatt al Arab waterway as a gift to Britain. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the group would be released promptly and handed over to the [Read More]

» Stepping back from the brink from Polimom Says
For folks spoiling for a fight with Iran, this may be disappointing (from Reuters): TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he would free 15 British sailors and marines as a “gift” to Britain. The presiden... [Read More]

» Iran says they Will Free the Sailors from Noblesse Oblige
Amadinejad has stated that he will free the kidnapped British sailors — this comes after an Iranian “diplomat” was freed in Iraq, and after assurances from Britain that they would not sail in Iranian waters. from Reuters: In a dramati... [Read More]

» COMING HOME. BUT AT WHAT PRICE? from Right Wing Nut House
It appears that the hostage crisis in Iran is over. President Ahmadinejad has “pardoned” the British sailors and has given them back to Britain as a “gift:” During his press conference taking place right now, Iranian presid... [Read More]

» Breaking: Iran to release hostages from The Crimson Blog
From Amhadinejad’s press conference just a minute ago. He announced that the sailors and marines had been given “amnesty and pardon” No word yet whether the coalition agreed to release some Iranian hostages in a swap, as had been rumo... [Read More]

» BREAKING NEWS: Iran Hostage Crisis Over? from Right Voices
It  looks  that  way! So  much   for  Rosie’s  Gulf  of  Tonkin-google  it’  moment! ... [Read More]

» Resolution in Iran-Britain Standoff at Hand? from A Blog For All
One looming question, if this story pans out, then becomes who blinked and the ramifications of this act going forward. Ahmadinejad also uses the opportunity to rail against the US and British involvment in Iraq saying that they are responsible for t... [Read More]

» Iran to free hostages from Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy
...As a gift from Gangster-in-Chief President Ahmadinejad. One wonders what deals were cut in the background and if Britain had to humiliate itself even further to secure their release. It's interesting to note that, at the SkyNews site, an informal [Read More]

» A "gift' to the British people from Cop The Truth
Well, Iran wins again. During the photo-op of the decade, Ahmadinejad chatted and joked with the British traitors sailors and Marines after announcing that they would be pardoned and released. Not one of the Brits was in uniform, wearing instead [Read More]

» Ahmadinejad Pardons The 15 Sailors & Marines from Cest Moi Political Blog
During a press conference President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held in Tehran this morning, he announced that even though Iran has the legal right to try the hostages, he has decided to pardon them in honor of the birthday of the prophet. [Read More]

» 2007.04.04 Iran/Brit Hostage Crisis Roundup
-- Free - But One Last Wait
from Bill's Bites
Ahmadinejad Says British Troops Will Be Freed TEHRAN, Iran — Fifteen British sailors and marines seized by Iranian naval personnel have been pardoned and will be freed, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a press conference Wednesday, but he vowed his [Read More]

Comments (39)

Posted by Lew [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:59 AM

"Mission Accomplished!" reads the sign on the wall behind Ahmadinejad as he magnanimously relinquishes his self-asserted right to kidnap and hold the uniformed soldiers of a foriegn country on the high seas, and even put them on trial if he chooses.

If Tony Blair see's his goal as merely recovering the 15 hostages, then he's accomplished it. Ahmadinejad however, had a much different set of goals and he also accomplished them. The British come out of this incident much diminished in the Middle East world of power politics and the Iranians much empowered - mission accomplished!

The fact that the Senior Officer Present at the time, felt unable to exercise independent command and trust that his superiors would back his decision, tells you everything about what's wrong with the British Navy.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:01 AM

Since we will never know what the conditions of this condition were for the release, we probably will never be able to come to a conclusion who the big winner is nation wise. The biggest winners of course have to be the families of these British Military Personnel.

