John on March 30, 2007 at 12:29 am
Update 8:08AM: Another day, another letter from hostage Faye Turney:
To British People,
I am writing to you as a British service person who has been sent to Iraq, sacrificed due to the intervening policies of the Bush and Blair governments.
We were arrested after entering Iranian waters by the Iranian forces. For this I am deeply sorry. I understand that this has caused even more distrust for the people of Iran, and the whole area of the British.
The Iranian people treated me well and have proved themselves to be caring, compassionate, hospitable, and friendly. For this I am thankful.
I believe that for our countries to move forward, we need to start withdrawing our forces from Iraq, and leave the people of Iraq to start rebuilding their lives.
I have written a letter to the people of Iran apologizing for our actions.
Whereas we hear and see on the news the way prisoners were treated in Abu Ghrayb and other Iraqi jails by the British and American personnel, I have received total respect and faced no harm.
It is now our time to ask our government to make a change to its oppressive behavior towards other people.
It’s funny how, with each new letter, Faye’s burgeoning anti-war feelings seem to correspond with an ever more clumsy — one might even say foreign — use of English. But the Iranians are branching out. They’ve now used another soldier, Nathan Summers, in their propaganda war. View the video here.
The Brits are sick of it. A bellicose editorial in today’s Telegraph begins:
I start to wonder whether it might not be time for us to get as nasty with other countries as they do with us.
Meanwhile, Tehran based Press TV sounds ever so much like a D-Kos diarist on a bender:
Perhaps it was that wanton UN sanctioned killing that persuaded the Bush and Blair governments to think it was okay to embark on an unprecedented campaign of bald-faced lying in the run-up to the second invasion of Iraq. Blair’s outright falsehood told with a straight face of Saddam’s ability to assemble and deliver a nuclear device in 45 minutes has to be one of the lowest points in British prime ministerial history.
In October of 2006 the British medical journal Lancet published the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health survey that put the number of civilian deaths due to the consequences of the 2003 invasion and ongoing occupation at 655,000. The “Coalition of the Willing” led by Bush and Blair (Bush’s poodle according to large numbers of the British public) was wracking up a remarkable record of kills.
But the whole operation had begun to go south by the summer of 2003 and has been headed further that way with an impressive head of steam ever since–so have Tony Blair’s political fortunes. Given the circumstances, it was perhaps inevitable that Iran would be scapegoated for this still unfathomable blundering of the Yanks and Brits that will play itself over decades and see the continuing diminution of both.
Lots of press reports seem to be suggesting so. From the Telegraph:
[A] YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph shows that over half the population would support military action to retrieve the prisoners.
And likewise, The Independent, more signs Iran is on the warpath:
After previously running low in Iranian news schedules, the story is gaining prominence. That suggests a decision has been made on how to pursue the case. Mr Larijani’s comments on the news channel yesterday were followed by a rendition of a popular nationalist song, which analysts say could be bad news for the forces personnel.
Then again, how bad can it be when the London Times can’t seem to decide whose side they’re on.
The big question in all of this is: What about America? Well, Rosie O’Donnell says this is all part of a conspiracy to start a war with Iran and her audience applauds. Writing for Time magazine, former CIA agent Robet Baer seems to share her opinion:
You wouldn’t be wrong to wonder if Iran hasn’t lost its mind seizing the 15 British marines and sailors, and in so doing, handing Bush a casus belli even he couldn’t have imagined…
You have to wonder if Bush is counting on the Iranians’ overreacting the way they did when they seized our embassy in 1979. And lest we forget, this was driven by paranoia that we were plotting to destroy the revolution.
Baer also reports that Iranian diplomats are complaining about a specific grievance:
[I]t wasn’t Iran that started taking hostages â€” it was the U.S., when it arrested five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Erbil in Northern Iraq on January 11. They are diplomats, the Iranians insist. They were in Erbil with the approval of the Kurds and therefore, they argue, are under the protection of the Vienna Convention.
Finally, the NY Sun quotes an American offical saying it’s the Iranians that have miscalculated:
Another American official yesterday said that plans were underway to move rapidly to escalate economic pressure and other measures on the Iranians. “The Iranians are going to be shocked to find out how badly they have miscalculated,” this official said. “Remember, Jimmy Carter is not the president of the United States these days.”
I say: There’s no way we go to war against Iran, though it seems to me they’ve been waging war on us in Iraq for some time now.
Category: Foreign Affairs |