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No harm, no foul: no way

Well, the great Iranian Hostage Crisis of 2007 (at least, the first one) is over. The Brits are home, seemingly no worse for wear, and many and sundry people are celebrating that the matter was settled without violence.

Unlike them, though, I see this as no grounds for celebration.

The precedent has been set: Iran has kidnapped sailors, kept them prisoner, denied them their Geneva Convention rights, used them as PR props, and then let them go in a grand ceremony -- and the world is trampling all over itself to pat them on the back. "Consequences? Why, those would be mean-spirited and punitive and not at all conducive to civil discourse! Besides, everyone is safe, so what's the problem?"

The problem is this: Iran invaded Iraqi territorial waters (as is proven by their own first reports of the incident, which clearly set the events as taking place in Iraqi waters, not Iranian), siezed a boat of a British ship operating in cooperation with the Iraqi government and under UN sanction, kept the sailors as prisoners, displayed them in crass attempts at PR, threatened them with imprisonment or worse, then -- once they'd wrung every last drop of use out of them -- released them in a grand display of generosity. And the world's reaction to this act of piracy?

Why, they're being lauded and praised for their actions, while those who expressed alarm and resolve over the matter are slammed as war-mongers and bloodthirsty villains.

I think this has great potential applications outside the realm of international diplomacy. Bank robbers who hold press conferences to give back the money will be spared prosecution. Rapists will only have to cover their victims' dry-cleaning bills, and agree to pay child support if the victim becomes pregnant. And car thieves who return the vehicle washed and with a full tank of gas will be praised for their generosity.

And now, "Iranian waters" are wherever Iran says they are, and Iranian ships now carry around them a magical field that turns their vicinity into Iranian sovereign territory. One of them could sail up to New York City (if it could reach that far), land on Liberty Island, declare the Statue of Liberty the 5th holiest place in Islam and "arrest" all the tourists for being in Iran illegally.

Iran has also established another breakthrough in international relations. It has declared that its citizens arrested in Iraq were "diplomats.' Prior to this, diplomats had to go through a rather extensive process. They had to have been commissioned by their home nation and issued credentials. Those credentials would then be presented to the host nation, which would choose whether or not to accept them. Then, depending on which choice was made, the would-be diplomat would be sent home or granted diplomatic status and protection and allowed to stay in the host nation.

Now, though, Iran can send all the people it wants into Iraq, without going through all that rigamarole. They can supply the terrorists with weapons, equipment, training, intelligence, and other resources, and if they get caught, claim to be "diplomats" and their lairs as "consulates." "Oh, did we forget to tell you about this beforehand? Sorry, our bad. Anyway, that's the way things are. Let us go and leave us alone, or you'll cause a major international incident and really risk pissing off Iran, who's already doing all it can to destabilize your government, kill your people, and eventually want to control your nation."

Yup, the peaceful resolution to this whole mess is certainly something to be celebrated. Concepts such as "justice deferred is justice denied" are really outmoded. And if avoiding a little violence today merely postpones -- and radically escalates -- the butcher's bill tomorrow, who really cares?


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Comments (41)

Read VDH, today.====... (Below threshold)

Read VDH, today.

I wanta see the Richter rec... (Below threshold)

I wanta see the Richter recordings for the slippage along the diplomatic fault lines from this event.

"Why, they're being lauded ... (Below threshold)

"Why, they're being lauded and praised for their actions"

Ah, the soft bigotry of lowered expectations for islamic nations continues.

"Gee, thanks for not cutting off their heads, guys! Want a cookie?"

A first hand look at what i... (Below threshold)

A first hand look at what it will be like under a Democrap goverment.

Countries like Iran, Syria,... (Below threshold)
Chris G:

Countries like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are actually quite feeble, so they use PR scams like taking hostages to flex their muscles. If you will note, they did not take Americans hostage, although it was reported that taking the Brits was in response to the US's capture of some Iranian intelligence poeple in Iraq. The Brits were already on their way out anyway, and Blair is quicker to succumb to public pressure than Bush.

Bush's poll numbers can be Truman-esque at 24% and he still wouldn't give a s**t about a poll. He would summarily start carpet bombing Iran until the American hostages miraculously ended up in some street corner bistro in France.

The truth of the matter is, for all of Iran's posturing, they are afraid of Israel and the US. While the US PR scam is easier managed due to the likes of Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, et. al. , Israel is another story. Israel's military is notorious for handing out ass-kickings with impugnity. Hence the war by proxy using insurgents to fight in Iraq and Lebanon against Israel.

