Rules of Engagement

The Iranians grabbed British seamen to provoke an incident and they may succeed. They are playing a charade that the Brits confessed. This is just silly. GPS data prove the case. Nothing the sailors say changes geography. The Iranians know that. We know they know and they know we know it. They are baiting us. We should not take the bait. This whole sticky situation could have been avoided if the Brits had reacted Horatio Nelson style to the Iranian attack.

This is a case where robust rules of engagement would have simplified the situation and lessened tensions in the long run. What the Brits should have done was either move their warship between their sailors and the bad guys in their little boats or blow the little Iranian boats out of the water. This sounds like escalation, but it would have banged the ball back into the Iranian court. The Brits would have been able to prove that they were in not in Iranian waters by marking the sunken Iranian boats.

What would the Iranians have done? Nothing more than they are doing now except they would be playing a weaker hand. There would have been the same staged demonstrations and the same saber rattling, but would they really have changed their behavior? Maybe they would try to build a nuclear weapon. Maybe they would threaten to destroy Israel. Maybe they would call the West a great Satan. Maybe they would support the insurgency in Iraq or support Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I do not believe we should go to war with Iran and I do not believe we will. But I DO believe that showing weakness INCREASES the risk and showing strength decreases it. I hope that both we and the Brits have taken this lesson and the next time Iranians aggressively approach in their small boats the bad guys become intimately acquainted with the ocean bottom.

What did Nelson say that fits this situation? "Never break the neutrality of a port or place, but never consider as neutral any place from whence an attack is allowed to be made."

Posted by Jack at April 2, 2007 10:43 PM
Comments
Comment #214750

Jack

The rules of engagement that the Brits were operating under, required that the commander had to get authority from London before he could engage the enemy.

I just wish he would have made a mistake and sank the Iranian boat if nothing more that a little target practice.

A deal will be struck and the Brits will go free.

One thing that could bring Iran to its knees is to remove all diplomatic personnel from London and enforce severe economic sanctions on Iran. Also a blockade of the port so that no ships could get to Irans ports.

Posted by: tomh at April 2, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #214749

Jack,

I’ve worried ever since then that the Iranian’s would say, “we’re using the same techniques as the Americans”!

Waterboarding is OK! Forced standing for hours on end is OK! Sleep deprivation is OK!

Given scenes from Abu-Graib the Iranians might say that the use of sexual torture is acceptable, maybe the use of attack dogs?

Maybe we can place these “detainees” where-ever we wish! We may use them as human shields because we fear attack. Jeeze, ya don’t suppose us “war-gaming” in their backyard had anything to do with it?

We’re in a pissing match with Iran. There are no winners. You can bet your ass that Iran has many of their missiles honed in on our FOB’s in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran’s first hit on a US FOB would bring Bush just what he’s hoped for since the day the dick-head took office: NUKE!

Hell’s bells, I didn’t vote for him, don’t blame me!

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #214751

“I just wish he would have made a mistake and sank the Iranian boat”

Hell yeah! No point in waiting for the end of days when you can cause it!

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 11:34 PM
Comment #214752

Oh, and just what evidence have we seen connecting the Iranians we took hostage to any anti-Iraqi activity?

Gee, that dropped off the headlines real quick didn’t it? As i remember quite a few Kurds said they were doing just what they were supposed to be doing. Er, uh, guests in my country-invited here! But suddenly taken hostage!

How much more have we heard about that?

Uh, nothing? Are they in one of our “secret” prisons being “not-quite-tortured”?

If you don’t see the problems with the Bush-Co policies by now you never will.

Or maybe you’re just hell-bent on the whole “dominion over the earth” philosophy.

Posted by: KansasDem at April 2, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #214753

Who’s “WE” Kimosabe! Jack, you talk about the Brits and use the term “we” interchangeably. Since when did the U.S. repatriate back to British Sovereignty?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2007 12:15 AM
Comment #214756

Jack,

http://www.rawstory.com/showarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.independent.co.uk%2Fworld%2Fmiddle_east%2Farticle2414760.ece

Raw Story, a liberal site, reports on an article from a British newspaper, suggesting the taking of British hostages is retaliation for the hostages taken by American forces a while ago in Arbil, and that American forces were attempting to capture high ranking Iranian officials visiting Iraq.

Is it true? What happened to the Iranians we captured? Does this really have anything to do with the Iranian capture of the Brits? While it seems a stretch, I would be willing to bet there is a lot more to this sideshow than meets the eye.

Posted by: phx8 at April 3, 2007 1:31 AM
Comment #214760
The Iranians grabbed British seamen to provoke an incident

And you know this… how? Isn’t it more likely that the Iranian commander screwed up or that some faction within the Iranian military acted on its own? The Iranian government is acting more like it wants to end this while saving face rather than trying “to provoke an incident.”

This exact same scenario happened a couple years ago. The Iranians let the Brits go and everybody dropped it. No big deal. Same thing will happen this time.

As for rules of engagement, I also wondered why the British warship didn’t put itself between their small boats and the Iranian boats — or stop the boats after the British sailors were taken. Certainly, if they were in Iraqi waters, they had the authority to do so.

I suspect the British military will decide their captain exhibited poor judgment in this incident and end his career. It never should have been allowed to happen.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 3, 2007 1:49 AM
Comment #214767

Iran, one of the worlds largest sponsers of terrorism kidnaps British sailors from Iraqi waters.

I think it’s time we stop worshiping at the alter of multiculturialism and pretending we are weak and most bow down to this rogue state.

I heard a great idea today. Iran has ONE gasoline plant and must import massive quantities.

Shut down that one plan then stop the gas flow, let Iran know they need to release the hostages and give up on the nukes, or they can go back to camels.

Now is the time to deal with Irans nukes, not after they have them and slip one to one of the many terror groups they support.

Posted by: Stephen at April 3, 2007 3:28 AM
Comment #214768

All of you Iran baiters seem to know nothing, or care less, of Irans history, particularly in how it relates to the US and Britain.

Don’t you know that their democratically elected leader was ousted in a US/British coup? That the Shah, a criminally despotic ruler, was installed by the “allies”? Don’t you know that this was done for the benefit of big oil? Don’t you know that the repression of the Shah, at the instigation of the “allies”, through his secret police, Savak, brought about the Iranian revolution and the rule of the Ayatollahs? Have you no powers of empathy to understand the mindset of a people who were controlled by imperialists? Can you only see the world through your own prism, or is it possible for you to attempt to see the world through the eyes of others?

As I live in Ireland, I know a little something about this. I have only to consult the history books on my own country. Also because I live in Ireland, I have ready access to the British media. On the BBC’s premier news programme, Newsnight last night, it was shown that both diplomatic and military personnel were taking a calm attitude to the capture of the British personnel. They believed that the matter could be sorted relatively quickly through diplomacy. One expressed incredulity at Tony Blairs emphatic and belligerent stance, particularly regarding the territorial control of the waterway where they were captured. The professionals in the diplomatic and military services were coolheaded and practical. Blair blew the whole thing up, for political reasons. It is clear, and was indeed made clear on Newsnight by a senior British naval officer, that the borderline in this area between both Iraq/Iran and Iraq/Kuwait, is very nebulous. A treaty signed in 1975, was to be reviewed every ten years due to shifting sands in this delta. It has not been reviewed. Therefore, the British cannot say with certainty that they were not in Iranian waters. Further, we know that US special forces are operating in Iran, probably also British ones. We know that the US captured Iranian representatives in Iraq, and despite calls from the Iraqi “Sovereign” government for them to be released, they are still in US captivity. We know that Bush is sabre rattling in the Gulf, with two carrier task forces. And with all of this, you can convince yourselves that Iran is the great satan?

If I were an Iranian, knowing what I know of the US and Britain, knowing that my country had been defamed as part of an axis of evil, seeing my neighbouring country invaded on farcical trumped up claims of connections to Al Queda and 9/11 and the above mentioned current actions of the “allies”, I would be very suspicious of any activities by these parties in my neighbourhood.