We will also never really know if they were in or not in Iranian waters, but we also know they should have never been kept for this long whether they were or not. It is very easy to get into someone else's waters. We did it in the Coast Guard during the Cuban Boat lift when we got within 9 miles of Havana, all by mistake, but I am sure we would have never admitted we were that close.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:11 AM

Britian should ignore any concessions it gave, and continue its patrols -- beefed up, and with itchy trigger fingers.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:22 AM

I don't know why in day 2 Britian didn't just go ahead and admit that there may have been a problem with their coordinates, secure their troops and then claim they rechecked and were in fact not wrong after the fact. So what if they were right or wrong, who cares. We would still have come to the same conclusions we are reaching today. We would not have thought any less of the UK or any more of Iran.

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:23 AM

It's good news.

The Iranian government itself has said in the same news conference that there is no link between the 15 Brits being freed and the negotiations over consular access for the five Iranians being held by the US in the Iraq.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:30 AM

"We will also never really know if they were in or not in Iranian waters."

Oh please, it comes down to do you believe the UK or the Iranians? The Iranians government has and always will lie about anything and everything. They are bandits and their President is a kidnapper.

But even if the sailors were in Iranian waters, what should have happened is that they should have been warned off, not captured and paraded on TV as hostages.

I hope our sailors and marines have strict orders, enforced by our Code of Conduct, to NOT SURRENDER to the ragtag pirates of the Iranian criminal regime.

Our Code of Conduct instructs us to never surrender and to never willingly make statements that shame our country.

The Iranian rowboat armada should be at the bottom of the sea right now and their one oil refinery in flames.

This is a humiliating defeat for the UK.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:35 AM

No Donkey ... you have doubts that covert operations are run into Iran? What universe are you living in? I would not bet either way and just because one government admits or denys something means little or nothing. And, I said they should have never been detained in my post. Guess you missed that in your zeal to make your point.

Who said anything about the soldiers admitting or not admitting to anything?

Posted by patrick neid [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:37 AM

a tip of the hat to the iranian mullah with that big calloused hand he bitch slapped the british with for so long. i thought no one could possibly keep slapping someone for more that a week. whew, this guy is tough.

now that we know the iranians are normal fun loving folks when they next take some hostages we'll all have to just put up our feet because we know they will release everyone unharmed. no worries.

i don't care who won this "behind closed doors". the only victory that counts is the one in full view. the iranians kicked butt and the brits have their tails between their legs. everybody, behind closed doors, knows we could make a parking lot out of iran. big deal.

Posted by Bill M [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:51 AM

Believe they've been released when you see them out of Iranian hands, not before.

I suspect there was a come to Jesus (and not Mohammand ) meeting somewhere where it was laid down in no uncetain terms that Iran had it's ass in a crack and the crack was going to slam shut. It probably bypassed the nutcase and went directly to the mullahs. They then ordered the release.

But I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:55 AM

"you have doubts that covert operations are run into Iran?"

I certainly have hopes of it. But from the looks of the British sailors and marines, I wouldn't trust them with taking a bunch of preschoolers to the zoo. So I don't think this was a covert mission.

I also know from experience that there is no government in that area in the country (besides Israel), whose concept of "truth" even approaches ours. ME Arab/Persian govt officials lie five times before they bugger their first boy each morning.

"I said they should have never been detained in my post."

Didn't say you did, but if they would have been warned off, the exact coordinates would have been pretty much irrelevant afterwards. As it was, the pirates captured the UK sailors and marines. Didn't that sort of escalate the incident?

"Who said anything about the soldiers admitting or not admitting to anything?"

The sailors and marines "admitted" to trespassing into Iranian waters, which is disgraceful. Just making a point, not rebutting you.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 10:07 AM

"...what should have happened is that they should have been warned off..."

Let's say China attacked Mexico and occupied their country, and the Cubans were Chinese allies in the occupation. The Chinese are then start talking openly about invading the US, and there is strong evidence of them conducting covert ops in the US and supporting US rebel groups that want to overthrow the US government. In that situation, what do you think the US military would do if they encountered Cuban troups in US waters? Would they warn them off?

If US troops were in Iranian waters and Iran warned them off, what would you want the US troops to do? I think you answer would be to either ignore them, kill them, or nuke them. And you probably would be correct. Maybe that's why Iran decided not to warn them off.