Hamas is too busy infighting while trying to run a government. They should have stuck to strictly terrorist activity, instead of trying to go legit. Hezbollah is content to milk their "victory" against Israel for all its worth. Even though Israel turned south Lebanon into a parking lot last summer trying to kill them. Whatever happended to the PLO?

In short, you have wealthy countries being run by despots who use manipulation to keep their poverty stricken populations angry at countries that have nothing to do with their plight. What's going to happen is a Democrat will get elected in 2008, and our "engagement" and "diplomacy" will be rewarded with more aggression. History always repeats itself. As Clinton was having Arafat at the White House 24 times over 8 years, and convincing Israel to bend over and grab their ankles vis-a-vie Palestine, Bin Laden was attacking the US in the Khobar Towers, 2 US embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, and planning 9/11.

Bush has his faults. He can't speak English, he puts too much faith in his subordinates, he is slow to engage in public battles, somemtimes he is not agressive enough in the war, and he extends the benefit of the doubt too much that people understand the stakes on an issue without his pounding the message home. But, he knows when to stop talking and start bombing. Sometimes, the last option is your best option.

Impunity, CG, but otherwise... (Below threshold)

Impunity, CG, but otherwise, I couldn't agree more.

I wonder if the Brits will ... (Below threshold)
Lou Bauman:

I wonder if the Brits will continue to inspect Iraqi bound ships? If they do, how will British warship captains convince their sailors to do those inspections? I can see it now; "good luck boys, you're on your own".

disagree. i live here and m... (Below threshold)

disagree. i live here and most of us will be celebrating for the nexr 3 days! Blair's office has funded the celebrations...... So far, ALL of the Brits who were released have nothing but good things to say about Iran, it's leader and it's people. They are almost walking billboards for diplomacy and support of Iran. The only person people are blaming is Bush.

"Iran invaded Iraqi territo... (Below threshold)

"Iran invaded Iraqi territorial waters (as is proven by their own first reports of the incident, which clearly set the events as taking place in Iraqi waters, not Iranian)"_JT

Grid coordinates don't move.
Both nations claim those coordinates.
That's the definition of "disputed".

There were at least two Iraqi fishing boat "captains" who witnessed the Event.
One reported the incident took place in Iraqi waters, the other (Iraqi) said it took place in Iranian waters. And since, throughout history, fisherman have ignored political folderol in favor of concord with their fellows, they were both telling the truth as they saw it. 1 against 1 is very fitting.

And if you insist on English experts, the Disputed Waters claim is succintly laid out. And here's an Iraqi Brigadier who buttresses the "disputed waters" claim (below the fold): http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=6f4e8311-22d2-43ba-8198-bcc3a9eeda83&k=83132

Jay these are hotly disput... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay these are hotly disputed waters not the Hudson river, off of Staten Island. I forgotten the exact details, but it seems a case could be made that they are considered either, within Iraqi or Iranian waters. As you may recall Saddam in addition to these waters, also considered Kuwait an intrinsic part of the intergrity of Iraq ,so I would hestitate to entirely vouch for Iraq, concerning contentious international borders in the era of Saddam. Also remember when the USSS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airbus, by mistake, killing 290 civilian passengers and crew, in August 1988, the USS Vincennes was indeed in Iranian waters, and not international waters, as the US first claimed when it fired on the airbus.

Ah, the troll Steve; able t... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Ah, the troll Steve; able to find excuses for terrorists no matter the stretch. If there's a way to slam America, he'll find it.

Bush's poll numbers can ... (Below threshold)
Who's John Galt?:

Bush's poll numbers can be Truman-esque at 24% and he still wouldn't give a s**t about a poll.

I think they call it 'possessing principles". Basing your actions on principles frees one from the fickle tyranny of public opinion. This is why it will be so interesting to watch the non-principled (of both parties) change their stance on Iraq when it becomes expedient. Those who have moved too far left will find themselves in precarious positions.

Back on topic: In my opinion, Blair is screwed. Consequently, the British military is equally screwed. Events will prove this to be a prime example of how a soft hand and a "Good show, chap!" will not work with thugs. Britain will wish they had extracted dear payment from Iran. Unfortunately, this assures that the UK will have another opportunity to try again.

