Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Bulldog No More

I'm English by ancestry, but American by birth. While I'm often very critical of the US federal government (rightfully so, say most), I remain a defender of the America that might be and ought to be. I'm a veteran of a short, not overly distinguished career in the US Navy, of which I'm proud. I've felt embarrassed for our Navy and the rest of our military on a very few occasions.

The first in memory was the USS Pueblo incident in 1968. It still seems like dereliction that a nearly unarmed naval vessel (two .50 caliber machine guns) was sent into potentially hostile waters with no backup. The Korea Navy captured Pueblo after some attempts to maneuver away, and some shooting by the Koreans, in which one American sailor was killed. It seems even worse that the government went to Korea hat-in-hand to "begotiate" for the return of the crew. The Pueblo remains in Korea to this day.

Next, (not including our politicians' blundering into and embarrassingly out of Viet Nam) was the Iran hostage event in 1979. President Carter stumbled around for over a year before newly-elected President Reagan finally brokered a deal to get the hostages released.

I know I've omitted an number of other politically-inspired blunders, many of which resulted in many innocent people being killed and maimed. All of them cost taxpayers a lot of money.

My British acquaintances could undoubtedly tell of many similar blunders committed by their government, though in recent decades, I doubt any of theirs reaches the size and scope of ours. I'm sure that many British folks have been killed, maimed, impoverished and embarrassed by the stupidity of their politicians.

I'm thinking that the capture of the fifteen Royal Navy sailors and marines by Iranian Navy "pirates" in the Persian Gulf falls into this category. The sailors and marines were attached to British frigate HMS Cornwall, and were patrolling in small boats when they were captured by the Iranians.

Tales from British history lead us to think that the Royal Navy isn't a force one should take lightly. Not the case any more, apparently.

I'd have thought that Cornwall would've blown the Iranian savages out of the water before they could capture the patrol boats, and then dropped a few bombs 'pon the nearest Iranian Navy base to teach them a lesson. Looks like Tony Blair is more of a yipping terrier than a bulldog.

Fitting everyone in Europe for burqas.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


Dee said...

While lots (perhaps) could be said about the mistakes made on the administrative and political level, the lionhearts of our military people on the ground (and sea) cannot be faulted in my view. Sure nobody's perfect but to subject yourself to such risk with the motivation to protect the rest of us from having to do so is, in my books, one of the purest acts that a person can perform.

Col. Hogan said...

While I agree in general, Dee, I think one of the things the Captain of the Cornwall forgot was the his responsibility to protect (or rescue) his own shipmates.

Certainly the kidnapping of the patrol detachment by the thugs belonging to a rogue nation might not have been anticipated by you or me, but the Captain of a Royal warship must anticipate such, and react to the attempt.

The "Leave no man behind" idea would seem to apply here.

MK said...

I am quite dissappointed by the reaction of the British over this. last i heard they are trying to call the iranians, while they basically tell them to talk to the hand.

Effectively this is a clear message to anyone out there with more than to brain cells, for all the might of the west with their nuclear weapons and fancy bombs, it's no use if you're not prepared to use them.

i only hope and pray that these sailors make it out alive and well. I dread to think what they must be going through, as we all know geneva conventions and human rights are only held against us and not against the enemy.

Col. Hogan said...

Well, we know that Aachtung Madiddibad (sp?) has a penchant for kidnapping Westerners and creating a spectacle with his victims. All the more reason why Cromwell's Captain should not have allowed the pirates to capture his men.

This ought to be, by British military tradition, considsered an act of war.

Dee said...

I understand what you were saying now Col. I woke up in the wee hours of this morning and the question that was nagging was this;"Why didn't the British mother ship blast the Iranian abductors out of the water when they had the chance?"
Try as I might, I just can't come up with a good reason.

Dee said...

Mr Smith has left a question for you on my post on the topic, Col.

steveintx said...

Not seeing a Ronald Reagan in the immediate future in UK politics, I fear for the entrapped sailors. Even if there was a RR the climate of today would not allow him to jump. I think the sailors are going to be thrown under the bus. Today the students are protesting in front of the UK Embassy. Ah, the memories of 1979 are very vivid. Carter wrung his hands for a year and a half. Is this fellow, knowing he's on the way out, going to take the cowards way like Carter?

Col. Hogan said...

Blair will probably win the freedom of the fifteen Royal Marines after an embarrassing and costly list of concessions and after the Marines have been psychologically abused to the point where they'll never again be themselves.

pommygranate said...

Col Hogan

Depressing indeed for us Brits.

Have you seen the recently assembled British naval fleet heading for Iran?

Col. Hogan said...

Pommy, that seems to be what it's coming down to.

Now that it's over, I wonder if we'll ever hear the excuses as to why Cromwell was ordered to put up no resistance. I've been hearing about some anger at the fact that the ex-hostages were so meek and compliant while being held captive.

I hope some lessons have been learned, but I doubt it.

Col. Hogan said...
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