It has been interesting to watch these captives on TV broadcasts. People talk about them being forced to make statements. Yet they are clearly very relaxed, amused even. Their whole body language is indicative of people who feel no threat. I wonder if we could say the same of the Iranians kidnapped in Iraq? Well, we just don’t know.

Unfortunately, it seems all too few Americans are capable of trying to see the world through the eyes of others, particularly those whom they are at any given time facing down as “evil” You have no sense of history. Not even your own. You had a revolution to oust the British imperialists and to control your own affairs. Your dead white guys counseled against foreign entanglements.

You may spend more on your military than the rest of the world combined, though I am at a loss to understand why, but for all that, you can’t pacify one divided country, of 25 million. Yet, very soon you may be at war with a country of 70 million. A country with people who say that if their country is attacked, they will do their duty. A country that could finally put the nail in the coffin of the US misadventure in Iraq. Even the Saudi puppets are beginning to revolt against the shrub. The arab leaders are being increasingly undermined in their own streets by US behaviour in the region. These famously quiescent puppets of US hegemony, are amazingly starting to make disquieting noises against the empire. Don’t we just live in interesting times?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 3, 2007 4:17 AM
Comment #214769

Jack, you speak of more robust rules of engagement. Many Americans seem to have a lot of respect for Churchill. Wasn’t it him who said that jaw jaw is better than war war?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 3, 2007 4:33 AM
Comment #214770

“Many Americans seem to have a lot of respect for Churchill. Wasn’t it him who said that jaw jaw is better than war war?”

That’s a good position to take, however, If someone leaves their yard and comes onto a public sidewalk to hit me, I’m gonna knock the shit out of him. (My rules of engagement)

Posted by: tomd at April 3, 2007 6:33 AM
Comment #214771

Nice one tomd, only this didn’t happen on the public sidewalk. It was not international waters. It was either Iraqi or Iranian waters. It certainly wasn’t British. And the British themselves don’t know whether it was Iraq or Iran. As for leaving yards, who truly left their yards? I notice that you also ignore the historical context I included above. Why I am not surprised?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 3, 2007 6:57 AM
Comment #214772

“Nice one tomd, only this didn’t happen on the public sidewalk. It was not international waters. It was either Iraqi or Iranian waters. It certainly wasn’t British. And the British themselves don’t know whether it was Iraq or Iran. As for leaving yards, who truly left their yards?”

You are right…GPS cordinates show it to be Iraqi waters. OK, the same rules would apply if someone left their yard and assulted me in their neighbor’s yard.

” I notice that you also ignore the historical context I included above. Why I am not surprised?”

Yeah I ignored your historical context because it dosen’t matter with this situation. If you are pissed at me for something in the past and you come into YOUR NEIGHBOR’S yard and hit me, I’m gonna knock the shit out of you. Nothing changed.

Posted by: tomd at April 3, 2007 7:22 AM
Comment #214776

Kansas

Let’s not pretend the Iranians are imitating us. They were taking diplomatic hostages in 1979 and doing all sorts of things.

The British sailor case is different in any case. There is no useful information that could be obtained from them no matter what the means used to obtain it. They were at a specific place on the earth. GPS can prove that. They cannot “confess” to going into Iraqi waters. That would be an incident, not a crime, even if it happened.

Re rules of engagement, we have gotten to the point where only our opponents take the initiative and we just do not respond. The Iranians took the British and attacked a British Royal Navy party. They did it. A British response to counter Iranian aggression would have avoided the present crisis.

David

The British are our allies and were cooperating with us UNDER A UN MANDATE. Maybe I should be a little more circumspect with the pronouns, but I think that you should stand with your friends when they are right.

Phx8

Why do Westerners always do the propaganda work of our adversaries? The Iranians did not link the two when they took the Brits. If it was their goal, it is like having a doomsday device and not telling anybody about it. We do not need to make excuses for them. The Iranian regime is rotten.

AP

That is what I believe. Of course the Iranian government does not speak to me on these matters. My opinion is that they are trying to provoke us because of their desperate situation at home.

We agree about what the Brits should have done.

Paul

I am aware of all that history. I am willing not to hold the 1979 hostage taking against the Iranians, even though member of the current government were involved. History is not excuse for continued bad behavior.

Re the British sailors making statements: it does not matter. What they say makes no difference. It is a matter of Iraqi waters, UN mandates and rules of engagement. Unfortunately the seamen are just pawns in this game.

Re Churchill: I do not believe he would have supported the rules of engagement as practiced.

Had the Brits reacted forcefully, we would not have an incident at all. They could have put their warship between the Iranians and their people. During the Cold War such border incursions were regular occurrences. When the Soviets would stray into NATO space, we would push them back out and they did the same to us. That is how we AVOIDED confrontation.

By allowing the Iranians to get out of hand, we have increased tensions. You cannot reward bad behavior or you get more of it.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #214780

Since when showing GPS coordinates are definitive proof your were somewhere? Coordinates are no magic. Any idiot could grab whatever coordinates using Google Earth and claim he was there or not. Doesn’t make it truth.

I’m not saying UK is lying (wont be the first time, though). I’m just NOT that naive to swallow any official “we’ve GPS coordinates” declaration as fact.
Fool me once…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 3, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #214795

Philippe

People navigate with GPS these days. That is how you determine the boundries. That is how you know where you are on the earth’s surface.

In the worst case (for UK) scenario, you have a minor marine border incident. It should be no problem. Such things happen all the time. They happened regularly during the Cold War. You meet the opponent and escort them out of your waters. The Iranians chose to make it a provokation.

The more I think about it, the best case would have been for the British warship to interpose itself and create a wake tossing the Iranians into the water. It would not have hurt anybody and we all could have had a big laugh.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #214796

Jack: I must disagree with you on this one. You seem to have neglected the fact that soft power is always more powerful than hard power. What this episode has done is weaken the Iranians’ hand significantly. To wit, they’ve lost Russian and Chinese support. To wit, the incident has weakened the Iranians’ position vis-a-vis their nuclear program. In the instant case, the Iranians f***ed themselves… as adolescents often do….

Restraint is always a position of strength especially in face of a petulant adolescent (I must admit, here, that when my son was 13 - 16, I did contemplate taking a 2x4 to him on several occasions) — it’s called acting like an adult. For the very reason that we know the Brits were not in Iranian waters, restraint on the Brits’ part has placed Iran on the indefensible defensive. Even more importantly, restraint on the Brits’ part denies Iran another excuse for a nuclear program.

BTW, you might want to read more Nelson. He was not nearly as trigger happy as you suggest. Finally, the incident does not qualify as an “attack” under the rules of war. Hence, your Nelson quotation is not on point. The incident falls into the gray area where a mature, long-term focus demands restraint. And if it were an “attack,” for the sake of argument, what you suggest would not be a proportional response as required under international law. The “good” guys lose if they act like the “bad” guys. It’s the play ground bully kind of thing.

Notwithstanding the above, Jack, I still like you and find your posts thought provoking.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 3, 2007 11:03 AM
Comment #214798

I think the point that’s being missed here, which is accepted by very senior people in British government, is that there is no generally accepted and definitive demarcation of where the boundary between Iran and Iraq lies in this waterway. One Iraqi officer is reported to have said, having interviewed an Iraqi fishing vessel crew, that the British were in Iranian waters.

With respect to the British service personnel making statements, I did not pass comment on the veracity of those statements. I simply said that these were, according to their body language and general demeanour, very relaxed, comfortable and even amused. Not only was there not the slightest hint of any coercion or oppression, they almost seemed to be enjoying themselves. I wonder if the Iranians kidnapped by the US in Iraq would seem the same?