JT, good read. There will n... (Below threshold)

JT, good read. There will not be punishment for Iran's actions and violations of international law. Some of our own citizens and political leaders will side with Iran if they can make GW look bad. We sold out for politics. This country is not united and has not been for some time. England is in the same predicament. Wait until the dust settles and see what happens. ww

Everyone see what is shapin... (Below threshold)

Everyone see what is shaping up here, right?

The Lefties are swearing that the Brits were snatched in Iranians waters. And the Iranians were big enough to let them go.

The next logical step will be to say we're bastards for holding the Iranian soldiers caught in Iraq.

kiyt, I imagine they will b... (Below threshold)

kiyt, I imagine they will be passing out free burkas too! Make sure you grab yours and spare us all. Have fun as baby factory wife number 3 of an abusive male.

For the trolls sticking up ... (Below threshold)

For the trolls sticking up for the enemy:
If the waters are legitimately disputed, why did Iran feel the need to release new coordinates far from the originals? If this was a "dispute" wouldn't they be claiming the Brits were at THOSE COORDINATES in Iranian waters, not claim they were SOMEWHERE ELSE in Iranian waters?

"Britain says global satellite positioning information shows that its sailors were in Iraqi waters when they were captured last Friday. Ambassador Jones-Parry told reporters at the Security Council that Iran had changed the global positionining systems coordinates to make it appear that the British vessel was in Iranian waters."

kiyt, and the next time Ira... (Below threshold)

kiyt, and the next time Iran asks you to jump even higher, you folks will again applaud the extra effort at doing so.

brainy435,I'm not ... (Below threshold)


I'm not one to shoot the messenger, but the news source you cite is Voice of America (VOA) which is controlled by the U S State Dept.

We already know the White House line.

For what it's worth..I don'... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

For what it's worth..I don't think anyone (including trolls) support Iran in holding and making the British sailors and marines a public spectacle. But the Iraq war is on their doorstep, they are receiving ominous threats (some would say deservedly). They are apt to be nervous? Wizbang continues to press that America must strengthen it's borders. Maintaining sovereignty is an issue even in the North Pole, why wouldn't it be in the Gulf with Iran as well? Anyway, it all ended peacefully and Iranians apparently received a backlash from world public opinion for their parading of the Brits, so that is unlikely or less likely to happen again.

bryanD, crickmore:... (Below threshold)

bryanD, crickmore:

For the sake of argument lets say your right and the Brits were in Iranian waters.

Lets also stipulate the border has been in dispute since the early eighties.

Because of the long standing dispute and also the well known presence (by all parties) of Brits in those waters who were and have been conducting maritime intercept ops under U.N. mandate the obvious question is why did Iran go to such extremes to "protect" that border.

Why seize anyone? Why not just warn them of the accidental incursion into what they believe were Iranian waters and escort them back to the "correct" side of that watery border?

The answer is simple, the border issue is an issue only because Iran wanted a diversion and they got it, lets call it an Iranian red Herring.

None of the above excuses the seizure, the illegal parading of them before still or video cameras, requiring them, whether coerced or not to issue "confessions" or threatening them with criminal charges and ultimately a trial.

And none of the above excuse the U.N. for yet another feckless response to an international crisis.

Amadinthehead looses seaman... (Below threshold)

Amadinthehead looses seaman, Blair swallows, and Nancy comes while Jimmy watches.

All in the pursuit of intelligence?

Kiyt,Hopefully you... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:


Hopefully you'll read this far.

The dead enders in this country don't understand nor do they want diplomacy to work. They virulently oppose any such notion. They want more death and more blood and and more money, not necessarily in that order. That is their rallying cry. As the bumper sticker goes: "Killing is our business and business is good." Actually saw that on the back of a car (SUV) that had a Marine corps sticker on it. About flattened me when I read it..

But I digress, the tetosterone level has to be managed in this country before you are going to get any cooperation from these goons. I have some very good friends who are Brits and you must know that they are light years ahead on the basis of gentlemanly bahavior, civility and cultural immersion than most of the knuckledraggers we nurture in this country. The bastion of the good old boys still believes on keeping the woman barefoot, pregnant and down on the farm while boasting that his maleness will never be compromised by some "furreigner". It's the epitome of such blarney that has anyone who isn't white male and laden with sperm wearing a diffrent kind of invisible burqua. Not that they would ever admit to the same.

So, I am glad to hear that our British friends are learning that aligning their fortunes with Bush has been a most tragic mistake and that regardless of what propoganda emanates from the current "White" House with any luck we will emerge in Nov 2008 to reengage the world with greatness and promise to do a better job at social and ecomnomic justice for all concerned.