Posted by Captain Ed [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 10:08 AM


A covert operation -- by sailors and Marines in full uniform out in the middle of the Persian Gulf? Are you kidding me?

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 10:21 AM


You can bet if the US Navy did capture your hypothetical Cubans then parade them on TV cameras wearing Yankee hats, the outrage would be deafening.

"If US troops were in Iranian waters and Iran warned them off, what would you want the US troops to do? I think you answer would be to either ignore them, kill them, or nuke them. And you probably would be correct. Maybe that's why Iran decided not to warn them off."

The British Navy was still in a position to perform the latter two of your options (kill or nuke - I like!) whether or not the Iranian pirates were on board the ship with British sailors and marines.

So the Iranians intended to make hostages of the sailors and marines, regardless of the consequences, which predictably turned out to be nil.

Warning the ship off would have been the act of a responsible, peaceful, sane nation, which Iran most certainly is not (although it's very touching how people wish really hard to pretend that they are).

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 10:55 AM

I asked what the US would do with the Cubans in my hypothetical. You answered "if the US Navy did capture your hypothetical Cubans then parade them on TV cameras wearing Yankee hats, the outrage would be deafening."

This response does not answer my question. What do you think the US would do in a similar situation? Do you think the US would warn them off because they are a "responsible, pecaeful, sane nation"? Do you think they would capture the Cuban soldiers, even if they did not put them on TV? Or do you think they would kill the soldiers or nuke Cuba in response (the option you favor)?

IMO, the Cuban soldiers would be captured, and I think you know that is true. Problem is, you don't think other countries should be allowed to do what the US can. Presently, the US captures thousands of people and ships them off without trial, never to be heard from again, and that seems to be OK.

BTW, during the initial US invasion of Iraq, I saw Iraqi prisoners on CNN daily.

Posted by Fight4TheRight [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:00 AM

When you really look at the original incident, it is truly amazing how "crafty" those Brits were to attempt this "attack" on Iran. First off, they launched this assault on the Islamic Republic of Iran in BROAD DAYLIGHT! (very clever)....then, in order to heighten the element of surprise, the Brits stop to do a several hour inspection of a passing freighter! It really was diabolically clever!

: )

One thing I would like to be serious about is this: If I was the U.S., I would ask Britain for the opportunity to interview each of the Brit marines and sailors as to WHAT EXACTLY was done to them by the Iranians to serve up these confessions and letters. I believe in one report today one Brit sailor told the Iranian President , "thank you for your forgiveness."
I mean, whatever tools, tricks, methods were used to turn these Brits into propaganda puppets in as little as 2 days should be documented and forwarded to all American officials in the position of interrogating terrorists.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:05 AM


If the Cubans were on a UN sanctioned mission, and acting as a boarding party? In disputed waters?

The US Navy would warn them off. The US Navy follows rules of the sea. Iranian pirates only follow their goat violating Captain Blackbeards in charge.

Now if the Cubans failed to comply, they would be responsible for what happens next. The Iranians never warned off the UK Sailors and Marines, it stormed ahead and captured them.

If China were to invade and take Mexico, (besides producing some interesting opportunities for take out food), I don't see the rest of your scenario in the playing out.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:18 AM

"If the Cubans were on a UN sanctioned mission..."

My overall point is that if the UK soldiers were in Iranian waters, then the Iranians did nothing wrong. Could you tell me how the UN sanctioned the right of UK soldiers to enter Iranian waters? Are you saying the UN sanctioned the occupation of Iraq? It's certainly funny to me to hear someone on this site fall back on a countries right to do something based on what the UN says.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:24 AM

NPR talked about how Blair made things worse by taking a hard line, and it wasn't until the last two days that the diplomacy really got moving. They also mentioned how Ahmadinejad didn't mention the pardon until 45 minutes into an anti-British tirade.