Jack, you say that history is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Come on Jack, a moment’s thought will tell you otherwise. After you own civil war, did everyone gather round for group hugs? After the abolition of slavery in the US, was everything rosy in the garden for the former black slaves? Is everything even now, rosy for the decendants of the black slaves? Or ever for Native Americans, all of these years after the Indian wars? I make these points not to criticise, but merely to demonstrate how far history can cast its shadow. In my own country, only recently has the bitterness of colonisation and oppression subsided amongst the majority of people on this island. Indeed, there are still considerable numbers who do not share the general sense of goodwill towards our nearest neighbour.

The US, since the taking of the US hostages, has made no effort to build bridges with Iran, but has consistently portrayed them as outside the pale. If you bully and abuse someone for many years, until they finally manage to free themselves from your tyranny, yet even after that, you still seek to harass and abuse them as much as you can, would you really expect them to be well disposed to you? I am no apologist for the mullahs, but every revolution generates its extremes, and it takes time for revolutionary fervour to subside and for normality to return. Iran is less than thirty years from its revolution. In my own country, the scars of our civil war of the 1920’s were still apparent in the 1970’s, and in some respects, still are. No doubt Iran would be a much more moderate country towards the west if the west had adopted a more conciliatory approach since 1979.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 3, 2007 11:16 AM
Comment #214801
I’m gonna knock the shit out of him. (My rules of engagement…Posted by: tomd at April 3, 2007 06:33 AM
You mean like we’re doing to the insurgency in Iraq? What is with you people; losing the war in Iraq so go start another one with the Iranians? Maybe we can go 1 for 2?

And Jack claims not to “want war” yet, escalation does exactly that. And where exactly ARE those boundarys, Jack? No one agrees to where the lines are in the gulf. Play chicken? For what? So you can prove your boat is bigger today? What an incredibly stupid game. And so cavalier in killing more people, whatever happend for the “party of life”? Shoot first ask questions later. Nice Motto.
(Needed to rant a bit, thanks)

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 3, 2007 11:28 AM
Comment #214812

Jack,

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/04/03/iraq.iranians.ap/index.html

According to a senior Foreign Ministry official from Iraq, the Iranians want their people back, the ones Americans took hostage in Arbil. One Iranian kidnapped by the Iraqis has already been returned. Let us hope the Iranians we took hostage are still alive, and have not been tortured too much. It would be a sensible resolution, trading them and their silence for the Brits.

So, in response to your question: “Why do Westerners always do the propaganda work of our adversaries?” I would reply “Why do Republicans always believe the propaganda fed to them by conservatives?”

Posted by: phx8 at April 3, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #214816

Jack Jack Jack, when will you ever learn?
When a Repbulican is in power, you do not take the word of your own President or country, you trust the words and actions of radical leaders of other countries.
WE, torture and kill the enemy, everybody else cares for their enemy.
WE, must understand and respect our enemy but we do not need to offer our own country and its President the same.
Shoot, Bush probably planned and executed this whole scenario in order to take us to war with Iran so that he could continue his global quest of setting up a Christian theocracy where he, and he alone, will rule the world.

Its all America’s fault. Bush is evil. Got it? Good.
Now your qualified to run for President as a Democrat.

Posted by: kctim at April 3, 2007 12:08 PM
Comment #214819

kctim, that’s a silly thing to say.

Also because I live in Ireland, I have ready access to the British media.

Paul, it’s no surprise that tomd insists the Brits were in Iraqi waters despite, as you point out, the British military itself isn’t quite so sure. The US TV and radio “news” hasn’t been reporting any uncertainty over the international boundries and are really riling people up over this incident.

Having lived outside the US, I know that, with the exception of some of the bigger newspapers, what passes for the news media here in the States is crap.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 3, 2007 12:23 PM
Comment #214826

I’m surprised no one has mentioned that we had a very similar situation with China in 2001, and Bush resolved the crisis with a half-hearted semi-apology. I don’t see why Britain needs to act any differently than we did.

Posted by: Woody Mena at April 3, 2007 1:28 PM
Comment #214829
and Bush resolved the crisis with a half-hearted semi-apology.

…to the everlasting shame of the Republican Party. William Kristol was talking impeachment because President Bush apologized to China after they forced down our plane over international waters.

Oh, and don’t forget how President Bush paid ransom to al-Qaeda for the return of some Christian missionaries in the Pacific.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 3, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #214843

Dr Poskek

I believe you have to defend yourself otherwise people like the Iranians will push the envelope. They are working to provoke a conflict and we have only choices among bad alternatives. Nipping it in the bud, as I said having the warship get between them and the Brits and maybe creating a wake to comically tip them into the ocean, would have been best.

I agree that the Iranians may have overplayed this and it might blow up in their faces, but the UN is very craven and some will be looking for ways to appease.

Paul

Uniformed military in Iraqi waters is different from Iranian agents on Iraqi territory. I would expect if the Iranians found U.S. personnel operating inside Iran they would treat the situation appropriately too. As I wrote above, it makes no real difference if they were just within Iranian waters or just without. The appropriate response is to escort them out. Beyond that, if the Iranians really thought it was their waters (assume good faith mistakes) their duty would be to escort the Iraqi boat out too. Their behavior was simply inappropriate no matter what circumstances we stipulate.

RE history, I did not say we should forget history or that it will not affect us, but it is no excuse for bad behavior. Everybody has some kind of grievance against everybody else. It is like the 50 year old woman blaming her parents because she has “issues”.

Besides, the Mullahs should not hold a grudge about Mossadeq. They would have happily stoned him given the opportunity.

Re the hostages, I agree that we still hold a grudge a bit too long, but Iran has been working to support terror and against most of our interests too. There is mutual distrust. This is different than what the Iranians are doing in this particular case, however.

One more thing about history and behavior and this is the power aspect. Lots of people might have reason to want to harm us. That is why we cannot let them get away with things like grabbing those sailors.

Dave1

If the Brits had interposed their ships and swamped the little Iranians boats, there would be a comic opera ting to this. The taking of the British hostages created the scope for escalation. It could have been avoided through tougher rules of engagement. Appeasement often leads to war.

Phx8

The Iranians may bring this up now, but it was not the issue. They are trying to make this a red herring. The Soviets used to do the same sort of thing. You cannot compare uniformed military in doing a routine inspects in Iraqi waters (or to give the benefit of the doubt Iranian waters. It makes not much difference) with agents on the ground in the middle of Iraq in a conflict zone. As I wrote above, if Iranians find armed American within Iran, I bet they will handle the situation in a different way.

Woody

The Chinese situation was very different. The Chinese were behaving in the accepted way (i.e. getting close) but the Chinese pilot got too close and crashed also causing the U.S. plane to come down on Chinese territory. It also was an acknowledged spy plane. This was more akin to the Cold War games I talked about, but it went wrong. It was a truly ambiguous case. As AP says, some people thought that what Bush did was inappropriate even in those conditions.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #214846

Jack,

Real death is never comic. By encouraging an increase in violence you indicate that escalation of violence will resolve tensions and you think the Iranians will back down. Yah, sure they will. They will greet us with flowers, just waiting for American democracy to come rescue them. The current path, chosen by the Brits, appears to be working to our favor. It’s not the quick fix the wingers want, but it’s better than another war.

You also seem to conveniently ignore that there are extant issues re: the international boundary over which wars have started.

Finally, at no point did I indicate a choice for appeasement. Not shooting is not the same as appeasement.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 3, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #214847

Jack: I realize you have an aversion to nuance as does every conservative. Unfortunately, the real world is not black and white.

When you advocate “creating a wake” which you assume (spell that out) is harmless, you don’t seem to understand that there is a substantial probabilty that such an action will result in death. If an action results in death (in American jurisprudence, we call it manslaughter), you’ve just upped the ante. This is why we hope that adults are calling the shots rather than school yard bullies.

