My previous post featured my impressions of the Little Green Footballs community's interest and attitude toward the conduct of UK Marines and sailors regarding their surrender/abduction/capture, their captivity and the circumstances surrounding their release.
To my surprise one "Nomenovum" --presumably from the LGF community-- left a comment to which I have chosen to reply in this post. I've copied most (but not all) of his comments here and responded accordingly to his statements and the points raised. The few omissions from his original text are simply for the sake of space--his full original comment is maintained in the orignal post comments of Are the British Now "The French"?
I'm afraid this posted ia a bit disjointed and rambling, but that's because of the source material--its more more coherent from "Do you remeber what happened..." (about one screen scroll)....
So here goes....
Nomenovum: "Ah! The old "chickenhawk" calumny. It always works. It is the zenith of cheap red herrings."
I assume you are equating “chickenhawk” to the phrase “The Fighting 101 Keyboarders”. And wouldn't the nadir of cheap red herrings be more apropos? But I digress....
“The fact of the matter is, you have no evidence that the LGF posters are cowards; however, we have plenty of hard evidence that the UK sailors and Marines are.
I didn’t write that “the LGF posters are cowards”.
But you can reasonably argue that I called a sizeable contingent of LGF commenters “cowards” without actually using the term.
No doubt there are some regulars to LGF who are in the military, some who have served and can speak with a degree of authority on aspects of the military that I, who has never served, and other LGF regulars who have never served, cannot.
And the same holds true of those blogs where the commenters consensus is that there’s nothing noble left in the Iraq occupation or “strategy”, or “mission”.
What really irks me is that there seem to be so many commenters on LGF that are so adamant in demanding that the US military keep fighting in Iraq because of what? Because of terrorists? Because the US aren’t quitters? Those seem to be the general arguments.
These arguments however ignore how totally half-arsed this Iraq adventure is. If this really is all about defending the US and the world against a global threat—as in WWII—then why aren’t we all getting drafted, if it's that important? Why isn’t industry mobilized? Why isn’t Bush burning the midnight oil instead of lounging around his fake ranch two months out of the year?
There were all kinds of reasons why the US went into Iraq and it had damn-all to do with the threat of “terrorism” as was claimed.
But this is the argument than many LGF commenters seem to cling to: “We are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here!”.
Well, with the world’s most powerful military fighting them over there, we don’t seem to be making much progress do we?
Let ‘em come over here! We should have the home-ground advantage and 300 million privately owned guns. Then we can all sacrifice for the great cause and take pride in it rather than put the entire responsibility for our nation’s and the worlds salvation on 100,000 regular troops and 50,000 dedicated part-timers from the National Guard. Right?
"I find it hard to believe that a man as intelligent as you cannot imagine why someone like me or an LGF commenter may not be in the armed forces of the United States.."
Well thanks for the “intelligent” compliment, but if that’s how I appear it would be more due to a combination of experience, study, inquisition and the use of logic rather than an accidental excess of neurons.
But to answer what you “find hard to believe”;
I can easily imagine why “someone like you” or a regular LGF commenter may not be in the armed forces—because so many commenters a) don’t use the military vernacular and expressions that appear on actual milblogs and other published accounts from serving soldiers and b) because so many commenters demonstrate such spectacular ignorance of basic military functions and protocols. And so few exhibit any knowledge of military history, which is something that any soldier is encouraged to at least be aware of and that one would expect the ordinary trooper to at least have a natural interest in--or so I assume.
Do you remember what happened when US Marines in Lebanon were attacked with a truck bomb?
Nothing happened, except that President Reagan pulled them out of there immediately.
Shouldn’t they have stormed out of the compound guns blazing? Why didn’t they? Because they were cowards? NO!
It’s because to have done so would have been futile and it wasn’t part of their mission.
Mission discipline is an essential demand of the military—apparently you and your “go down with guns blazing” buddies don’t seem to know that—and that’s another indicator that so many of the LGF commenters are just ignorant war-junkies baying for blood and sacrifice from the comfort of their own homes.