That was pretty weak kneed reporting by NPR. Did the guy doing the voice ever have a thought that maybe BECAUSE Blair was so hard-lined, the diplomatic resolution was that his folk got released without any overt conditions? Or that the reason Ahmadinejad spent 45 minutes in a tirade before mentioning the "magnanimous" release was that he had to wind himself up to say something that obviously left quite a bit of bile in his mouth...

The end result is that Iran tried brinksmanship, and had to blink.

And, Monkei, at the time of the Cuban boat lift (1980), the US (and most other nations) recognized only a 3-mile territorial limit; at that point, Cuba claimed a 12-mile limit, so your viewpoint is obviously Cuban in origin. It was not until 1982 that the international community extended that limit to 12 miles via the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. As of 1999, the United States claims a 24-mile contiguous zone limit for customs and sanitary discharge purposes; Cuba claims the same. Some nations (mainly Latin American ones) claim a 200 mile limit, but the US does not recognize such claims (although the international community is slowly moving in that direction, pushed by such fisheries nations as Iceland and Canada). Currently, transits of the Arctic by US naval units are a diplomatic problem with Canada, as are transits of the Gulf of Sidra with Libya.

And, while we personally might not know, the Iranian publication of two separate sets of coordinates (an initial set, corrected to a new location in Iranian waters only after the British pointed out the problem with the first coordinates lying within Iraqi waters) seems to give the lie to their version of events.

Posted by Tom Holsinger [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:47 AM

Maybe Blair will give Iran a special deal on the about to be decommissioned ships (half the Royal Navy) which Britain no longer needs.

Posted by Sapper [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:58 AM

We're in big trouble folks.

(BTW, I've been blogging about this here: http://sapper.townhall.com)

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:59 AM

Um, dave, if China attacked Mexico in that scenario, we would be at war with them already. US doesn't like other parts of the world starting wars on our borders. In your hypothetical, the US would not be parading them around.

Also, the original coordinates given by the Iranians themselves showed that the UK folk were in Iraqi waters.

Posted by johnnymozart [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:25 PM

And I suppose all that GPS data showing the British soldiers 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters is irrelevant.

Problem is, you don't think other countries should be allowed to do what the US can.

Correct. I do not think the despots and thugs and totalitarian regimes of which you are so fond should be allowed to do what the US can.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:39 PM

Off the top of my head, I can't remember an incident during the Cold War when Soviet ships and aircraft violates US boundaries and we shot at them. The Air Force routinely scrambled interceptors and escorted them away, but I don't think we ever fired anything beyond a warning shot.

There are two standards of behavior in the world:

1. "Adults", like the United States, Britain, etc. are expected to exercise restraint and obey not only the letter of the law, but even the spirit of it as defined by their enemies.

2. Everybody else, like the norkies, Iran, Saddam, etc, who are expected to act like barbarians and ignore international law when it suits them. The "adults" are supposed to show patience, understanding and forebearance... and set themselves up for more heapings of abuse whenever the thugs feel like it.

Note that, as far as the left and its lackeys in the MSM are concerned, Iran is the good guy here. They kidnapped British sailors and held them under threat of "trial", but now that they've decided to be big about it and return them, Ahmadenijad gets kudos. Rush played a clip from Christianne Amanpour in which she theorized the Ahm. released the sailors because Easter is coming up, and (like all good muslims) he has nothing but the deepest respect for our holidays.

And I was so looking forward to Operation Persian Murder-Death-Kill....

Posted by continuum [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:43 PM

Iran let them go, because Iran already won the battle.

It wasn't about who captured who on which side of the border between Iraq and Iran.

It was who would capture the hearts and minds of the Arab people, and maybe most folks everywhere except inside the US.

Consider the two pictures.

Iran captures 15 British sailors and "tortures" them by giving them clean clothes, cigarettes, good food, nice place to sleep. They even went so far as to make the one female sailor wear a head scarf. Then, to torture the British sailors even further, they showed film of them which showed them to be well cared for, physically healthy, and smoking some cigarettes. And, the boy-president whines that the Geneva Convention doesn't allow photographs. (Meanwhile, the peanut gallery snickers.)

