Saturday, April 07, 2007

Serving our country?

You must have had your head under a rock for the past two weeks if you aren't aware of the "international situation" in which the UK found itself with regards to its sailors apparently venturing into Iranian waters.

But you know what? This whole story has really got on my tits.

I have held off from posting about it before because I really don't know where to begin. And even now I'm not sure where I'm going entirely. I'm not one of those bloggers who plans out his posts and then redrafts it a dozen times before posting. Almost 100 per cent of the time I type and post, making a few minor amendments here and there as I go. I like to feel "in the moment". Plus, I don't really have the time to dwell on one post for a week or more.

So, yada yada yada, it's go time!

We saw footage and photos of our brave men and chain-smoking woman. Sometimes they were together; sometimes videotaped separately. Sometimes they were eating; sometimes they were telling the camera, and the world, how sorry they were to have crossed into Iran's waters.

By and large they seemed to be in good health, and they even told us they were being treated well. Within minutes of their release, they were telling news cameras that they were treated well by the Iranians. At their meeting with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the sailors thanked him for looking after them during their "stay".

But now, back on British soil and, more importantly, after having been debriefed, their stories have changed dramatically. They claim they were kept isolated from one another. (In fact, one of the sailors claims they were isolated; another claims they were not allowed to mutter even a word to one another, which I would think was pretty hard if they were in isolation anyway. So much for sticking to the same story...) They claim they were hooded on one occasion and that guns were being cocked behind them; they feared for their lives.

But we are also told that they were allowed to eat and drink and to smoke. That must have pleased the sole female among them, Fay Turney, who seemingly couldn't even make a televised appeal to the British nation without a fag in her hand. I mean, show some decorum, woman.

Am I'm starting to think, "Hold on. These people are supposed to be serving our country. They are supposed to be defiant in capture. Instead they spilled their guts like slaughtered pigs. 'Okay, we'll say we were in your waters. We'll do whatever you say. Please don't put us on trial. Sure, we'll tell Blair to get out of Iraq.'"

I'm not saying they don't have the right to be afraid. Of course they do. But they have behaved like big babies. And now they are coming out with "the truth" all of a sudden? Do me a favour.

I believe that as part of their debrief, they have been told to deliver a load of bullshit now, in order to justify Bush's imminent attack on Iran. An attack that is otherwise almost impossible to allow by international law.

And it's not just me who believes this. President Ahmadinejad claims the same thing too. I wouldn't ordinarily perhaps stand up and be counted alongside such a man. Equally, though, I don't wish to be counted alongside Blair. Or Bush.

No doubt the controvery will rage on. And we'll go to war. And thousands more lives will be lost. Whereas, right now, all that is needed is for us in Britain to shut up. Our "heroes" our back, safe and sound. They have served their country and we should be proud. My only concern is that they might have served their country right on to Bush's dinner plate, ready to be fed into the mouth of another unnecessary war.

We would do well, as a parting shot, to consider the fates of those people in Guantanamo Bay in all this. Compare and contrast what we know about the detention conditions of "our sailors" and those held in Guantanamo. From where I'm standing, I'd say "our sailors" had a fucking easy ride, or a "compulsory vacation", as Ahmadinejad has called it.

Related news links of interest:
Key quotes
What next for captives?
Iran dismisses sailors' accounts
Released sailors tell of ordeal
Mystery shrouds sailors' saga
Iran seeks goodwill over captives
Film pulled from TV schedule

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Blogger Red said...

The funniest thing for me is that during the press conference they were all mocking the cheap-looking, ill-fitting suits they were given in time for the release. Oh, pardon me and my sartorial ineptitude all over the place if we don't give you a Savile Row suit... or maybe you would have preferred a Guantanamo-style bright orange jumpsuit?

I feel my adopted country has lost its head over this whole affair. And now Blair is blaming Iraq because some Iranian-manufactured bomb killed four servicemen in Iraq. Eh? I never heard anybody complain when it was US- or German-made bombs reaping victims in the Middle East. Talk about finding a reason -- any reason -- to declare war.

Yet again, not in my name.

07 April, 2007 15:41  
Blogger Karen said...

Hell. Handbasket. We're on our way and Bush is our tour guide.

I remember seeing something where a US Military official claimed that US soldiers would NEVER have surrendered (it was "not an option") and he seemed quite disgusted by the actions of the British. Given the situation I don't blame the British soldiers for not fighting back at the time they were captured. Likely they would have all (or most) been killed or captured anyway and it would certainly have led to all out war with Iran.

The change in attitude and the statments by the soldiers upon their return certainly seem like a play to get back into Bush's good books for Blair not simply sending in the tanks, planes and troops and declaring war on Iran. Sure there was probably a great deal of spindoctoring on behalf of Ahmadinejad but in this case I think Blair did the right thing by trying to negotiate a surrender first (Oh god...did I just agree with Tony Blair????).

Great post *A.

07 April, 2007 16:36  
Blogger Lee said...

You had me at "really got on my tits."

But seriously, the whole thing really is a bit of a mirror of Guantanimo Bay isn't it? People arrested and held without trial, wondering if they'll get out alive.

P.S. Still marinating a post about your got me thinking and I'm not quite done yet!

