Bloody Iranians! They Almost Tortured Us...
Yet, the international anger at the treatment of the 15 British servicemen and woman, is understandable. So when the "officer in charge Lt Carman said they were taken to a prison in Tehran where they were stripped and dressed in pyjamas", I couldn't help but understand their outrage.
And when, "Royal Marine Joe Tindell told how they feared for their lives in prison" with what must have been a horrifying moment, I felt the same outrage. "We had a blindfold and plastic cuffs, hands behind our backs, heads against the wall. Basically there were weapons cocking. Someone, I'm not sure who, someone said, I quote 'lads, lads I think we're going to get executed'."
(Oh, sorry, wrong graphics!)
Yet, when the 15 British servicemen and woman were returned, unharmed (and untortured), in fact, after being treated "humanely" according to their own rendition of events, I find the outrage, even my own, a little bit disingenuous. (Funny how both BBC and CNN - the two website I checked - don't mention that "humanely treated" comment although I watched and heard one of the sailors say it.)
Yes, I am happy for their safe return, but let's not be too quick to throw rocks from own glass house. In fact, as far as torture goes, this can only rate as high as a slight inconvenience.
More to the point, as mortified as I am sure these 15 Brits were, and as undeserving of this treatment that they are, I can only think about all those poor souls locked up for years in Guantanamo, Abu Gharib, CIA torture sites around the world, and all those renditioned to the bowels of Middle Eastern and Asian torture dungeons. Are they all deserving of their treatment? Did any of them ever get their day in court? Is anyone ever deserving of such treatment?
Yet, when the leader of the free world, as the US is, declares that torture is at times necessary, that is when all bets are off. Game over! As far as the rest of the world is concerned, we no longer reign over the moral high ground.
(Yes, that is why international law matters and respecting our treaty obligations is in our self-interest!)
But that is not where the tragedy of all this ends. The Iranians beat us at our own game. They have the initiative. Long after anyone cares whether or not those sailors were in Iraqi or Iranian waters, what the world will remember is that the Iranians did not really harm them, returned them safely, and still the US and Britain decried their actions while never apologizing or atoning for their own far greater misdeeds.
This PR round goes to the Iranians!
It is almost as if it would have been better if the Iranians had behaved as poorly as we have... And maybe they have, but that is not what the world sees.....