Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Homeward bound ?

Despite a lot of contradictory noises the end of this mini-crisis seems to be in sight as the Iranian President announces the release of the 15 British sailors.

Despite this, bigger issues remain and remain unresolved.


cw-patriot said...

Congratulations, Luis, on the return home of your courageous countrymen! We have all been fervently praying for their safe return.

I do have a few misgivings about the whole mini-crisis, though, and hope that I am not stepping on any toes by voicing them here (I am, as always, open to opposing opinions … especially those voiced by the countrymen of the captured sailors and marines).

If I were the family member of one of the British hostages, I would have wanted my government to do everything humanly possible to obtain his/her release. With that said, those of us with a more objective perspective must employ more common sense when dealing with the atrocities committed by madmen.

It isn’t terribly uncommon for fifteen coalition soldiers/Marines to be killed on any day in the war in Iraq. They remain anonymous, and their sacrifice remains virtually unrecognized, to all but those who knew them.

By focusing international media attention, and major diplomatic efforts, on the capture and release of the hostages, the free world did nothing more than grant credence to a vicious tyrant, for three reasons:

(1) representatives of the leaders of the free world cannot sit down at the bargaining table with a despot who is simultaneously issuing orders commanding the violent death of our own people. Practicing diplomacy under such circumstances is ludicrous and suicidal.

(2) paying diplomatic and media attention to this travesty emboldens the perpetrators to perform a sequel, if only for the international attention it engenders.

(3) allowing the criminals, and their allies within our borders, to use the incident as a powerful propaganda weapon will result in further ‘conversion’ of the uninformed to the anti-war-on-terror (in actuality, pro-radical-Islam) camp.

As difficult (if not impossible) as it will be for those of us who hold life and liberty precious, such hostages must either be rescued by force or immediately considered casualties of war. Not doing so diminishes the lives of those who die in actual battle, and places in the hands of the criminals an insidiously powerful new weapon.

~ joanie

Luis said...

Thank you Joanie,

I am glad that all our prayers were answered in this area.

As we in the free world always have scope for different views (even between allies :-)), I will offer you my thoughts on why this was the best outcome to this situation.

1) First and foremost, Britain received back in good health 15 of her children. Their reuniting with their families and loved ones yesterday was surely something worth achiving even at the cost of a little pride.

2) While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed to enjoy the theatre of the moment and make the release a "gift" rather than a surrender, it is worth noting that Iranian demands for a British apology and their threats of a show trial came to nothing.

Essentially Britain gave no ground but if Iran wants to rationalise it as some kind of victory that is their concern.

3) Unusually and probably without sincerety, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made conciliatory noises referring both to Easter and the Jewish passover.
It is part of my personal beliefs that everyone, even Iranian Presidents, have the potential for repentance and redemption (however unlikely that may seem). To at least be making some friendly noises has to be good rather than bad.

However I agree with you that the fundementals remain the same. Iran is sponsoring insurgents in Iraq who have killed many coalition forces not too mention many more Sunni muslims. On the same day that the 15 British sailors arrived home 4 British soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Basra. It is likely an Iranian hand played some part in this.

This has to be stopped. The method you propose is force and I sympathise with that.

However I think there is always scope for diplomacy if it will lead somewhere.

In the early 80s there was no worse regime or threat to world peace than the Soviet Union. Branded as the "Evil Empire" by President Reagan it was only a short while later that he sat down with their leader when it became clear that there was a will from within to change.

The Soviet Union and East European communism was defeated by a combination of unrelenting external pressure but ultimately by those who lived within it.

The US and Soviets fought several proxy wars but never thankfully came to direct conflict.

I do see a possibility that a young and internationally aware generation in Iran can offer the best hope for the defeat of Shia extremism.

However I realise that this is not a foregone conclusion. Alongside any attempts to bring change from within there must exist the means and resolve to use force when all else fails.

As always force should always be a last resort but be an available option.

As a reminder of times when extremism was defeated from within I will post a Youtube clip of Romania in 1989.

Thank you again for your comments Joanie. I know we aim for similar goals on this.