Compare the above with the pictures of naked men in a pyramid, attack dogs, hooded men hooked up to electrodes in Abu Ghrab. Or, the guys in orange jump suits with completely hooded heads, knealing in stress positions, duct tape over their mouths. Unable to communicate with the outside world for 5 years. Gonzales says that water boarding isn't torture, and the Geneva convention is outdated and quaint. (Again, snickers from the peanut gallery.)

What do you think the average Joe Arab in Egypt or Tunisia thinks about the above? Hell, what do you think the folks in Europe or South America think?

Do you think your average Joe Arab cares that the 15 are "official" sailors and the guys in Abu Ghrab were "not official" army. That distinction is lost on them. Hell, it's mostly lost on me.

The MSM has not mentioned this tremendous loss in the propaganda war to the American people.

Even Bush's special Arab propaganda tzar woman from Texas won't be able to spend enough money to counteract this contrast.

And, we wonder why the Arabs in Iraq, Iran, Syria Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc look upon the US with anger and disdain. Does the word hypocrite come to mind?

It's just so plain sad.

And, Skippy doesn't get it.

Posted by james23 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:46 PM

Blair may have his marines back, but the facade of British power is lost and gone, perhaps for good. 15 Brit special forces captured by 6 Iranians, not a shot fired, then or later. Sorry, that is pathetic.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:46 PM

"My overall point is that if the UK soldiers were in Iranian waters, then the Iranians did nothing wrong." - dave

Let's assume the UK was operating in Irani waters and we can leave out the UN thing (I was just trying to parallel the scenarios and it's really irrelevant to the situation).

The US Navy ship would radio the other ship and inform them in no uncertain terms that they were in approaching US waters and to back off.

They would not just storm the ship and capture the crew. Wouldn't happen, unless the Captain wished to be standing tall before the Admiral.

And again, the warning off would happen BEFORE the ship in question was in our waters. Not, "oh gee, here you are, now we capture you!", like the band of pirates what passes for the Iranian Navy, did. And that's accepting their version of the tale, which is completely untrue.

We the United States has a professional Navy. The Iranians are a bunch of ragtag pirates. That tireless apologists for dictators and terrorists can't tell the difference, is no surprise.

Posted by nberio [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:50 PM

Over the weekend the Russians leaked that the US was planning a missile strike in early April possibly this Friday. Is it possible that the US was intending to strike Irananian nuclear facilities over this and the Mullahs backed down while saving face.

Posted by continuum [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 1:30 PM

Scene in Baghdad, Average Joe Iraqi and his brother-in-law Ahkmed watching TV during the 1/2 hour of electricity they get a day in Baghdad.

Ahkmed: Those Iranians are criminals. They captured those Brits inside our soverign Iraqi national border.

Average Joe Iraqi: Wow . . . look . . . They have electricity and hot food in Iran.

Ahkmed: But, the Brits were more than 15 feet inside our borders. Those Iranians are ware criminals and must be destroyed.

Average Joe Iraqi: Wow . . . those Brits look pretty good. Is that clean drinking water they have? Are, those real cigarettes? And, wait. Can't you hear it. Abolute silence in Iran. Why, there are no bombs going off outside where those Iranians are keeping the Brits.

Ahkmed: But those Iranians seized the Brits against all international law. Look at this map and satellite photo from the Americans; I can prove that the Iranians are on the wrong side of the border.

Average Joe Iraqi: (Thinking to himself . . . why the hell did my sister marry this guy?)

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 2:20 PM

"I do not think the despots and thugs and totalitarian regimes of which you are so fond should be allowed to do what the US can."

But the reason that you think those leaders are despots and thugs is because you make up different rules for them to follow in the first place. When they break these arbitrary rules, then you call them despots. Israel can develop nukes without signing the NPT and can violate dozens of UN resolutions, but if another country does it, they are despots. Maybe we should all follow the same set of rules, and see which country is the real rogue state in a world of equality. I think you would be surprised.