It's been an eternity for many of us on this side of the pond but have hope. Soon the cretins will be crawling back under their rocks and we won't have to worry about correspondence in blogs to combat the lack of awareness of the greater world. All I ask is a little more patience. We're doing our best to remove the cancerous growth.

...(the crisis) all ende... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

...(the crisis) all ended peacefully and Iranians apparently received a backlash from world public opinion...

They did? From whom? U.N. Secretary General was all too eager to work with the Iranians once more, stating, ""I am keen to cooperate with the Islamic Republic of Iran's government and its representative to the United Nations and to have its supports...".

Hmm, he's "keen" to work with a terrorist-supporting, anti-Semtic state that wishes to wipe Israel "off the map" and fortells the fall of the United States. Yeah, Steve, I'd call that a real backlash of public opinion there.

Shorter civil behavior:... (Below threshold)

Shorter civil behavior:

"We're trying to surrender as fast as we can! It's just this pesky Constitution gets in the way -- Bush is in office unti 2009, he's in charge of our foreign policy, and we can't muzzle these nutcases who keep whining about 'freedom' and 'responsibilities' and 'honor' and 'independence' and all that other silliness! Don't give up on us, though -- me and my friends are doing everything we can to act more French every day. In fact, we just held a giant whine-in in Washington, and we've got more planned!"


bryanD:Where is the ... (Below threshold)

Where is the story of an Iraqi fishing boat that said it took place in Iranian waters? That is news to me.

I read that they said the line is well known and they knew they were in Iraqi waters.

marc,I really can'... (Below threshold)


I really can't argue with anything you said, except that BOTH sides are playing this game.

Motivation is the key to who wanted the crisis to escalate, though. The US and the right wing in Israel are the only ones not pleased with the sudden resolution. Bush as usual, is caught flat-footed, trying to smile. But the Likudniks continue to stomp their feet, which is most telling.

The multiple secret and overt hostage trades from all sides must signal a positional strength on Iran's part. MAYBE Bush is on a new course to de-escalate the anti-Iranian US- financed Al-Queda attacks in Iran. Maybe Iran has captured bigger fish than we know of that might publicize this US- Al Queda link.

Perhaps with next month's Israeli spy trial in DC, Bush sees a chance to distance himslf from the Likudniks, for his own reputation, if nothing else.

George, it was second-hand ... (Below threshold)

George, it was second-hand from an IRAQI commander (from link above):

"We were informed by Iraqi fishermen after they had returned from sea that there were British gunboats in an area that is out of Iraqi control," Brig. Gen. Hakim Jassim told AP Television News in the southern city of Basra.

"We don't know why they were there. And these British troops were besieged by unknown gunboats, I don't know from where," he said"

"Out of Iraqi control" means IRANIAN in this case. The MOUTH of the waterway is not open sea (international waters); it is disputed between Iran and Iraq: There was a good map link but it has been pulled since yesterday (funny!), so:

"They are apt to be nerv... (Below threshold)

"They are apt to be nervous?"

Oh please. They're so nervous they're openly supplying and supporting terror groups in Iraq. They're so nervous they openly declare they will not stop unranium enrichment and their obstruction of inspections. They're so nervous they're publicly holding Holocaust-denial conferences. I don't think I need to go on....

We are fully aware that the waters the sailors were taken from are in dispute. That's not so much the issue as their crass manipulation of the situation. Those commenting here, adressing the issue with non-sequiturs about whether the waters belong to Iran or Iraq, are conveniently ignoring the Iranians' handling of it.

As far as Iraq's past claim to Kuwait; It's waterfront property. It's as simple as that. You'll always find the worst clashes over access to water. Even oil takes a back seat.

And could civil behavior get any more melodramatic? We're such cretins. It's a shame civil is forced to share a country with cancerous growths such as us. Boo-friggin-hoo.

bryanD:The US ... (Below threshold)


The US and the right wing in Israel are the only ones not pleased with the sudden resolution.

And what have you read or seen that made you arrive at that conclusion?

Or are you again pulling "facts" from your posterior?

I think they call it 'po... (Below threshold)

I think they call it 'possessing principles".

No, actually they call it "ignoring the will of the people".

marc, a good guage of Likud... (Below threshold)

marc, a good guage of Likudnik thought is always to be found at the post-lobotomy National Review. Haven't even looked, but I know they're P.O.'d.
And they are a transmission belt for the "special relationship" crowd in government. Weekly Standard, Jerusalem Post, and NY Sun are too, but they're usually more circumspect and cagey. NRO never dissappoints, though!