To quote the great General Patton (not known for being a liberal) “the idea is not to die for your country, it’s to get the other poor bastard to die for his!”—but apparently a lot of LGF commenters wouldn’t agree. They seem to want to continue the war and have the soldiers die so to preserve their own freedom to not do the same.
"It simply defies logic to think that a non-military man calling a Marine a coward makes the accuser himself a coward"
So, for a civilian to call a Marine a coward would make the civilian a coward because the civilian doesn’t intentionally risk his life, whereas the Marine does?
So a civilian is in no position to question a Marine’s heroism and call him a coward because the civilian isn’t willing to do what a Marine does, right? And therefore the civilian would be a coward in accusing a Marine of being a coward; so who would want to call attention to their own cowardice, right?
Well, as a plethora of LGF commenters who certainly don’t appear to me to be serving military (for reasons I’ve already explained—style, ignorance and probability being major factors, not to mention having the time during the day to comment) and that the majority of the comments I read (about 100 out of the 600-plus) described the captured British personnel as cowards and thought they should have started a firefight from their dinghy even though they were outgunned........we must then both agree that some of the LGF commenters would in all probability be the exact self accusing cowards you identify—non-military calling Marines cowards.
And yet your logic, apparently, dictates otherwise—all those calling the British Marines cowards must therefore be military men, and therefore no LGF civilian commenter has cried “coward” because logically they simply wouldn’t. Hmmmm… fascinating!
But enough of tortured logic , let’s move on
"But never mind. You seem to have forgotten that it is the job of a Marine (or sailor or soldier) to be brave in the face of danger, to resist coercion, and not to lie about their country when faced with the prospect of incarceration by mad Iranians. "
Really? Where the hell is all that written down? Are you quoting from any official manual?
What if a Marine or sailor or soldier is faced with the “prospect of incarceration” by mad Syrians, or North Koreans?
What if the Iranians or Syrians or North Koreans are reasonable instead of mad?
And it seems you are saying (because this is all about the Iranians capturing British military personnel) that the Brits “lied about their country” at the “prospect of incarceration”.
Gosh! Were you there when this happened? Did the Brits tell the “Mad Iranians” that Britain was actually a philosophical construct in the 8th dimension and was ruled by peaceful jellyfish as soon as the mad Iranians warned them that they might be taken prisoner? I'm guessing they didn't.
Lied about their country?!!! Really! Where do you get this stuff from? Oh, let me guess....
It is my understanding (through years of actual study of military matters and having talked to actual POW’s and a variety of experienced officers (rather than just masturbating to the Military Channel on cable) that a Prisoner of War is expected to do his or her best to a) survive, b) assist fellow captives to survive, and then if possible, c) to confound and annoy the enemy whilst in captivity.
What YOU have forgotten, or rather IGNORED is that the UK ISN”T AT WAR WITH IRAN! NEITHER IS THE US! ERGO the Brits WEREN’T POWS! ERGO the Geneva Conventions you so misguidedly quote DON’T APPLY! Despite the involvement of military personnel the issue was an international, civil, diplomatic and legal issue, NOT a military one.
Furthermore you also forget or ignore that these Marines and sailors are given RULES OF ENGAGEMENT and that what military personnel are supposed to do above all is FOLLOW ORDERS!
Their orders were to search ships for “contraband” and it is highly unlikely that such a patrol, especially in this area would be given license to engage in “free-fire” when challenged.
For the Brits to have fired before they were fired upon, given that they WEREN’T AT WAR, would have been a violation of their ROE and and a damn good excuse for the Iranians to respond in kind and then-some and the whole thing could have literally blown-up—which is exactly what a bunch of the dimwits at LGF were keen to see happen.
If only the Brits had panicked, we could have had another war! Fantastic! Just what this country and the world needs!
I don’t contest your negative opinion (and those of so many others I read on LGF) out of a blind devotion to my fellow Brits, but because I have an appreciation of such matters that you apparently don’t.
