Friday, March 30, 2007

Circulating About the Internet

Is a Time Magazine story about how an Iranian force entered Iraq and ambushed a force comprised of Iraqis and US soldiers. Since we are just hearing about this story now instead of a long time ago should make you realize the Iranians did not get what they were hoping to get – the opportunity to relive their days in the late '70s with American hostages. However, hostage is not the correct word here but it will do. POW would be a better fit here but the embassy personal Iran held in the late '70s were hostages.

A short Army press release issued on the day of the skirmish offered the following information: U.S. soldiers from the 5th Squadron 73rd Cavalry 82nd Airborne were accompanying Iraqi forces on a routine joint patrol along the border with Iran, about 75 miles east of Baghdad, when they spotted two Iranian soldiers retreating from Iraqi territory back into Iran. A moment later, U.S. and Iraqi forces came upon a third Iranian soldier on the Iraqi side of the border, who stood his ground. As U.S. and Iraqi soldiers approached the Iranian officer and began speaking with him, a platoon of Iranian soldiers appeared and moved to surround the coalition patrol, taking up positions on high ground. At that point, according to the Army's statement, the Iranian captain told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that if they tried to leave they would be fired on. Fearing abduction by the Iranians, U.S. troops moved to go anyway, and fighting broke out. Army officials say the Iranian troops fired first with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, and that U.S. troops fell further back into Iraqi territory, while four Iraqi army soldiers, one interpreter and one Iraqi border guard remained in the hands of the Iranians.
Source: Time Magazine – A Deadly U.S.-Iran Firefight
So, this just has to make one wonder, why the UK commanders on the scene allowed the Iranians to waltz away with their sailors? I know the commander on the scene says his ROE did not permit escalating anything. Well guess what? Things are escalated anyway! If the Iranian raiders were turned into chum or at least sent scurrying away there would be absolutely no story here. Iran is using this to show how they are pushing around one of the great world powers and as some people are speculating as a diversion. Iran wouldn't be trumpeting a failure anymore than they talked about the failure Time Magazine reports above. But it isn't a failure, its little victory for them, even the fact Iran is changing elements of their story do matter much now, what matters is the fact the UK is being kicked around by Iran.

Wretchard at the Belmont Club provides some commentary and is the inspiration for this blog. I saw the story earlier today but was not moved to write about it.
There's a backstory behind the US assertion that American troops would have fought if they had been in the same position [emphasis added] as British soldiers who were taken in a cross-border raid by Iranian forces.
Source: The Belmont Club – The Past as Prologue
You know the thought outlined above did occur to me. However, given the track record of our tiptoeing around Iran's belligerence I thought such commentary would be viewed as cheap talk, however the story Time Magazine relates provides support for the thought.

Again, what situation went away quietly and which situation is escalated? The one where the ambushed fought or the one where the ambushed surrendered?

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