More details concerning Iran’s January 12 seizure of two U.S. Navy boats with ten sailors onboard are emerging.
Now learning of the actions taken and/or statements made by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, we are left shaking our heads in disbelief — and wondering if the administration is run by the Three Stooges. It would be funny if not for the fact their combined actions have, again, emasculated America.
An unconcerned Obama made no mention of the seizure by the mullahs while delivering his State of the Union address. Apparently, he did not wish to distract from his message the [bad] nuclear deal he had negotiated with Tehran made for a compliant Iran and a strong America.
With only four days remaining before the agreement’s implementation, it was critical America’s newest hostages taken by Iran were returned expeditiously to demonstrate that Obama’s “smart diplomacy” was working.
Of course, it mattered not that such diplomacy had already failed to prevent Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles in direct violation of United Nations resolutions or that the mullahs had not come clean on the extent of their previous nuclear arms development work as was required and the deal remained unsigned by Tehran.
Unknown to us initially was this latest episode of Iranian hostage-taking was self-inflicted. With the two boats missing, Obama purposefully sought to create a situation to give the mullahs an opportunity to showcase a [non-existent] kinder, gentler side. With U.S. forces scrambling to locate the boats, unbelievably, Obama—much like a farmer asking the fox to help find a lost chicken—asked the Iranians to help find them.
Previous Iranian acts of hostility just two weeks earlier—firing rockets in the vicinity of a U.S. aircraft carrier operating in international waters—as well as Tehran’s history of making hostage-taking a sport made time of the essence in searching for the boats and rescuing their crews before Iran could seize them.
That time was cut short, however, as Obama requested Iran’s assistance. Now, instead of maximizing the time for a U.S. “search and rescue” operation, it had been minimized as the Iranians launched their own “search and capture” operation.
In this June 30, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, pauses while making a statement about immigration reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
As the Iranians approached, it appears the U.S. boats—contrary to U.S. Navy tradition—made no effort to defend themselves. This raises the question whether they were ordered to stand down.
International law imposes a duty upon those encountering a vessel in distress to render it assistance either getting it out of harm’s way or keeping it from falling into harm’s way.
The Iranians, however, boarded the U.S. boats, forcing those onboard to kneel with hands locked behind their heads. Initially accused of spying, the Americans were taken to a detention center and interrogated.
The boarding and interrogation were all filmed by the Iranians and broadcast on TV, in violation of the Geneva Convention which mandates, “prisoners of war must at all times be protected…against insults and public curiosity.”
However, quickly jumping to Tehran’s defense, the White House suggested the Geneva Convention was inapplicable as a state of war does not exist between the two countries. The State Department would only say release of the humiliating photographs were “unhelpful” and “inappropriate.” It is an interesting observation about a country responsible for the most American military deaths since the Vietnam war.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) saw the incident differently than Obama, charging Iran’s boarding of the boats and detention of the sailors a violation of international law as “innocent” (unintended) passage exempts one from arrest and seizure. He also criticized U.S. officials for “falling all over themselves to offer praise for Iran’s graciousness in detaining our ships and service members.”
An Iranian spokesman told the media the detained sailors were being treated with “Islamic compassion”—which apparently not only included public ridicule but also forcing a female sailor to wear a hijab.
As our sailors were being arrested and mistreated, Vice President Biden reported what they were experiencing “was just standard nautical practice.” He assured us since the territorial incursion was unintentional, caused by mechanical failure, no apology was demanded or would be given.
The sailors were only in custody for 16 hours, which was long enough to get the senior officer present, a young Navy lieutenant, to give the apology Biden said would not be forthcoming. While the lieutenant should not have offered it up, it undoubtedly was prompted by his having lived most his adult life under a president who has repeatedly made apologizing to our enemies an intimate part of his foreign policy. Obama may well be upset the lieutenant issued an apology before he could.
Also actively participating in America’s emasculation was Secretary Kerry. His exchange with his Iranian counterpart leaves one picturing him on his knees, practically begging the mullahs to use this opportunity to show the world post-nuclear deal relations with the U.S. had improved. Kerry told them, “We can make this into what will be a good story for both of us.”
Kerry’s plea was such, one wonders whether he is jockeying for a Nobel Peace Prize. Having seen his boss receive one for doing nothing, perhaps Kerry believes he can earn one by emasculating America.
Before returning the sailors to their boats and escorting them back out to international waters, the Iranians removed the GPS equipment, apparently as evidence of a territorial intrusion.
It is interesting to compare Tehran’s photo of the American sailors kneeling in front of their rescuers to one taken a year earlier after the U.S. Navy rescued Iranian sailors from pirates. Demonstratively appreciative, the Iranians embraced their American rescuers.
Apparently, what constitutes a maritime rescue lies in the eyes of the beholder. Mariners sailing near Iranian waters beware!
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