One thing that is really getting on my wick is the way that the media over here are treating the 15 Britons just released by Iran.
This whole story must have been quite the dilemma for the rabid right-wingers, especially those at FAUX News and their spiritual brethren.
See, the right-wing mainstream media over here has been very vocal in its support of the Bush administration and, especially, for their efforts to legalise the use of torture - sorry, that's "aggressive interrogation techniques" - by US troops and intelligence personnel. Of course, this means that FOX couldn't exactly condemn Iran for using similar techniques, even when it was concerning illegally detained members of a closely allied power, and especially when the techniques used weren't as bad as those described by some in the media as "frat hazing."
FOX and their ilk have also taken great pains to play up the effectiveness of torture. Phrases like "a weapon in the war on terror" are often trotted out. This all means that they couldn't very well point out that the British troops resisted their captors quite effectively, and, true to their training, provided minimum cooperation whilst doing everything shy of sending up parachute flares to signal that they were appearing in videos and pictures only under duress.
So, the right can't condemn Iran, nor can it support the troops. What's a girl to do?
Well, it seems that The Powers That Be sent down an order from on high: Impugn the troops!
British troops are cowards who crumble as soon as you give them a hard look.
That's the thanks we get for nearly 150 dead and six years of support for Bush's little profit-making scheme.
But it's catching on outside of the conservative-dominated mainstream media.
Top-ranking (and publicity-hungry) US military officers have arrogantly and repeatedly stated that US soldiers would have offered more resistance, that they wouldn't have given up without a fight.
FreeRepublic, the deranged right-wing fucktard's deranged right-wing fucktards, has multiple threads where the Fightin' Keyboarders, safe in mommy's basement, tell us about how the soldiers should have acted, and how they would act if they were captured (and had the balls to join up in the first place).
Hell, even AMERICAblog - one of the more progressive, liberal blogs out there - fires a shot o'er our bows on this issue, erroneously describing Iran as "the enemy."
Yes, it's unfortunate, but the gung-ho, Rambo, Dirty Harry, John Wayne culture in America is so ingrained that some just can't hear for the roar of the testosterone. Stupidity and thoughtless violence is becoming a virtue. Luckily, it's mainly the media and a few wankers with computers, because most people I've spoken to face-to-face understand what really happened and join me in just being thankful that the guys made it home.
Americans in the media (and a minority I've spoken to) stand aghast that the fifteen Brits didn't whip off their shirts, tie on a headband, grab an M-60 and slaughter the entire Iranian Navy before invading Tehran, disposing of the Revolutionary Guard, planning, staging and executing a coup, planning, staging and executing free democratic elections, posing for statues commemorating their bravery and then swimming back to England, making it in time to give 'er indoors a good seein' to, and all in time for the 10 O'Clock News.
Sadly, there are those amongst my countrymen who feel the same way.
Here is the pertinent fact in this case:
The United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland does not, at this time, exist in a state of war, neither declared nor undeclared, with The Islamic Republic Of Iran.
This means that the 15 Brits weren't POWs, they were accused criminals.
They weren't captured by the enemy, they were arrested for a crime.
The Geneva Conventions do not apply.
Name, Rank and Number is bullshit.
The Brits weren't cooperating with the enemy, they were doing what they had to in order to survive.
And for all the armchair warriors who believe that there was something dishonourable about the way the Brits surrendered, here's something that I guess would never occur:
Royal Marine Captain Chris Air was in charge of fourteen people; seven Royal Marines and seven Royal Navy sailors, on a mission from HMS Cornwall to board and inspect a vessel suspected of smuggling. These fourteen people were lightly armed and traveling in two "Gemini" rigid raiders. The were confronted by forces from the Iranian Navy and accused of violating Iranian waters. Captain Air knew from his GPS that he was still, at that point, within Iraqi waters, but he also knew that his small crew didn't stand a chance of resisting the Iranians even for as long as it would have taken the Cornwall to arrive. But, more importantly, he was also aware of the fact related above; that Britain and Iran weren't at war.
Capt Air had a choice. Open fire or surrender. Certain of our allies would have you believe that the latter was dishonourable and he should have done the former, even if it cost his life and the lives of his subordinates.
Here is the choice:
Open fire and "go down fighting", thus sacrificing the fourteen lives under your command, and instigating armed conflict with someone you are not at war with, creating a massive international incident and quite probably sending Britain into a war at a time we can scarcely afford it, with a country with which we have always maintained diplomatic relations and are hoping to have diplomatic relations with in the future, in a region where our activities and the activities of our allies are being viewed with considerable hatred and are already breeding the very terrorism we're supposed to be fighting.
Swallow your pride, surrender, and let the diplomats sort it all out.
British soldiers are sworn to defend Crown and country, even if the cost is high. Laying down one's life for one's country is a great sacrifice. Capt Air did something much harder, something a lot of Americans - and some Brits - are having a hard time understanding. Most of us wouldn't have had the courage to do it. Most of us would have taken the easy way out and called it "honourable."
Capt Air laid down his ego and his weapon, and in doing so, defended his country.