07 April, 2007 16:44  
Blogger lightupvirginmary said...

Bit torn on this one...
Personally I'd say/do whatever it took to stop coming home in a body bag.
The media's reaction to this whole situation has disgusted me, as a feminist. One thing I read said 'our servicemen and young mother...' like she was just along for the ride baking biscuits!
It's just a big excuse for people to be judgemental in my opinion.
As for Britain being 'humiliated'- i don't care. As long as they are alive, that's all that matters to me.

08 April, 2007 00:42  
Blogger Tanya said...

I personally think the whole thing has been treated as a PR exercise. We are surrounded by this war mongering propaganda.

08 April, 2007 12:35  
Blogger Cynnie said...

you know ..
You reminded me about the guantanamo thing..
I (typical american i know) had forgotten all about it ..
I'm so disgusted with the usa..

09 April, 2007 02:35  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

I have three words for you:

"false flag operations"

Might be something to think about...I hope not...

09 April, 2007 06:57  
Blogger Odat said...

It was rather "funny" the way it was handled....I think Blair should have bombed that sucker..
buy hey, that's my opinion...

I'm glad they made it home alive young too! I saw their pics..they look like babies!

09 April, 2007 13:23  
Anonymous manini said...

I love that you said they acted like big babies. Cause they did. ;)

09 April, 2007 13:38  
Blogger Pickled Olives said...

I'm not sure we (Americans) have a leg to stand on if we go to war for how prisoners are treated. It turns out Bush and friends think torture is a neccessary evil. I think what i'm saying is this doesnt help pad the case to go to war. I also doubt war will happen with Iran while Bush is President. The Congress and Senate have their eyes wide open to his corporate policy and don't blindly trust him right now. There is also the bit of our government holding the judicial system from siding with Bush through lack of funding for them.

We are ever hopefull that in the next year a candidate with amazing diplomacy will run for president and hopefully start mending broken fences. I know this sounds so hippy dippy hopeful and all, but I can't imagine congress and the senate allowing a new war when the old still isn't finished.

09 April, 2007 13:56  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

what the hell happened to 'name, rank and number'??? what the hell happened to our armed services??? Yeah I'd've been shit scared too but if yer join up yer do it right. They didn't. Some'ats very fishy here. They're gettin a 100k for feedin us bull if yer ask me.

09 April, 2007 21:32  
Blogger Radmila said...

Blair hanging with Bush too much.
That's the problem.

10 April, 2007 01:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does all really feel like a game between Blair and Bush and what seriously pisses me off is they think that the citizens of both the US and the UK are ALL stupid enough to buy into all of it. I would venture to say Bush's predecessor, regardless of who it is, will probably not be any better.

10 April, 2007 03:19  
Blogger Audible said...

I agree with Angel on this one - it seems that whoever inherits all of the impending doom upon us, it won't change things.


10 April, 2007 05:52  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

The whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth. All the Daily Mail coverage of that bird being a 'sailor but above all a mother.' Give me a break - she's clearly not the primary caregive now is she? So why is her capture any worse than any of her male colleagues with children?


10 April, 2007 12:10  
Blogger Piper said...

Bush is a moron and if he attacks Iran he's an out of control moron.

I honestly can't believe he's that stupid, but he's surprised me before.

We will see

10 April, 2007 14:17  
Blogger ldbug said...

I'm with 4D on this. Name, rank, number.

As for the rest, Iran is playing the media too. The only reason those people were released was b/c they played along, were highly publisized from the moment of capture, and gave Iran a chance to turn heads away from the nuclear issue.

Contrary to popular belief, the US wants no part in a war with Iran. No armed conflict, b/c it would only give them a reason to show off their nuclear capabilities as in "see, we really do need nuclear weapons, the world is against us."

Bash the US and Bush all you want, the first nuclear missle won't be aimed over the pond, it'll be aimed at the closest "western" countries. Hope for the best, but check that those shelters from the Bliz are still in working order.

10 April, 2007 15:49  
Blogger Pendullum said...

I find it odd that your government has allowed the soldiers to sell their story...
I find that it is a very odd move and diplomacy is obviously no longer part of the British stand...
It is so very sad in which your Prime Minister is taking lessons from the American President...

10 April, 2007 20:06  
Blogger cappy said...

having been in a hospital bed for the most of the duration of this, and watching not a lot apart from BBC news 24 and reading papers, the one thing to seriously fuck me off has been the constant use of the phrase "young mumm faye turney"
what, have none of the others got children? does it not matter that a bloke has kids? are they exempt from wanting to see them again or their kids having a father while they grow up? why concentrate on just her?
the BBC actually interviewed her on the big boat, a week or so previous to her being captured. she spoke of the risks, and that she knew the dangers involved. thus, the fact that SHE has kids is irrelevant to me. you don't want to put your life on the line? then don't join one of the armed forces!
spare a thought for the "young fathers". thats all.
cappy, for drunk punk tv, over and out!

13 April, 2007 12:49  
Blogger The Anti Crapitalist said...

I don't recall anywhere in Douglas Bader's biography where he recorded blubbing like a big girls blouse for being called Mr Bean. Or lamented the theft of his Ipod.

He was part of a generation who only needed a rusty spoon to escape from Colditz with no legs.

Sadly these people are, by and large, an embarrassment to the armed services who are doing a fantastic job under amysmal circumstances. Plenty of current and past serving members of the armed forces must haved pissed themselves.

15 April, 2007 20:11  

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