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Michael McGowan

This should not be a surprise. The only surprise is that it has taken this long to manifest itself. The Labour Party is run by a clique of babyboomer Cultural Marxists who despise Western Enlightenment values and freedoms. Overt anti-Americanism is stamped into the DNA of many of them. Just as their thirties forebears lionised Stalin, so many of the current crop would like nothing better than to see Britain and the US humiliated in the Middle East.

Jon Gale

Too many things lumped together.

1) There was nothing incorrect about the seamen not fighting back when captured. We are not at war with Iran. They shouldn't of had a gunfight any more than if they had been captured by the Russian or Kenyan Navy.

2) The seamen's conduct after capture was shameful - 'admitting' they were in Iranian waters, thanking Admedinajad, etc.

3) It was another embarressing mistake to allow them to sell their stories.

4) for the BBC to say “UK version of events” alongside the “Iranian version of events” is perfectly reasonable and unbiased description of fact - since the two sides have conflicting versions of events!


Start training some heavy duty, hardcore NCOs if you want to get anywhere and make the Royal Navy meet Army levels of fitness


Loconte-"They seem to reserve their skepticism for those democratic leaders willing to confront the nightmarish intentions of radical Islamists"
I would hope that most persons with a balanced, informed intellect could discern that 'skepticism' of our current leadership (UK & US) was formented by their use of connived deception to justify the Iraq invasion. It is true that 'nightmarish intentions' do exist on the Iranian side especially with regards to Isarel,however they exist within the Neo-Con/Evangelical fundamentalist adminstration currently formulating & administering the U.S government's global policy.

Loconte-"Finally, there’s little sign that anyone will press the question of what Iran is doing to support terrorist atrocities in Iraq—and what actions must be taken to stop it."
Equally important but, more sensitive and less discussed is the atrocoties commited by our allied forces and sponsored agents in the Iraqi Interior ministry death squads. Death squads that are trained by our troops(unwittingly,I must add), armed and financed with our U.S & U.K tax revenues.
Loconte-"A second issue involves the consequences of Iran’s unprovoked seizure of a British crew, operating under a UN mandate in Iraqi waters. Their mission, fully supported by the Iraqi government, was to intercept weapons that are fomenting terrorist violence"
The U.K government could have taken a strong line against the Iranians, however we are compromised by the presence of our troops in Southern Iraq.
Those troops would have borne the brunt of any reaction to our dealings with Iran. As tragically happened with the loss of 4 lives in the week the 15 sailors were released.
Mr Loconte you appear to have a good grasp of the issues but lack any cohesive balance in your discussion of them.
Iran had diplomats on an official visit to Arbil,Iraq kidnapped by U.S forces and 'disappeared'into the legal anomaly that is U.S military detention.
With this in mind how can we condemn their actions without a scent of 'hypocracy & intellectual malaise' pervading.


I thought this was about how the phrase "war on terror" weakens our struggle to protect ourselves and should be jettisoned to begin with!

tired and emotional

Yes, I think that’s a fair summation of the situation.

According to Hansard, the quote Browne used from the Marine Captain was in full:

"there would have been a major fight, one we could not have won, with consequences that would have had major strategic impact".

He may be right but the questions are I suppose, with due deference to the officer concerned, his expertise and his need to make a rapid assessment of the situation…

1. Would the Iranians have boarded our craft, technically entering sovereign British territory and sparking off a firefight if our troops’ defensive posture had been aggressive and held without regard to outcome? The Captain cannot know the answer to that. Also, in the event of a tense standoff the arrival of the helicopter or other coalition forces might have swung the balance and encourage the Iranians to withdraw.
2. The event has had a major strategic and tactical impact, surrendering like lambs has not prevented that. In fact it has informed the world that British sailors and marines are a pushover, hamstrung by ROEs and lack of support and equipment.

On a side note:

I expect we'll see a radical toughening of the BBC's line on the murderous Palestinian groups and their supporters now that it appears their journo has been killed out there.

Not really.

If he's dead, it'll be Israel's fault somehow and the sycophancy from the BBC and Al-Reuters and the rest will increase as they further distort their ‘editorial coverage’ to protect their people on the ground.

If he’s produced alive, like a rabbit from a hat, then their dhimmitude will descend to new lows for the same reasons. We could even see overt gratitude towards Al Quaeda if they handle it right.

Kill or not kill. The result will be the same in terms of media coverage.

Win-Win for terror.

Teddy Bear

Speaking of Des Browne, " Home Secretary John Reid, claimed it was “courageous to say we got this wrong.”

Rewarding failure again.
Liars can be 'inventive' or 'creative'
Inept can be 'consistent', or 'courageous' when discovered and admitting it.
Corrupt can be 'enterprising'.

I'm reminded of a line a mimic made after Watergate, where imitating ex-President Nixon he says,
"I take full responsibility for the Watergate affair, however I am not guilty. What is the difference you ask? Responsible people keep their jobs, guilty people go to jail".

Kevin Sampson

"There was nothing incorrect about the seamen not fighting back when captured. We are not at war with Iran. They shouldn't of had a gunfight any more than if they had been captured by the Russian or Kenyan Navy." Jon Gale

This makes sense only if you accept the Iranian claim that the incident occured in Iranian waters. If it occured in Iraqi or international waters then it was an act of piracy at best, an act of war at worst. Maybe the Iranians don't share your view as to who is, or is not, at war with whom.


I think the fact that we can be arguing about the proximity of the area of their capture, in relation to the Iranian/Iraqi waters is the issue. If the incident occured in the English channel then we could have a right to display moral indignation.
The fact that we attempt to justify our presence patroling Iraqi Oil fields and borders on the authority of a government we installed through military occupation betrays a wilful denial of context.
The majority of even moderate Iraqi's do not want us in their country. Thus we cannot derive any legitimate authority from a government that does not reflect the views and opinions of it's populace.
Tired and emotional- In fact it has informed the world that British sailors and marines are a pushover, hamstrung by ROEs and lack of support and equipment.

The fact that the British military are trained to a level that allows them to be hamstrung by rules of engagement is testimony to their profesional approach to their jobs. This is illustrated by the lack of atrocities like the massacre at Haditha, friendly fire incidents like the killing of Lance Corporal Matthew Hull, the use of prohibited ordnance(white phosphrus) in the battle of Fallujah e.t.c.
Their professional approach is not matched by any clarity within the political defence establishment leading to failures in the management of their media exposure. The MOD miscalculated the political capital(spin) to be gained from the stories and the public and military reaction to the stories.

Teddy Bear

I think Melanie Phillips tells it like it is, as she does on so many issues.


Dennis - Reading your post, the words 'straw' and 'grabbing' come to mind. Keep telling yourself what happened in Iran was a British victory.

tired and emotional

I love the idea that being hamstrung and surrendering in the face of superior force represents the pinnacle of training and makes our forces a more capable military.

There was a huge political failure before, during and after this incident but it was not merely one of media management. To claim that it was falls into the same trap as the MOD and Navy did... this is about force, brinkmanship and power. These concepts cannot be realised entirely by headlines, a fact you and Labour would do well to remember.

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