And that darned PNAC document laid it all out over 5 years ago and Bush is flubbing it.

Just checked NRO (just in case!); I was right!

bryanD"brainy435,</p... (Below threshold)


I'm not one to shoot the messenger, but the news source you cite is Voice of America (VOA) which is controlled by the U S State Dept.

We already know the White House line"

Sorry, bryanD. Next time I get you a quote I'll make sure it's from a country you support. I'll nip off and see what Iran has to say about it for you. Any suggestions on where to start?

The only news sources the l... (Below threshold)

The only news sources the lefties want are the ones that support they biased view. No others. If we quote the wapo, the lefties say we don't trust them so we can't quote them. If we quote Fox News, they aren't real. If you quote Voice of America, that is the GW line. So, they only sources the lefties want is what fits into their small prism of an existence. ww

brainy435,VOA pay... (Below threshold)


VOA pays for witness/interviews (same as National Enquirer, to attach real names to skewed articles for believability sake, i.e. how many $ to lie) and concocts pro-government press material like a factory. It's a propaganda vehicle controlled by the executive branch of government. A revolving door of journalism to government hacks with credentials are the public face.

The DoD's version of like operation was busted paying "real" journalists to treat these assembly line stories as real and then putting them on the news wires as genuine events, Dateline:Iraq, etc. For domestic consumption in US by a round-about way.

Is what Blair SHOULD have d... (Below threshold)

Is what Blair SHOULD have done, is this: "OK you guys, enough games. You have exactly 5 days to free them. If, at the end of 5 days, they are not free, I'm bombing every single one of your oil fields I can get a plane within range of. And trust me, you don't wanna know what I'll do after that."

I'm not a big Hannity fan, but I saw his show for a few minutes the other day, and I was especially impressed by the former Iranian Hostage, who was 20 at the time, saying that Jimmy Carter should have forced their hand right away, and that he would have been willing to die for that fact. He said he knew that it would have increased his personal chance of dying, but that he'd rather die then put America at a permenant disadvantage in these cases. He's a wise, unselfish man.

Really, Jay Tea, let's just... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Really, Jay Tea, let's just pull out all the big guns. Let's make sure there isn't a single Iraqi or Iranian left in the Middle East. Why don't we just nuke that northern corridor of the Persian Gulf and rid ourselves of those pesky oil barons so that the cleansing makes these Democrats look so foolish for not realizing before now that it was all just so easy had it not been for their whining.

The heck with diplomacy, why talk? This would all be so much easier if we simply use bombs and reduce the need to negotiate abruptly and definitively. The notion that countries who's borders are being crowded by foreign militias and navies that have been repeatedly threatened by the oppositions' increasing use of force and might possibly have a reason to distrust the logistics of an enemy so focused on destroying their very way of life.

Let us all just let my pet goat academician and his coalition of the willing run around with a little flag in their suit lapel raving it is all democracy in action. Drop more bombs, send more troops, occupy the lands of the "furreigner" and make sure we get a good cut and control of the precious resource. Heck, you've convinced me, let's make Iraq and Iran into a democracy like us even if it kills them.

How could I think anything like generosity, negotiation, or political agreements would provide such benefits. My bad.

civic behavior- <br ... (Below threshold)

civic behavior-

The bottom line is appeasement lefties like yourself will be removed from this country, long before so called "cretins".
One way or another.....

As far as the debate of geographical locations etc etc., WHO cares......
This was CALCULATED by IRAN.... and is part of a bigger picture....wake up people there are MORE acts to follow.
Iran will HAVE to be DEALT with one way or ANOTHER.

One ought to <a href="http:... (Below threshold)

One ought to take a look at sources beyond the RW warhawk diatribes all over the net.

Hey cb, soy is murder.<br /... (Below threshold)

Hey cb, soy is murder.

Yeah, right, Steigen, what ... (Below threshold)

Yeah, right, Steigen, what were two very high ranking Iranian military doing at a 'long established' Iranian office in Iraqi Kurdistan? You'll swallow anything, won't you? And did you see the argument that the US shouldn't have done any such thing because they should have known it would be provocative? Do you ever stop and think about what you read?

Knightbrigade, tone it down... (Below threshold)

Knightbrigade, tone it down a smidgen. We're on a new kick around here, trying to improve the level of discourse, and that's getting a little close to the edge.







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