What you argue presumes a American moral superiority, a highly questionable presumption. This is the very mind-set that has put us in the the middle of a losing engagement in Iraq. While you (and I) may presume Americans are superior to everyone else… that doesn’t make it so… in fact, it doesn’t matter what we think. The first rule of foreign relations is the acknowledgment that the “other side” is right… then, at least, one is grounded in reality.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 3, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #214851

The way I look at it, when the other side screws up like this, and you’re not prepared to fight a big nasty war, the best course of action is to keep yourself calm, and push your much better position on them, allowing them the course of saving face.

There are people saying that the folks who did this may not have been following orders from Teheran when they did so, which puts the Iranian government in a quandary. The Revolutionary guard is of course state sponsored, but not entirely controled by them. Unfortunately, that means they get all of the credit and none of the control.

So what might happen? If we play our card right, we might get them to put the kibosh on these people, to some extent, which will reduced the stability of the extremists in the Teheran government. A bad thing? God, no!

So what do we want to do? Keep our cool, and let the extremists dig their own graves with the Iranians, who are none to happy about this crap.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2007 3:08 PM
Comment #214858

Jack,

“Maybe they would threaten to destroy Israel. Maybe they would call the West a great Satan. Maybe they would support the insurgency in Iraq or support Hezbollah in Lebanon.


Uh, “maybe”?!! They’ve already threatened Israel; you know, while they were trying to build nuclear power for “alternative energy” purposes only. We know Iran supports insurgency in Iraq and they were the ones (including Syria) who fund Hezbollah; especially, in the 2006 war last Spring. You know, the one where the MSM got caught doctoring photos of buildings bombed by Israel and staged photos of this same, old palestinian hag that was shown losing (the same) family member twice within a two week span. Not to mention, the UN and how they were so quick to end the war on Israel’s side; less than a month later, “Nose hair” Nasrallah (sp?) and his Hezbollah terrorist pig army were celebrating “victory”.


“I do not believe we should go to war with Iran and I do not believe we will.”


We (Britain/US) should sink some of the Iranian’s navy ships and subs; just to get their attention. And, the anti-war supporters/pro “diplomacy” crowds ought to take heed and see (exactly) what happens when you don’t direct your (hateful) energies towards the “Real Enemies”! Learn it and don’t make that mistake again, or it’s more Americans & Allies that will suffer the consequences!!


“I hope that both we and the Brits have taken this lesson and the next time Iranians aggressively approach in their small boats the bad guys become intimately acquainted with the ocean bottom.”


Probably not. These rules of engagements are for weaklings that want to lose. It’s pathetic!

Posted by: rahdigly at April 3, 2007 3:52 PM
Comment #214864

Jack,

People navigate with GPS these days. That is how you determine the boundries. That is how you know where you are on the earth’s surface.

Thank for the GPS 101 lesson.

Now, could you show me how do you certificate that some GPS coordinates were truly the ones gathered while your troops where cruising these waters?
A GPS receiver/tracker is not a black box recorder, and AFAIK military ones are not that “open” to independent review, either.

You claim that GPS data “prove” the case, I claim anybody can setup whatever GPS data offline. GPS coordinates are not certified genuine, and presenting a GPS backtrace fall far from being a genuine proof.

In the worst case (for UK) scenario, you have a minor marine border incident. It should be no problem. Such things happen all the time. They happened regularly during the Cold War. You meet the opponent and escort them out of your waters. The Iranians chose to make it a provokation.

Maybe they don’t knows Cold War is back and they’re expected to behave like the russians used to do, then.
Maybe having 150,000 americans soldiers and two aircrafts at your borders make them too much nervous.

The more I think about it, the best case would have been for the British warship to interpose itself and create a wake tossing the Iranians into the water. It would not have hurt anybody and we all could have had a big laugh

Oh yeah, seeing The Really Soon Iran War taking shape is so funny.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 3, 2007 5:18 PM
Comment #214869

Dr. Poshek:

What you argue presumes a American moral superiority, a highly questionable presumption.

Philippe Houdoin:

Now, could you show me how do you certificate that some GPS coordinates were truly the ones gathered while your troops where cruising these waters?

Here is an interesting fact. These troops are European, not American at all, and they were working undr a UN mandate. Oops.

The Iranians themselves first gave the coordinates where they said they picked up the British sailors in “Iranian waters” and then retracted them when—oops—it was pointed out to them that these coordinates were actually in Iraqi waters. So let’s try again. Then they gave new coordinates which not only contradicted the British but themselves. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Nonethless, there are some so consumed by hatred for America that they’ll believe the Iranians no matter how much they change their story, blame America for the actions of Great Britain, and then go on to make excuses for the mullahs, no matter what they do.

Eventually the British will get their people back, and then we’ll be treated to endless crowing about the success of passive diplomacy when in truth there’s no reason whatsoever for Iran to ever give those soldiers back—except for one little thing. Two American carrier groups off their shores.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 3, 2007 6:01 PM
Comment #214871
they were working undr a UN mandate. Oops… Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 3, 2007 06:01 PM
What UN mandate is that? Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 3, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #214873

UNSC Resolution 1723

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 3, 2007 6:38 PM
Comment #214879

Phillippe Houdoin

The ship the sailors were on is required to record position and action. Some of this is recorded automatically and some must be done manually. In either case there is a time and date stamp applied.

Posted by: tomh at April 3, 2007 7:29 PM
Comment #214895

Paul Euroland,
Dont know what country you live in but chances are your country either exists now because of our military might in the past or is protected by it now. That is why we have a large military. We also cannot depend on our so called allies and NATO to do anything but appease any terrorist threats. Americans did not just appear out of thin air, we came from countries such as yours. We did make mistakes such as slavery early on but they were bad habits from the old country (perhaps yours),that our great grandads (maybe your too) had. Our country by great sacrifice and loss of life eliminated slavery and in just under three hundred years became the greatist country on earth with millions of people wanting to come here from other countries to enjoy our american freedom. Again Paul I do not know where you live but before you slam our country look at the past of your much older country and youll find the brutality in your history is what our grandads here escaped from.

Posted by: dolan at April 3, 2007 9:27 PM
Comment #214896

There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians are telling the truth here, but even if they were, it’s irrelevant.

The British sailors were acting on a UN mandate and were on small craft which had just inspected a vessel heading to Iraq. Accusations that they were “spying” is utterly absurd. Spying on what? Fishermen in wooden boats?

For the sake of argument, let’s say that they DID stray into Iranian waters—what then? If a boarding party ventured into Iranian waters while performing a mission under a mandate by the UN, then I’ll grant that the Iranians WOULD be perfectly justified in detaining them.

Fine. But to keep them for weeks, parading them before the cameras, forcing them to give canned confessions for propaganda purposes, forcing a female soldier to dress up in Islamic guard?

There is absolutely no justification for this behavior whatsoever.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 3, 2007 9:30 PM
Comment #214915

Rahdigly-
Look, there are people within their government questioning the wisdom of what was done. All we need to do is stand firm, and not give the hardline jackasses the attack they need to rally support.

Sun Tzu would tell you that the best way to fight a war is to get what you want without having to use force.

My advice? Let the reasonable people in Iran have the chance to see the situation they’re in, so they can gently put an arm around the the shoulders of these hardliners, lead them out back, beat the s*** out of them, and come back and make a deal with us.

If a country doesn’t want war with us, we can, if we play it cool, employ that desire to get them to stop doing dumb provocative things. If we go in and blow s*** up, it might lead these people to put aside their disagreements with each other and support the more militaristic folks in charge. If these people believe they can keep their troops in theatre longer than we can, an attack may stiffen their spines more than it scares them into submission. They know they can hold on to Iran longer than we can Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 3, 2007 10:24 PM
Comment #214916

Stephen

As I wrote in the intitial post, I do not think we should take the Iranian bait. The government there is in serious trouble and they would like us to over react.

