Bush Administration, Middle East

The arrest of 15 British sailors by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is a worrisome development. The immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of the sailors, of course. Let us also hope that the sailors are released before tensions escalate and push nations closer to war.

Captain Ed notes that Iran’s trying the sailors for espionage would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions. You remember the Geneva Conventions — they’re some old treaties that Alberto Gonzales thinks are “obsolete” and even “quaint.”

Over the next few days expect Britain and Iran to haggle over whether the sailors were in Iranian waters or not. The Iranians claim to have evidence the sailors deliberately entered Iranian waters. The Brits say the sailors were “miles” inside Iraqi waters. An Iraqi fisherman who claims to have seen the capture says the Brits were on the Iraqi side of the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway.

The British sailor episode bears a resemblance to the U2 Incident. For the young folks: In May 1960 the Soviet Union shot down a U.S. U2 spy plane that had entered Soviet air space. President Eisenhower at first denied the plane and the pilot were engaged in espionage; he insisted that if the plane had been in Soviet air space, perhaps the pilot was lost. But the Soviets had the pilot, Gary Powers, in custody, and they had film taken with camera equipment installed on the plane, and eventually Eisenhower was forced to admit that, yes, the plane had been on an espionage mission. The Soviets tried and convicted Powers of espionage; he was imprisoned for two years, then swapped for a Soviet spy in February 1962. The U2 Incident contributed to an escalation of tension between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. that culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

Then we had leaders who really didn’t want to go to war. As Glenn Greenwald documents, we are not so fortunate now. And compared to current Iranian leadership, Nikita Khrushchev seems almost reasonable. Bad times.

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  1. Steve from Canuckistan  •  Mar 25, 2007 @10:25 am

    Zbigniew Brzezinski has a great piece in today’s WAPO outlook section that very precisely skewers Bushes GWOT. He mentions “a recent BBC poll of 28000 people in 27 countries that sought respondent’s assessments of the role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the states with the most negative influence in the world…a new axis of evil’ so to speak.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 25, 2007 @11:18 am

    This incident reminds me more of the Mayaguez incident during Ford’s administration.
    If I recall correctly, Ford sent in Marine’s who went to the wrong island, or something like that (kind of like Carter’s rescue effort, only not as much bad press).
    Maybe Bush will do the same thing about sending in troops to the wrong country – oh,wait he already has – the stupid surge in Iraq.
    What I fear is that, unlike any other move (save tax reductions for the rich and draconian credit policies), this clown will get THIS right in his own mind, and attack Iran….
    Isn’t it great what we have to fear now-a-day’s?
    If there was any place to go outside of this solar system, people might ask me, “Where are you going to go?” And I’d answer, “I don’t know, but “Armageddon” outta here!!!”
    Stupid is, as stupid does…
    And, not only are we main-lining it, we’re OD’ing on stupid in this mis-administrataion! Unfortuunately, we’re also “highballing” on evil, corruption, torture, and a number of other things in this toxic brew.
    Stupid, evil, and corrupt, don’t mix well. Throw in several dashes of torture, and even the dumbest bartender will tell you that it will be a horrible drink…
    Bottom’s Up!!!

  3. Swami  •  Mar 25, 2007 @12:56 pm

    Somebody needs to tell Captin’ Ed that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    Really, what’s an old musty document written by John Calvin called the Geneva Conventions got to do with a post 9/11 world? The Captin’ should learn his history before he goes spoutin’ on about things he know nothing about. He must think we’re ignorant.

  4. Marshall  •  Mar 25, 2007 @3:33 pm

    Nikita Kruschev had no intention of getting into any shooting war with nuclear weapons and fully understood the risks involved – both his memoirs and his actions make that pretty clear. Can the same be said today ?