What They Are Saying

April 09, 2007

If lasciviously evaluating the British sailors and marines newly freed from Iran is wrong, America doesn't want to be right! Pip-Pip, Cheerio, these 14 blokes and one bird are HOT. My colleagues and I are rating the hostages on a scale of 1 to 4 handheld GPS units showing they were never in Iranian waters in the first place! Ahoy, mateys!

- Colleen Werthmann on Huffingtonpost.com

It's hard to say what was more troubling about the latest ordeal - Iran's immoral and illegal seizure of 15 British sailors or the fond farewells the ex-hostages bid their captors.

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, particularly someone who's been through a grueling ordeal. And that certainly describes what Britain's sailors went through.

That said, the reactions of those sailors - and indeed, of the British government - during the whole crisis was distressing. Is this all that's left of Britain's once-famous martial spirit? Let's hope not.

The prisoners of war - snatched from Iraqi waters on a U.N.-sanctioned mission by Iran's special forces - not only seemed to revel in the goodbyes from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They fell all over themselves in apologizing for something they didn't do.

"Just thank you for letting us go and apologies for our actions," said Faye Turney, the only woman in the group. Reporting Officer Felix Carmen even said he had "mixed" feelings about leaving. "I think I would [return], because we've had a good time," he said.

We'd like to have seen a little more spite, some of the famed British stiff upper lip at least.

As for Britain's government, perhaps the harshest comments issued during the entire fiasco came from British Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. The object of her ire? Prisoner Turney's smoking. "It was deplorable," Ms. Hewitt tut-tutted. "This sends completely the wrong message to our young people."

Not exactly. Being taken prisoner, forced to "confess" to a noncrime and humiliated before the entire world is what's "deplorable." Smoking's a bad habit.

Maybe this is what passes for martial virtue these days in Britain. But it's got to be a worry to the nation's military minds that their soldiers can be so abused and take it so lightly.

We're not the only observers to feel this way. As Britain's Daily Telegraph opined: "The satisfaction of a diplomatic challenge eventually handled with skill is soured by the string of psychological humiliations that Britain has suffered."

We'll say. Why weren't the sailors allowed to defend themselves? And are they no longer told to say nothing - and confess nothing - especially if not physically forced to do so? We're just asking.

- Investor's Business Daily

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