My point is that a more robust rule of engagement would have prevented this problem. It is like tightening a loose bold. If it stays tight, it doesn’t break. When you let it get loose the whole thing shears off.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #214921

dolan,

“Again Paul I do not know where you live but before you slam our country look at the past of your much older country and youll find the brutality in your history is what our grandads here escaped from.”

Ahhh yes, our grandads escaped the brutality in Europe to commit the same atrocities that they were the victims of in America; indeed how noble we are!

Do not be too hasty my dear friend; just because YOU and I may be AMERICANS, doesn’t mean that you’re morally superior than our foriegn buddies.

Why is it that whenever someone, like Paul, mentions the cold hard facts of America’s history, he or she is judged as “slamming” America. I guess Jack Nicolson was right when he said, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!”

Posted by: greenstuff at April 3, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #214926

Paul,

I belive there is a scientific consensus that the GPS cooridinates are accurate. So, since this is now fact no more discussion on this point.

Posted by: andy at April 3, 2007 11:11 PM
Comment #214928

greenstuff,
Your post proves my point, isnt it a great country made up of different peoples from all over the world that would protect your open dislike of the country that you live in. You can burn the flag,call your president country and troops names and still you and your rights will be protected. you have to admit its a great country expesially for for people such as yourself.

Posted by: dolan at April 3, 2007 11:15 PM
Comment #214930

Greenstuff

History is full of good guys and bad guys - rather more bad guys.

Americans are not better than others, but we did manage to create a country freer and more prosperous than those that came before.

Our ancestors did a good job of conquering the continent. That is the way things were. I do not feel bad about that. In the clash of cultures, I would rather be on the winning side.

I try to be a good person and would like to do the right thing. I prefer to settle disputes peacefully. But if there have to be wars, I want them fought in somebody else’s country and if there have to be victims, I would prefer my people not be prominent among them.

That is why we want to be strong. There is no virtue in being weak. Arguments and debates work nicely among equals or as long as the stronger party tolerates it.

I guess that is a cold hard fact. Did you ever read Thuycides’ Melian Dialogue?

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #214938

Jack: The “more robust rule of engagement” that you propose would be exactly the over reaction desired by the Iranians that you seem to counsel against.

Soft power is never weak and only becomes stronger with use; hard power is inherently weak for the reason that its very use diminishes both this nation’s reserve of hard power (think the mess in Iraq) and soft power (think the mess in Iran).

As for the Melian Dialogue in its applicability to the instant case. You appear to have errantly reversed the roles in your intended analogy.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 4, 2007 12:15 AM
Comment #214955

LO,

Nonethless, there are some so consumed by hatred for America that they’ll believe the Iranians no matter how much they change their story, blame America for the actions of Great Britain, and then go on to make excuses for the mullahs, no matter what they do.

Where did I said that? Please back such claim with fact. Otherwise it’s just your opinion.

I express doubt about Jack’s claim that GPS data are proof. Period. I don’t care who publish GPS coordinates. I say publishing GPS coordinates is not a proof that people were or not actually there at a specific time. GPS data can be very easily forged. I’m speaking purely on technical field here. I’m not saying that the case here. I’m saying GPS data are not, alone, certified enough (in fact, not at all) to be a proof.

Back to iran case, I’ve no reason to doubt *everytime* about what they say BUT *never* about what we say. I’m more inclined to, by default, doubt both sides, and doublecheck to get a sense of the truth behind the official declaration.

Except that I don’t have done that yet about this event. So, I stay on pure technical field. GPS is not DNA.

Andy,

I belive there is a scientific consensus that the GPS coordinates are accurate. So, since this is now fact no more discussion on this point.

GPS coordinates are accurate, no debate.

But GPS doesn’t provide a way to know for sure that some GPS data showing coordinates were gathered there and at this time. The GPS satellites network don’t record anything, they just emit signals which, while triangulated, allow a target’s GPS “tracker” to compute coordinates and record it. This recording is not controlled by the GPS network itself, and the tracker can do whatever he want to with it. A GPS tracking trace is forgeable. It’s just a software and data. Forging digital data that don’t need to be signed is, well, as easy as posting here.

Saying we have GPS data showing the coordinates where these and that a proof is like saying a mail address showing your house is there and that’s a proof. That’s technically wrong.

LO,

Eventually the British will get their people back, and then we’ll be treated to endless crowing about the success of passive diplomacy when in truth there’s no reason whatsoever for Iran to ever give those soldiers back—except for one little thing. Two American carrier groups off their shores.

These two american carrier groups didn’t stop the iranians to capture them, though. Maybe technology and muscle show is not THE solution to everything anymore. How sad.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 4, 2007 6:20 AM
Comment #214958

Dr Poshek

It is always hard to fit one rule to all. Soft power is essential for avoiding conditions of conflict, but once a real conflict has begun using it is a lot like trying to nail Jello-0 to a wall. The paradox is that diplomacy should avoid force, but must be backed by it.

Re Melians - I was thinking of it in general, not the specific case. It does not apply in the specific case. The Iranians surely do not have justice on their side and the Brits are unlikely to exercise power.

Posted by: Jack at April 4, 2007 8:01 AM
Comment #214961

LO,

There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians are telling the truth here, but even if they were, it’s irrelevant.

The British sailors were acting on a UN mandate and were on small craft which had just inspected a vessel heading to Iraq.

Hey, what happened to the “UN is irrevelant” crowd? They shift to “truth could be irrevelant when you have an UN mandate” now?

Ah ah.

Fine. But to keep them for weeks, parading them before the cameras, forcing them to give canned confessions for propaganda purposes, forcing a female soldier to dress up in Islamic guard?

There is absolutely no justification for this behavior whatsoever.

Yeah, you should not show image of prisonners. Except the ones in Abu Graib or Gitmo. Or Saddam’s sons corpses.
See, we’re in bad position to say “that’s intolerable”. Not because its not (because it is) but because our hyprocrisis is showing badly.

Let’s behave (again) better than that or let’s stop faking being shocked. Simple.

Accusations that they were “spying” is utterly absurd. Spying on what? Fishermen in wooden boats?

For the sake of argument, let’s say that they DID stray into Iranian waters—what then? If a boarding party ventured into Iranian waters while performing a mission under a mandate by the UN, then I’ll grant that the Iranians WOULD be perfectly justified in detaining them.

Fine. But to keep them for weeks, parading them before the cameras, forcing them to give canned confessions for propaganda purposes, forcing a female soldier to dress up in Islamic guard?

There is absolutely no justification for this behavior whatsoever.
Posted by: Loyal Opposition

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 4, 2007 8:17 AM
Comment #214980

Jack:

Re Melians - I was thinking of it in general, not the specific case. It does not apply in the specific case. The Iranians surely do not have justice on their side and the Brits are unlikely to exercise power.

My previous comment vis-a-vis your having errantly reversed the roles still applies. Iran is not Melos with a justice claim and the UK is not Athens with military might as you imply. Rather, in the instant case, the UK is Melos and Iran is Athens. Therefore, when you suggest the UK should react aggressively toward Iran, you are asking it to follow the Melian example. Unfortunately, the Melians did not have available to it the philosophical construct of pragmatism in international affairs that Henry VIII gave to the world in the 16th century.

An interesting insight of US Grant on the defeat of Melos: the Melians’ fatal flaw was their presumption that the gods were on their side.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 4, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #214981

Dolan, clearly you don’t know which country I come from. My country exists because 90 years ago patriots rose in rebellion against the British imperial colonialists.Despite many Irish people in the US lobbying for support from the US govt at the time, you guys stayed firmly on the British side.

This rebellion led to the freedom of the larger part of my country, after 700 years of near enslavement and repression. I believe we were in fact the first to break away for the British empire. I know you will probably say that your country was, but, let’s face it, you were actually the colonisers there, turning against your masters. As to protecting my country now? From what exactly? The nearest country to us to the west is the USA, do we need protection from you guys? To the east, the UK, which we now enjoy excellent relations with, and beyond that the EU countries, of which we are a part.

