It’s difficult to watch the reaction of British and American politicians to the events surrounding the 15 captured British sailors and marines without wondering how Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan would have responded.
We can be virtually assured that the Dynamic Duo of the 80′s would have, at the very least, reacted differently than Blair and Bush, as Thatcher and Reagan realized the inherent danger in saying “please” when you don’t have to. True, the chances are somewhat good that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have gotten a missile between the eyes by now, but the chances are greater that and the 15 would have never been taken hostage in the first place. Such is the luxury of the reputation as a quick and overwhelming responder.
But this is a new day. We now live in the age of ill advised appeasement and stalled negotiation, and both practices always favor the despot du jour.
Iran claims to have satellite evidence, provided with the assistance of the renowned Iranian Space Program no doubt (their moon landing is depicted in the gripping film “The Shiite has landed”), that the 15 were in Iranian territory when they were taken prisoner. England says “no they weren’t” and Iran says “yes they were” and England says “no they weren’t” and… you get the point. This is another verbal tickle-fight that Reagan and Thatcher wouldn’t have wasted their time on, as they were well aware that totalitarian regimes are unlikely to be swayed by either the existence of facts, or the lack of them.
In the meantime, Iran continues with the mind games and to demand that Britain admit the captured members of the military were trespassing or else they’ll be put on trial. The prisoners are also being paraded for the camera and forced to make statements demanding the U.K. and U.S. pull out of Iraq immediately, as Iran can’t cull an effective terrorist garden without access to that fertile ground.
Tony Blair is described as “livid.” As soon as he reaches “bloody pissed” Iran is in danger of… of — a violent apology.
Iran twisted the knife in the hostage crisis last night, releasing a letter said to be from the captured servicewoman Faye Turney in which she called for British troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.
The letter, in which Tehran appeared to be using the hostages to try to dictate British foreign policy, was apparently designed to heap humiliation on Tony Blair.
The United Nations is, of course, drafting the obligatory “strongly worded” statement. This will be sent to Iran’s leaders along with an FTD “appease-me-up” bouquet just as soon as the U.N. Committee on Round-Table Panels of Task Forces for Floral Arrangements decides what kind of flowers to enclose and whether or not to use the words “demand the release” or “beg your indulgence.”
What would Margaret and Ron do? Not any of this.