Thursday, April 05, 2007

Whatever Happened to Name Rank and Serial #

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After surrendering without firing a shot, giving press conferences galore and apologizing to Iranians British sailors and marines returned with gift bags from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and have some explaining to do as far as there conduct throughout this incident. They must have really been tortured horribly either that or ill trained. I know they have a code of conduct and this behavior just doesn't seem to be adequate from that standard. British Soldiers have never been known to behave in such a way. In recent history read the story of Bravo 2 Zero by Andy McNab. He and his comrades resistance to their Iraqi captures was heroic. It just seems this units conduct definitely did not live up to that standard. It is too early but I am sure debriefing officers might have some questions. The whole gift bag thing and the quick confessions just doesn't sit right with me. I do not wish to pass judgment but the whole incident and behavior that followed seemed bizarre.

The 15 British sailors and marines freed by Iran arrived back in the UK today.

"Iran has every right to put these people on trial but they have been pardoned," Mr Ahmadinejad said as he announced the face-saving solution in which neither side backed down from its position of principle. "They will be set free as a gift from the people of Iran to the people of Britain. And I ask Tony Blair's government not to punish these soldiers for having told the truth. I also ask him to be concerned with truth, justice and service to the British people."

Mr Ahmadinejad denied the release was part of a quid pro quo deal involving Iranians taken captive in Iraq, but Iranian reports yesterday suggested the country would be given access to five Revolutionary Guards officers detained by US forces in Arbil in January. On Tuesday, an Iranian diplomat, who was abducted by uniformed Iraqis in Baghdad in February, was released. Iran had accused the US of involvement in his detention.

"If we wanted to exchange Iranians for these prisoners, we would ask for hundreds or thousands," he said. "These people were pardoned. It was a present. Our approach was humanitarian."

Mr Blair also made a direct link between "elements" of the Iranian regime which financed and supported terrorism in Iraq.

The naval personnel were held captive in Iran for 13 days before their release was announced by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday.

Paraded in front of the cameras one last time by Iranian state television, they were seen drinking tea and receiving gifts before leaving.

The sailors and marines left Tehran on commercial flight BA6634, travelling in business class, and touched down at Heathrow at 12.02pm.

The aircraft taxied to the VIP section of the airport near Terminal Four and was immediately surrounded by ground staff.

The freed crew remained on board for 20 minutes while luggage was taken off by baggage handlers.

Eventually they emerged, carrying the bags given to them by the Iranian authorities over their shoulders.

Dropping their luggage to the ground, they briefly lined up in front the cameras and media, joking with each other as they stood there.

They then filed on board the Sea King helicopters which lifted off and disappeared into the haze, heading towards the military base in Devon.

On arrival at Chivenor, they are expected to undergo medical checks and a full debriefing before being allowed to see their families.

A steady stream of traffic built up at the barracks as the base prepared for their arrival.