You talk of your nato partners appeasing terrorist threats. That’s a new one on me. Perhaps you could be more specific? In contrast, your “Fuhrer”, in response to a terrorist criminal act, launched a “Global War on Terror”, or gwot. He did this by pre emtive invasion of sovereign countries. I concede that Afghanistan was a failed state that harboured terrorism, and needed to be dealt with. However, even an idiot could have forseen what would happen if Iraq, a country that was a mortal enemy of Al Queda, was invaded. If the Shrub didn’t know, then all he had to do was to ask pop, H.W. Back in 91, he held off toppling Saddam, because he knew, and was advised that such a course would fatally fracture Iraq, causing massive instability in the region and be of considerable benefit to Iran. The GWOT is a smokescreen for a PNAC scheme for endless war, to advance American hegemony across the globe. If people in the US can’t see that, well then, they’re in the minority globally.

As to your charge of bad habits from the old country? Well, as we were the colonised and oppressed people, we didn’t do much slavery. In honesty however, there were many Irish in the US who were happy to profit from slavery, and many others who took the king’s shilling by serving in his imperial army. But then oppressed people often do serve their master to keep body and soul together. As to your American freedom? Do you seriously think your freedom is unique? Do you imagine that the rest of the world is only dreaming of having the liberties that Americans have? I have news for you. There are many countries, including my own, that are at least as free as yours. Some would argue even more so. We don’t have judges pursuing political agendas. They are just judges, doing what they are supposed to do. They certainly never serve the executive branch, nor are they nominated by it. I know the US has many myths which it uses to bind disparate peoples together. But you have to take them with a little pinch of salt. I mean don’t always take them literally. They are useful, but if used to extremis, they are dangerous, leading to myopic and destructive patriotism, which can easily lead to fascism.

Finally, the brutality of my countrys history indeed happened. It was a brutality imposed upon us by a vicious, rapacious and evil empire, as most empires are. It led to a drop in the population of my country in the 19th century by 50%, caused by famine and emigration. A famine in a country that was exporting food to the empire. How about that? Maybe this will give you some idea of how we can more easily empathise with those who are currently being strongarmed and even held up by the current bully on the block. I don’t say that against Americans, but against a regime which I believe has an evil and sinister agenda.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 4, 2007 11:16 AM
Comment #214982

Stephen,

“Look, there are people within their government questioning the wisdom of what was done. All we need to do is stand firm, and not give the hardline jackasses the attack they need to rally support.”


You’re telling World powers to wait for the overthrow of the Mullahs from the Iranian people?!! The same could have been said 28 years ago! You’re asking alot, even much more now, from the West when Iran refuses to end their nuke program; they continue to support terrorists (Hizzbullah and in Iraq); deny the holocaust and threaten Israel while going ahead with their Nuke program; and pull this hostage stunt (again!).

The only way these little Hitlers will cut it out is if they are shown aggression (lifting these worthless rules of engagement) and shown true leadership! Hitler ran over Chamberlain all day long, yet Churchill stood up to his mad regime and showed true leadership. Iran walked all over Carter, then gave those hostages back right when Reagan took office. Iran embarrassed Blair, yet they won’t get away with it with Bush and they know that!

Posted by: rahdigly at April 4, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #215002

Well, diplomacy worked and a three-front war has been averted.

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 4, 2007 12:52 PM
Comment #215021
The GWOT is a smokescreen for a PNAC scheme for endless war, to advance American hegemony across the globe. If people in the US can’t see that, well then, they’re in the minority globally… Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 4, 2007 11:16 AM
I would hope from the debates here it is obvious to you that far from all Americans continue to believe in the BushCo propaganda. Although it also obvious that too many Americans believe in American “manifest destiny” hegemony as a valid policy, and that too many are blinded by rhetoric that satisfy their own inadequaciesa and insecurities, enough of us are standing up to let us redress the mistakes of the last few years. I still have confidence in the US Constitution and that we shall resume our status as a beacon to aspire to rather than a “was”. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at April 4, 2007 2:24 PM
Comment #215031

Hmm, it seems that Iran is going to release the servicemen as a ‘gift’ and also announced that an Iranian envoy will be meeting with the 5 Iranians held by the US in Irbil.

Anyone else suspect a ‘tit for tat’? Seems the Iranians got just what they wanted after all….

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 4, 2007 3:20 PM
Comment #215052
The only way these little Hitlers will cut it out is if they are shown aggression

rah, Castro ran Cuba for, what, 50 years or more? After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, we took the long view and now Castro is dying and his brother is making overtures to the US. No muss, no fuss. And refraining from invading Cuba did not make us weaker.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 4, 2007 5:17 PM
Comment #215072

Jack
I would not jump to the conclusion that the Brits are indeed telling the truth. They are even worse liers than we are. For example,during the lead up to the Falklands campaign there military announced that Argentine troops on the island were reduced to eating cats and dogs by their blockade. The press asked them just why that was with about 2 million sheep on the island. They withdrew their statement. I LOL’ed. I am not a big mutton fan myself but would prefer it to cat any day.

Posted by: BillS at April 4, 2007 7:54 PM
Comment #215073

1. Iran is in termoil internally.

2. The taking of the British sailors was a test to see how different nations would reaact.

3. Iran will do it again, only with a little more finese and it won’t be too far in the future.

Posted by: tomh at April 4, 2007 8:01 PM
Comment #215113

Paul in Euroland,
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the US acted as the evil regime you discribe. We could remove all our bases from all foreign countries, cut exports and imports to countries that dont swear their alegence to us. We could become emperialistic, if a country needed our help militarily or finacial we could simply occupy that country taking their recources for our own.Yes it would be easier to be a Bad Guy country nobody would be suprised if you did evil things. We have that capability to do that should our citizens decide it. But then I realize this great country would never do that. Americans can debate between themselves different views and disagree but in the end we are still all Americans and as a country we try our best to do good and noble things. Paul, Ive never thought ill of your country but the US has done far more good for the world then bad and has contributed more to world than any other country in the world. Can your country say the same?

Posted by: dolan at April 5, 2007 12:59 AM
Comment #215121

dolan,

Paul, Ive never thought ill of your country but the US has done far more good for the world then bad and has contributed more to world than any other country in the world. Can your country say the same?

The world exists since far longer than US. Most countries are older than the US. But only US did more good than bad for the world, in a shorter time than any other countries since world is world?

And French are called arrogant. Yeah, right.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 4:57 AM
Comment #215124

Dolan,

occupation of countries by the US has been more the exception that the rule, at least military occupation that is. It has tended to install dictatorships as proxies for itself, so that the elites of those countries who co operate with the US, can grow fat, while everyone else lives in appalling poverty. Meanwhile the US corporations, can plunder the countries resources. That has been its SOP throughout central and south America. That is precisely what it did in Iran, when it organised a coup against the democratically elected prime minister Mossadegh and installed the Shah, who ruled through the terrorism of his SAVAK secret police. All to enable US and British oil companies to plunder Iran’s oil. You know your comments regarding occupying countries and taking their resources for your own would be laughable, if it were not so tragic. What do you think your country is doing is Iraq? Haven’t you heard about the Production Sharing Agreements (PSA’s) you guys are trying to impose on the Iraqis? Such contracts are unheard of in places such as Iraq, where you barely have to stick a pole in the ground and the oil comes gushing forth.

You suggest that you could cut imports and exports from countries that don’t swear allegiance to the US? Is that not the essence of imperialism?

Of course I accept that the majority of Americans are well meaning towards the rest of the world. But because they believe the propaganda about American exceptionalism, they cannot see that what the power brokers in the US are actually doing is driving a savage imperialism. As to the US contribution to the world? I would never attempt to deny it. That side of the US is a clear expression of the goodwill of the American people. I would liken it to a somewhat schizophrenic face that the US presents to the world.

