Thursday, April 5, 2007

britannia does not rule the waves any longer.

So the British seamen and marines are back home. President Acnefacejihad released them, gave them some Iranian candy and souvenirs on the way to demonstrate Iran's good will, and everyone in Blighty is happy to have the lads (and lass) back on home soil.

Something about the whole thing has bugged me ever since they showed the first televised pictures of the captives. (Something other than the obvious cheekiness of the Iranians, of course.) The captured group consisted at least partly of Royal Marines, supposedly some of the finest snake eaters on either side of the former Iron Curtain. The British captives apparently confessed on camera to intruding into Iranian waters, which may or may not be hogwash. The sole female captive even went so far as to say that they'd been "sacrificed" by their own outfit, and that the Iranians were a rather decent lot for being so nice about the whole thing.

Now, I spent some time in uniform, and while the German Fernspaehers are not quite on the same "oo-rah" level as UK Royal Marines (we were supposed to look and report, not stage commando raids and stuff), we were told a few things about "What To Do When Ivan Gets A Hold Of You". We were to give name, rank, and service number, and any inquiries beyond that were to be answered with a congenial, but insistent "go pound sand". Going on Russkie TV and singing like a parakeet was certainly out of the question, and denouncing our own country or armed forces was most definitely not an option.

I am typing this in the comfort of my own living room, of course, and we thankfully never had the opportunity to take advantage of Warsaw Pact hospitality, but I tend to think that our sense of honor and shame would have kept us from bad-mouthing our own military for propaganda reels even if we had car batteries clamped to certain sensitive parts of our anatomies. Hell, if John McCain can frak up a North Vietnamese propaganda reel by flipping birds and shouting expletives with full knowledge that a savage beating would ensue, I'd like to think that I'd have enough fortitude to tell a bunch of Iranian Gestapo clowns to go piss up a rope, especially considering that executing me would most likely spark a shooting war. (I don't like McCain one bit, but I have to admit that the man had balls when he was in the Hanoi Hilton.)

As things stand, they'll probably get medals. If I was their CINC, they'd be facing a court martial, or at least a serious demerit, for Failure to Grow A Pair. I mean, can you imagine U.S. Marines badmouthing the Corps for Iranian cameras? All of the Marines I've ever known would just as soon take a bullet to the head.

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