The Corner

Rejoicing in Humiliation

From the Daily Mail report:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad smiled as he talked through an interpreter to several of the men held captive for 13 days in the capital Tehran. One of them was heard to say to him: “Thanks for releasing us. I wish you success.”

I believe the Mail missed a few words there. My sources tell me that what the Brit actually said was: “Thanks for releasing us, and for humiliating my despicable country and our pathetic armed forces. I wish you success in your declared project to wipe out Israel, dominate your region by nuclear bullying, and bring an end to Western Civilization. Please feel free to give us all one more good beating before we leave the precious soil of your wonderful Islamic republic. It’s so much less than what we deserve. Allahu akbar!”

A reader: “I’ll wait in vain for news of the courts martial for cowardice against them and their superiors.”

Yes, I’m afraid you will, Sir. You won’t be waiting alone, though. There’s me, and a big email-bag full of readers who agree with me.

One exception:

Mr. Derbyshire: You should be profoundly ashamed of every word you wrote in “Brit Wimps,” including “the” and “a.” Chicken hawk that you are, you are very brave—with other peoples’ lives. Please remember that every time you look in the mirror you are looking at a man who, if imprisoned in Iran for even five minutes, would most likely wet his pants, convert to Islam, and chant “Death to America!” in order to save his hide.

My reply:

I am not brave, and I don’t expect everyone to be brave. I do, however, expect *S*O*L*D*I*E*R*S* to be brave. That’s what they’re for.

It’s not just me that expects soldiers to be brave, it’s the services themselves—else why do all military codes ever written include punishments for cowardice? Regardless of how much courage we ourselves might possess (and how clever of that reader to know precisely how much I possess!—a thing I would not even swear to myself), the expectation that our military personnel behave courageously is, surely, reasonable. Is that “being brave with other people’s lives”? I suppose it is. Should I, then, drop my expectation that allied servicemen behave with extraordinary courage? I suppose I should.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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