My country’s contribution? For a very small country, until relatively recently a pretty poor and impoverished place, I believe we have made a huge contribution to the world. In education and health throughout the world through Irish missionaries, in culture, the arts, the contribution to their host countries that they emigrated to, not least your own, in military service to the UN in the hope of making a better world, our overseas development aid is near the top of the league of contributing countries, far ahead of the US.

http://www.just1world.org/development-aid.htm

Further, out aid has no strings attached. Beneficiary nations do not have to buy Irish produce with the Irish contribution. In addition to that, Irish people are incredibly responsive to the appeals of charities, especially in times of disaster and famine. I say all of this not to say that we are better than you. Ireland is far from a perfect society also.

It is difficult to assess the relative impacts of the American contribution to the world against the evil it has done and continues to do. How do you measure that? It can be said with certainty however that the US influence in the mid east has been malign for at least the last 30 odd years. The US, with all of its considerable power, could have resolved the festering wound of the israel/arab conflict had it the will to do so. Instead of that, it has adopted a totally one sider approach to that conflict. Further than that, it has sought to overturn the Geneva conventions and UN resolutions regarding the Occupied Territories in Palestine, when Bush a couple of years back made it clear he did not expect Israel to dismantle the Israeli settlements, built in defiance of the Geneva Convention, on Arab lands and contrary to UNSCR 242;
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/un242.htm

To the US, Israel is a useful tool to keep the Arabs down and disunited, the more to enable its own control of the regions resources. Of course the backwash of that is the increasing extremism of Arab and indeed Muslim wider society, as they look on their regimes acting as puppets for the US, to their own detriment.

If you want to make comments on international affairs Dolan, I suggest you gather some fact first.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 5, 2007 5:10 AM
Comment #215136

Paul

You overestimate U.S. power. Many like to blame the U.S. for their troubles. The U.S. Middle East policy has not been good. But the area was run by despots who murdered their people for centuries before the U.S. got there. Our first foray into the region was to fight the Barbary pirates, who were the terrorists of their day. We did not provoke them to raid commerce and take slaves. That is just what they did.

Re Iran - this coup is way overblown. If you look at closely at the history, you see that Mossedeq himself was also staging a coup. The proper course to take was unclear because the situation was unclear.

As for the Iranian being angry about that - which ones? Khomeni welcomed the overthrow of Mossedeq, as did most religious leaders of the types currently ruling Iran. There was no popular outcry at the time.

You also overestimate us. I only wish we had the kind of power people claim for us. What does that say about others? If you really believe that the U.S. has done all these things, how stupid do others have to be? In that paradigm, people in the Middle East or S. America have no will of their own. They just wait around until the U.S. does good or bad to them.

I wrote an article nearby on Zimbabwe. The U.S. is not strongly engaged there. We are also not strongly engaged in Darfur and we were not in Rwanda. This is what the world looks like w/o us “interfering”. Is it so much better?

Like all great powers, the U.S. does good and bad. If you look at the great sweep of history, however, you rarely see a power acting so reasonably. In the past, the victors took the spoils. We sent aid to our allies and enemies, as in the Marshall Plan. We could seize and easily hold the oil fields in the Gulf, if ALL we were interested in was power politics.

The world will soon get to see how other powers behave. I also wrote an article on China. Check that out if you want a glimpse of the future and perhaps ask the people of Tibet what a real occupation looks like.

BTW - The U.S. is a new nation but a very old government. Only the UK has an older continous government. When we became a Republic, Europe was ruled by kings and princes. The world has taken to our example. We were there first. I admire much about Europe, but your politics was dysfunctional until the U.S. got involved after WWII.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 8:26 AM
Comment #215138

I have been reading some of the comments here with great interest. There is an underlying question as to why the HMS Cornwall did not position itself between the Iranian Gunboats and the RIBs the British were in.

The answer to that question is because they couldn’t. The position of the Indian Freighter that they were searching was in water to shallow.

http://www.talkshowamerica.com/2007/03/how-british-were-captured-by-iranian.html

Another opinion stated here was that Iran took the British hostage to provoke an incident. I don’t agree. If the Iranians thought this would have provoked an attack they wouldn’t have taken the British because they know they would not fare well in the incident.

I believe they took the British to hold hostage to prevent a possible planned Military action against Iran that has been rumored to take place on April 6th. Whether or not there will be an attack against Iran on that day is anyone’s guess, but the Iranians may have believed it and took the British hostage to try to avoid this attack from happening.

http://www.talkshowamerica.com/2007/03/us-is-going-to-attack-iran-in-april.html

Just food for thought.

Posted by: Jay Are at April 5, 2007 8:34 AM
Comment #215143

Jack: Re: “The U.S. is a new nation but a very old government.” Years ago (30+), I heard the late U.S. Senator Stuart Symington (MO) give a lecture on this “double-edged sword” (his term).

Posted by: Dr Poshek at April 5, 2007 9:03 AM
Comment #215145

Jack,

I admire much about Europe, but your politics was dysfunctional until the U.S. got involved after WWII.

Hum, I think there’s still dysfunctional. For different reasons than before, though.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 5, 2007 9:19 AM
Comment #215153

“rah, Castro ran Cuba for, what, 50 years or more? After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, we took the long view and now Castro is dying and his brother is making overtures to the US. No muss, no fuss.”


Yeah, so that’s the solution to Iran; wait until 2057 to see if the Mullah’s grandkids will ease up a bit. War is not always the answer and neither is “diplomacy”. The Brits (clearly) caved in here and they were humiliated by this hairy thug. The Iranians will continue to win “diplomacy” b/c the rest of the world bows down to their oil; it’s the same ol sh*t.

Posted by: rahdigly at April 5, 2007 9:59 AM
Comment #215170

Phillipe,
As for the French perhaps the grave yards filled with American soldiers who died in two wars to save your country has gave us the right to be be some what arrogant to the thankless French.

Posted by: dolan at April 5, 2007 11:01 AM
Comment #215175

Paul,
Im taking your advice, reading up now on the Irish position during WW11. Facinating.

Posted by: dolan at April 5, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #215179

dolan, fine, just be sure to read up the reasons for our stance during WWII. In fact, out neutrality was known as neutrality in favour of the allies.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 5, 2007 11:31 AM
Comment #215238

“far ahead of the US”

Only the US could give almost twice as much as anybody else and still be condemned for not doing enough.

The $22.8 billion dollars that jackass website just1world is talking about would have been better spent and more appreciated if we would have just used it on our own.

This “the US is evil, give us more US money” crap is getting old.

Posted by: kctim at April 5, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #215257

kctim, a target contribution rate of 0.7% of GNI. Many countries have net reached that target, including my own. However, I don’t understand where you claim that the US is contributing twice as much as anyone else is coming from. If you have better sources for this claim than the one in the site I cited, I would be interested to hear them. As to your rant, ” The US is evil, give us more money”, is that supposed to be a mature comment or a childish tantrum?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 5, 2007 5:37 PM
Comment #215259

kctim, a target contribution rate of 0.7% of GNI. Many countries have net reached that target, including my own. However, I don’t understand where you claim that the US is contributing twice as much as anyone else is coming from. If you have better sources for this claim than the one in the site I cited, I would be interested to hear them. As to your rant, ” The US is evil, give us more money”, is that supposed to be a mature comment or a childish tantrum?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 5, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #215260

kctim, a target contribution rate of 0.7% of GNI. Many countries have net reached that target, including my own. However, I don’t understand where you claim that the US is contributing twice as much as anyone else is coming from. If you have better sources for this claim than the one in the site I cited, I would be interested to hear them. As to your rant, ” The US is evil, give us more money”, is that supposed to be a mature comment or a childish tantrum?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 5, 2007 5:49 PM
Comment #215276

The 2006 amount in billions for the US was 22.7, right? The next country was like 11 or something.

