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British Opinion on the Capture of Royal Navy Sailors


The Telegraph, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, launched a discussion blog late today (“How Should We Tackle Iran? ”) on the capture of British sailors. Here’s a sampling of opinion:

“Who is to say the British seamen were not indeed in Iranian waters? The British government also maintained, vehemently, that there were WMD in Iraq, so I would not rush into believing anything it has to say. […] Curiously, the nations that really seem to be starting wars in this world are the holier-than-thou USA and UK.”

“I find it hard to fathom all of the people that actually believe what the British government is telling them. It is so clear that the US and Britain are doing everything they can to provoke Iran into a war. The US planned large-scale naval exercises to follow the British incursion into Iranian waters. Over 10,000 sailors took part in those exercises yesterday. Is ANYONE paying attention? We need to put a stop to this madness.”

“Lets hope that Argentina doesn’t take advantage of the situation and tries to retake the Falklands. We would be in a pickle.”

“On the confident assumption that the Captain of HMS Cornwall is neither incompetent nor an arrant coward, the blame for the disgraceful failure to protect the Marines must rest entirely on the government, which has either deployed an unsuitable ship for close-inshore duties, having scrapped everything that is; or has given instructions to avoid confrontation at all costs, even when under attack. What are are options ? […] I am no fan of the American administration, but it would certainly not have been so craven had US soldiers been involved; and the Iranians know it.”

“Forced to wear the Islamic head scarf that identifies a woman to be without normal human rights and against the Geneva Convention, a British sailor, is paraded on Iranian TV. I am sure we can shortly expect to hear from all civil libertarians and those interested in international law. Surely they are already in the street. In the mean time, The US Navy is waiting for the call.”

“What were the orders of engagement under which the Royal Navy is operating? Surely the response from a powerful Navy ship should be ‘back off Iranians or we will blow you out of the water.’ Will the groveling lefties who have apparently taken over at the MOD [Ministry of Defense] ever understand that when threatened by barbarians the only response is to defend yourself by all means available, including deadly force. Sir Winston must be spinning in his grave this shameful day.”

“Breaking News: ‘The Commander of HMS Cornwall has been ordered detained by the Ministry of Defence for cowardice in the face of a hostile act of war. The dis-hounerable gentlemen is to be replaced immediately as British and US Naval forces pan out across the Persian Gulf, Taking up positions in both Iraqi and disputed Iranian waters in what is being called by the new Commander of the HMS Cornwall ‘The Biggest Naval Armada since we last saw our European allies on the high sea’s in Trafalgar!’ I would love to wake up and read this tomorrow. WAKE UP GREAT BRITAIN!, GET OUR BOYS BACK NOW!”

The “rules of engagement” issue came up today during “Prime Minister’s Questions.”  From Tony Blair’s response, I came away with the impression that the Royal Navy would have been acting under authority had they attacked the Iranians to defend their own. The commander of the HMS Cornwall (and it remains unclear how far up his own chain-of-command he had time to go) appears to have ordered the sailors to surrender.