Thursday, March 29, 2007

Will Britons fight for anything?

The Iranians who captured the 15 British naval personnel have now paraded their pictures in front of the world's media. Female seaman Faye Turney was shown wearing a hijab speaking under duress. This is now the third Geneva Convention the Iranians have broken.

1. Threatening to try soldiers in uniform for espionage,
2. Interrogation of captured soldiers
3. Public display of captured soldiers

However, worldwide reaction condemning the Iranians has been eerily silent. Do the Geneva Conventions now only apply to the US and its allies, asks Samizdata?

Tony Blair has now published photographic evidence proving that the sailors were abducted in Iraqi waters. This is hence an act of extreme aggression. Blair has threatened to take diplomacy to a "different phase". But what should this mean?

1. Give diplomacy every chance to work by setting a deadline for their release.
2. If this deadline lapses, send in covert troops to release the hostages.
3. If this fails, then i know not what other options are left.

The normally sound viewers and readers of the BBC (on their Have Your Say site) are surprisingly unsure of what to do...

Whilst the most popular comment is one of determination,

"i would give iran 36 hours or it will be a declaration of war plain and simple."

many other popular comments are more equivocal,

"If Iranian sailors entered British waters, the British would arrest the Iranians. The Iranians would then protest that they had not been in British waters; but the British public would not believe that.That is exactly what has happened but in reverse. So what should be done? Nothing. It'll all blow over."

Sitting here in Australia, i find this lack of conviction utterly astonishing and deeply saddening. Is there anything left that my fellow countrymen would defend?

Jim Cushing from North Carolina sums up my own feelings,

"14 of your countries best abducted by iran and going through who knows what, and its not even on the frontpage of the BBC webpage anymore? From what I have been reading here, a vast majority of you could care less anyway. A blessed shame it is!!!"

It is time to remember the immortal words of John Stuart Mill,

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."