Royal Marine, Royal Navy, Publish and Be Damned

 (Update: It seems this has been added to Digg)

I am not sure why I have strayed into current affairs as a topic for debate here, but I promise this will be the last blog post I make on this topic (for a while at least…). Previously, I have ranted about the supposed “outrage” over the 15 sailors and marines held hostage by Iran being allowed to sell their stories, and about them wrongly being called cowards or a disgrace.

For people outside the UK, this may come across as little more than a parochial spat and, to be honest, I am amazed there is so little going on in the world that this is actually headline news. Again, today, I have spent most of the day listening to the radio. This is never a good thing, and especially so when I spend time listening to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 (he gets callers to call in on current affairs topics). I am also very aware that they will screen callers to ensure the cranks get more air time than they deserve.

Knowing all this doesn’t stop the idiocy and bigotry winding me up though. (Again, this is long so most is below the fold)
Continue reading

Poor Sailors and Marines

Today’s radio news headlined with the supposed “outrage” that the 15 sailors and marines detained by the Iranians were being allowed to be paid for for their press reviews. Apparently The Sun newspaper (no, I will not post a URL to them…) has offered them a “six figure sum” [*] for their stories. From the breakfast radio news, this has caused outrage. People like Bob Stewart, Tim Collins and numerous other people were being mentioned as “outraged” over this decision by the MOD. The BBC news website had a lead article titled “Iran stories sale criticism grows” which explained the Head of the Army has banned all Soldiers from selling their stories following the Navy personnel being allowed to make some money off the story. Different media outlets have similar stories — all pretty much saying the same thing. The TV news had vox pop interviews with people in the street, mostly saying they “thought it was wrong for them to sell their story.”

The sheer barefaced hypocrisy, tinged with basic madness, of all this amazes me. I am (almost) at a loss for which parts of the nonsense to start with… Continue reading

Good response to armchair warrior journalists

Yes, know this topic has been done to death, but it seems impossible to look at a newspaper or a topical web page without some armchair Rambo sounding off about the British captives having somehow done a disgraceful thing (a) by getting themselves captured and (b) by smoking and eating on Iranian TV.

So it was refreshing to see some pure sense expressed – in devastatingly precise English – about the British sailors held by the Iranians.

The at largely blog answers some colonel who’s been mouthing off in the right-wing media. Apologies for quoting huge chunks of this. He just says it so well. The fact that he seems to be a “Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy, retired” makes his characterisation of the illogicality and inconsistency of the Rambo position all the sweeter.

He characterises this as a “Pavlov’s Dogs of War approach.” This is a phrase so good that I intend to plagiarise it in my every fifth sentence for the next few days.

A few salient points.

Some of us think that the British sailors and marines played the situation as smartly as it could have been played by anyone…..
……By committing themselves to a battle that would have led to their certain slaughter, the British boarding party would have created a far more shocking international incident than the one that actually occurred. Mr. Bush might have used such an incident to justify a full scale naval and air strike on Iran……
…And it’s obvious to anyone familiar with prisoner of war resistance techniques that the sailors and marines who made taped statements were sending clear verbal and physical cues that they were speaking under duress. ….
…. Thanks to the level headed thinking of a small team of junior British troops, led by a Royal Marine captain and a Royal Navy lieutenant, they did not turn into a cause for war by getting themselves killed in a hopeless battle….
……Jacobs is an old soldier who thinks we’re still fighting World War II, the kind of warrior who still thinks that “brave” and “smart” are mutually exclusive virtues, and who likes to hide his lack of intellectual integrity behind his combat decorations.