If you think the US military knows about every boat crossing into or out of our territorial waters, I think you need to wake up.

"They would not just storm the ship and capture the crew. Wouldn't happen..."
Juast like the US wouldn't just round people up and send them off to other countries to be tortured without a trial. That wouldn't happen either.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 2:54 PM

"If you think the US military knows about every boat crossing into or out of our territorial waters, I think you need to wake up."

They sure as shooting know about any foreign warships near our waters, and they most definitely would in the case of the admittedly unrealistic scenario you presented.

The HMS Cornwallis was nearby when the sailors got captured. Even the dimwitted Iranians knew there was a foreign ship near or in their waters, depending on whose version you believe. I assure you our Navy has considerably more prowess than the Iranian stink boat Navy.

If you can provide an example of when the US Navy did anything similar to what the Iranians did here, I would like to know about it.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 3:08 PM

About those double standards:
Chavez is nationalizing the Venezuelan oil industry, because he is an evil commie despot that is "taking over" the US oil companies. The actual terms of the new arrangement, however, are "...better than those offered by other oil-producing countries with closer political ties to the U.S. After all, Venezuela will continue to permit private companies an ownership stake in exploration and production projects — something prohibited by Mexico and Saudi Arabia."


(I don't know how that bit of reality made it into the MSM).

This is the case with all the issues surrounding Venezuela. Most things Chavez does in his "socialist revolution" pale in comparison to what is done in Sweden. His "oil takeover" terms are not as strict as those in Mexico or Saudi Arabia. He "took over" the telecommunications industry, but he paid them 20% over market value. So Chavez has different standards that he is supposed to llive by, and when he doesn't meet them, he is a "despot". The standards he is required to meet is to let multinational corporations rape his country, and he doesn't allow it. So he is a despot. Maybe all countries should have the same rules to live by.

"If you can provide an example of when the US Navy did anything similar to what the Iranians did here..."
Nope. I know of very few incidents at all where US citizens have ever been exposed to any military aggression whatsoever on their own soil in recent times. Despite this, Americans seem to be the most terrified of anyone in the world of the prospect. (But we are very brave). Maybe when more incidents start happenning here, people will not look for any reason they can think of to bomb other countries. People may look at things differently when they are on the receiving end of aggression (whether its military, or "terrorism").

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 4:05 PM

"Maybe we should all follow the same set of rules, and see which country is the real rogue state in a world of equality. I think you would be surprised." - dave

Seems like the rules the US follows (even though, I know we are hated by every single person in the world and many who live here, unlike the cuddly Iranians), for some reason bewitch and entrance the world and cause millions of free, educated people to risk their lives to live here.

Somehow, I failed to read or hear about the millions of people breaking their necks to live in Iran, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba or any other of your worker's paradises. The right wing media must be lying to me. And about all of the European expatriates I have living around me, they must have been captured and brought here by Obengruppenfuerher Karl Rove.

And the millions of people who are frightened of life under the evil George Bush! It will be a wonder if we have even a few dozen people left here for the '08 elections. Ms. Rodman might win, 20 votes to 9 (depending on how New York breaks). By the way, since you don't seem to be leaving either, maybe you can run, dave. I might even vote for you!

Posted by SoldiersMom [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 4:16 PM

contiuum says, "Hell, it's mostly lost on me." I suspect there are alot of things mostly lost on you such as the smokescreen you guys use of the "horror" at Abu Grahib (sp?) and how it pales in comparison to video taped beheadings by terrorist thugs, which BTW, you guys never debate.

contiuum, get a clue. Trotting out Abu Grahib only works with left wing ideologues. Even they aren't stupid enough to believe this was an atrocity beyond bearing, but have fooled themselves into thinking most others do.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 4:54 PM

Now, now, everybody. Our liberal pals have a great point here. I can only hope that, if I'm ever kidnapped at gunpoint, threatened with a "trial" and made to "confess" on TV, that my captors will otherwise be as gosh-darned nice as the Iranians!