“is that supposed to be a mature comment or a childish tantrum?”

Its a fact. Protest the US in the open and take our money behind closed doors.
Tell us, if the US is such an imperialistic war-mongering country, why do the country’s who say that still take our aid?

Posted by: kctim at April 5, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #215288

Paul

The U.S. handles charity differently than almost all other countries. Much of our giving is done through the private sector. The Gates Foundation, for example, gives an amount comparable to many countries.

I also think it is unfair to always compare U.S. aid on a GDP basis for “good” things like aid and on a total basis for “bad” things, such as CO2 on a total basis. The U.S. gives in relation to its GDP (with the explanations above) and it generates CO2 at about the rate of GDP. We are the biggest aid donors and the biggest CO2 produces. The two go with our big GDP. Our country is unique in the size of its GDP. Many other measures are just manifestation of that.

Beyond that government largess is often a mixed blessing. If government to government worked, Tanzania would be the richest country and places like Singapore would be poor. Investment and trade are more important than aid in most cases.

I know I do not have to tell you, but to my fellow Americans, Ireland contributed quite a few of its young men to the effort in WWII.

Posted by: Jack at April 5, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #215311

Jack, private giving is a totally separate matter. I don’t have data for such charity. I agree with you that government to government aid is highly questionable. With the amount of corruption is Africa for example, it seems that little of the aid given finds its way to those in need, instead finding its ways into the bank accounts in switzerland etc of the elites.

kctim, I don’t understand the attitude. You think that the US is perfect? You find it difficult to deal with criticism of your country? Do you believe that such an attitude contributes to any debate on any topic? Wisdom depends upon us opening out minds to what others have to say. We don’t have to believe everything everyone says. But it is wise to at least examine critically other views, because you never know, we may be wrong. And if you don’t allow for the possibility that you are wrong, you allow no possibility of correction of error.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 6, 2007 5:30 AM
Comment #215321

Paul

Private giving is NOT a separate matter. It is the difference between a government and a non-goverment approach.

In some countries the government provides rations of vouchers for food for much of their population. Mine (and yours) does not. Our governments fund a small % of food and that mostly for the poor. We have to buy our own. Does that mean we are worse off? Governments are not very good at many things and the wise ones stay out of it.

We have a similar situaiton with higher education. The U.S. spends a greater % of its GDP on university educaion than most others and we have a larger GDP and an excellent university system. However, the amount the GOVERNMENT spends is much less. Nobody would think Harvard or Stanford were inferior universities, you they depend much less in government funding than an ordinary polytechnic in Europe. BTW - Harvard recieves more in its endowment than the total funding for many government run universities.

It is just a totally different way of funding. If you count government funding, you would conclude that Harvard and Stanford must be basket cases.

Posted by: Jack at April 6, 2007 8:39 AM
Comment #215326

“I don’t understand the attitude. You think that the US is perfect?”

Not at all.

“You find it difficult to deal with criticism of your country?”

No. Its actually easy to deal with it because I don’t care what other country’s say about us.

“Do you believe that such an attitude contributes to any debate on any topic?”

An elitist type attitude is not what I have Paul and I think you know that. There is a big difference between calling for the end of a policy and calling for the end of a country.

Its fine to listen to people with an open mind, if the people talking also have an open mind.
Is it really productive to call a country an imperialistic war-monger while burning its flag and calling for its end? Or would the people protesting be better served by behaving in a more respectful, civilized manner?

Sooner or later, the people of the country being constantly condemned, are going to tire of it all and are going to start saying, “fine, if you hate us so much, go at it alone.”

Posted by: kctim at April 6, 2007 9:39 AM
Comment #215331

Jack,

I thought we were talking about international aid, as opposed to domestic aid.

kctim,

I don’t know who was calling the US an imperialistic war monger while burning its flag and calling for its end. I do think that the US has had in the past, and under the current regime, an imperialistic war mongering policy. I have never supported flag burning, not because I think that a piece of cloth is so important, but because doing so alienates people from each other, and thereby makes it unlikely that they will hear each other. What you call respect. I believe that if we carry out a respectful conversation with each other, we will all learn more, extending our understanding of our world, and indeed of ourselves.

One thing I recall learning from my youngest years, is that when many people say that something is a certain way, it is valuable to examine carefully what it is they are saying, and to critically analyse their points, and indeed my own beliefs. Of course that fact that many people hold to particular beliefs does not of itself make their beliefs true. Often in human history, it is the mis-matcher, the one who refuses to conform to the predominant culture or belief, who has led to breakthroughs in probably every area of human activity.

I accept your point that if people, or indeed a country,is constantly being condemned and villified without reason or balance, they will eventually tire of it all and say something like what you suggest. They may also say, “F*** you, with every step we take, you attempt to libel us as part of the evil empire. We’ll just go our own way.” All of that is what leads to wars. We libel each other without listening or learning where they are coming from. We forget that they are human just like us, with the same fear, prejudices, ignorance and human frailty. We dehumanise them by calling them names, just as the Nazis did to the Jews and others. If you make people less than human in propaganda, then it is easy to make them less than human if practice. Abu Ghraib? Guantanamo? Haditha? But they were only ragheads!! Sandniggers! Towelheads!! See what I mean? Islamofascists. None of us are labels. We are more complex than that. And the strange thing is that you find the more you engage in dialogue with people of different views, beliefs, cultures, the most you find a mutual respect.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at April 6, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #215340

dolan,

As for the French perhaps the grave yards filled with American soldiers who died in two wars to save your country has gave us the right to be be some what arrogant to the thankless French.

(Oh god, that *point*, again. Sigh.)
What’s that point in saving my country twice (US vs french contribution in WWI ending is debatable, though) if I’m free to only agree with you since?

Are french arrogant with thankless today’s americans because without us the US will have lost its independance war against kingdom of Great Britain?
No. French are arrogant because we’re a schyzo people, at both time proud and ashame of ourself. We’re proud to have warmed US about Iraq war coming mess in 2003. *And* we’re as well ashamed to have failed to convince US to avoid it.
In that, I think americans and french share a lot, more than one would think at first.

Anyway, freedom is freedom.
Stop “spreading” it if you can’t stand its exercise.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 6, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #215404

Philippe,
You are a perfect example why millions of Americans and myself detest you Thankless French. You would be speaking German now if it was not for my Dad,3 uncles and thousands of american soldiers fought for your freedom.

Posted by: dolan at April 7, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #215429

dolan,

And Americans would probably still be a colony of England if it weren’t for the French.

Posted by: Rocky at April 7, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #215433

Rocky
No it wouyldnt.

Posted by: dolan at April 7, 2007 11:10 AM
Comment #215434

oops would not

Posted by: dolan at April 7, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #215436

Deny it all you want. You can speculate on history, but you can’t change what actually happened.

Ah yes, selective history.

Where would the American right be without it?

Posted by: Rocky at April 7, 2007 11:17 AM
Comment #215449

It is common knowledge that the U.S. has taken captive 5 Iranians accused of working with insurgents and Iraqi factions against the U.S. military in Iraq. To date the U.S. has not allowed the Iranian government any access to these Iranian officials.
It is my opinion that the Iranians purposely took the British seamen under false pretenses, fully intent upon letting the British have access and eventually releasing them unharmed to gain the political highground over the U.S. on hostage matters. This capture was a strategic move to gain access and the eventual release of Iranian officials being held by the U.S. who were taken custody of inside Iraq. This is no more than a story for bargaining power for hostages.

JD

Posted by: JD at April 7, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #215503

Paul

It works internationally too. We should count the total aid the nation gives. Count private giving of the citizens too, all the tranfers public and private.

When governments begin to do things, private individuals sometimes do less and sometimes governments must step in precisely because private people fail to do it. America’s private sector is very strong. Others have a stronger government sector.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2007 10:57 PM
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