I grew up with terrorism, thanks to the IRA and intransigence from the UDA and the British Government. I got to see some of bloody results first-hand.
My father was held prisoner of the PLO for two days but they let him go, and he negotiated the release of prisoners on B.O.A.C VC10 (G-ASGN) at Dawson’s field in Amman in 1970—look it up, the first triple-hijacking.
Was my father a coward for not wrestling a gun from one of his captors and starting a fight? Are you calling my father a coward? He saved people’s lives by being smart and sticking to his mission objectives.
I was in Beirut in the late summer of 1974 and saw the Syrian tanks lined up just yards from me on the border, waiting, and watched as the Palestinian fedayeen took potshots at the Israeli RF-4 Phantoms otherwise unchallenged roaring overhead at 500 feet, photographing the city in preparation for the coming war, and I had to dodge a couple of firefights that opened up on the streets of Beirut between gangs of Phalangists and Palestinians, before the shit really hit the fan in 1975.
Afghanistan was pitched as a surgical strike against Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and as strategic effort to bring democracy and stability to that country to deny a haven to terrorists and serve as a model to the region.
Well. Bin Laden is still at large, Al Qaeda still functions, the Taliban have returned, there is no functioning democracy and no stability—after five years.
Iraq was pitched as a surgical strike against Hussein and against Al Qaeda, and as an even more important strategic effort to bring democracy and stability to that country, to deny a haven and possible support to terrorists and to serve as a model to the region.
Well, Hussein’s now dead, the country is leaderless and there’s no-one power to bargain-with, threaten or cajole.
The “government” can’t govern, the US invasion and occupation has attracted terrorists and encouraged radical Islamists all over the world, the US hasn’t won any hearts and minds and it has made no tangible progress; thousands of Iraqis have been incarcerated without real evidence, tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed by the US for sure, hundreds of thousands have been killed overall by local factions—what is there to show for all this, four years, nearly 3300 US dead and $600 billion spent? Where indeed is the good news?
And you and the LGF regulars have your panties in a bunch because a handful of British military had the sense not to trigger another war, one that the same people who “managed” the Afghanistan and Iraq disasters are now itching to wage and that you support? How many wars do you want to lose? Do you really think they’ll finally get it right with Iran?
"Nice twist, though, making this episode another opportunity to bash the United States. The country must have done you great wrong. I am curious to know why you haven’t taken up Aeneas’s suggestion."
Nope, I’ve had a quite decent time here in the US. But which United States are your referring to? The one that does include me, born of American parents, lived-here over half my life? Or the one that excludes me, the one that fits only your view of what Americans are and what America should be? Apparently you have exclusive rights to criticize? You should read the Constitution and the writings of Washington, Jefferson, Adams—you know the guys who defined modern Democracy and this nation?
"The evidence is quite persuasive that most, if not all, of these fifteen are cowards. They certainly shamed Great Britain. They embarrassed themselves and their comrades. They made me embarrassed for them. You should be embarrassed to have such pitiful men fighting for your native land. It was shameful. It does no good to call their critics cowards themselves because it does nothing to change the evidence before your eyes."
See the evidence before your eyes and save your embarrassment for yourself, for your ignorant support of a policy that has corrupted a once great military and that has abused American troops in equipment, in their mission, in the care of the wounded and in honoring the dead of two wars concurrent wars with no improvement in the political, social or military conditions on the ground, and for your ignorance–fueled denigration of these allies who didn’t sacrifice themselves to the bloodthirsty, xenophobic, jingoistic, hegemonistic ambitions you seem to think is America’s “manifest destiny”.
The British embraced that notion and over 400 years created the world’s greatest empire, which took only 50 years and two major wars to collapse. Things move a lot faster these days. Think about it.
Oh and should any US troops have the misfortune of being captured, why don't you teach a lesson to the cowardly limeys and demand that the US troops recieve the same treatment from their captoirs that the US offers its captives--waterboarding, sleep deprivation, beatings, hypothermic manipulation, sexual humilation, all that good stuff--you know, so you have something to be really proud of?