And as for those poor goat herders and tulip farmers that we have locked up in Gitmo and other sooper-sekrit CIA torture prisons... Doggone it, we just need to be nicer to them! Just because we think they don't wear uniforms, shoot our men in the back, behead helpless prisoners and blow up women and children, we should treat them as well as the Iranians treated those uniformed British sailors and marines they kidnapped... er, politely invited to spend a free holiday in the wonderful Islamic Republic of Iran.


We've heard apologists for America's enemies before, haven't we?

"This is Jane Fonda speaking from Hanoi. Yesterday evening - I had the opportunity of meeting seven U.S. pilots. Some of them were shot down as long ago as 1968 and some of them had been shot down very recently. They are all in good health. We had a very long talk, a very open and casual talk. We exchanged ideas freely. They asked me to bring back to the American people their sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what they have been asked to do.

"One of the men who has been in the service for many, many years has written a book about Vietnamese history, and I thought that this was very moving, that during the time he's been here, and the time that he has had to reflect on what he has been through and what he has done to this country, he has - his thought has turned to this country, its history of struggle and the people that live here.

"They all assured me that they have been well cared for. They listen to the radio. They receive letters. They are in good health. They asked about news from home.

"I think we all shared during the time I spent with them a sense of deep sadness that a situation like this has to exist, and I certainly felt from them a very sincere desire to explain to the American people that this is a terrible crime and that it must be stopped, and that Richard Nixon is doing nothing except escalating it while preaching peace, endangering their lives while saying he cares about the prisoners.


Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:07 PM

The people that decide to move here do so for economic reasons. This is not something to be proud of. What does the US do in the world to make its money? Are people moving here for the moral leadership the US represents? Hardly.

Let's say you 16 years old and living in a family where the parents are honest, hard-working and model parents. However, they are dirt poor. You have the opportunity to move in with a family whose parents are mobsters, but they are filthy rich, have a swimming pool and will buy you a sports car. Do you move? If you do, does the mobster family get to claim how great they are?

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 8:32 PM


There is no right of innocent passage through a country's territorial waters. If the Iranians truly believed that the British were in their waters, they had every right under international law to blow them out of those waters without any warning whatsoever.

We've seen that kind of behavior by the (thankfully, ex-) Soviet Union. Ever listen to those tapes of the Russian fighter pilots shadowing that Air Korea jetliner? No warning, just a few missiles up the tail, after getting permission from ground control. And completely legal, if somewhat reprehensible.

Some group of Iranian hard liners did this for a reason; as several have pointed out above, the most plausible reason was to make points in the Islamic world. I would expect that a fair amount of force was used on the Brits, and they behaved in exemplary fashion. They maintained their wits, and did nothing to antagonize their rather irrational captors.

I like the touch Ahmadinejad used in asking the British Government to not punish the soldiers for admitting they had been in Iranian waters. It's as clear a statement as any that the British Government made no such admission to the Iranians, so they had to settle for what interesting gestures and stilted statements they could get out of the captives.

Posted by lexhamfox [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 3:17 AM

"If you can provide an example of when the US Navy did anything similar to what the Iranians did here, I would like to know about it."

I recall an Iranian airliner being shot down and the wreckage ended up in Iranian waters.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 8:01 AM

Yes, the Vincennes shooting down flight 655 was a proud moment in US military history. Of course, that was a "mistake" (even though flight 655 was transmitting its civilian airliner signal the whole time, and speaking with air traffic control in English as well). The US never accepted responsibility, never apologized, and never admitted wrongdoing. Actually, the crew of the Vincennes all received medals. One of those incidents people on this site tell me I should be proud of, I guess. It's an amazing story when you read all the details, especially concerning the psychotic captain of the Vincennes.
As it is, probably 1 out of 1,000 Americans even knows about this incident. Imagine if the situation was reversed, and Iran blew an American airliner out of the sky in US airspace.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 8:11 AM


I forgot about the great quote from Bush I concerning the Vincennes incident:

"I will never apologize for the United States of America — I don't care what the facts are."

Makes me so proud.