Friday, January 15, 2016

Why Did Our Sailors Bend Their Knees to Iran in the First Place?

By now, most news-watchers around the world have seen the video clips or screen grabs of the surrender of 10 U.S. sailors to Iran’s armed revolutionary guard, as well as the subsequent televised apology of the American identified by Tehran’s Press TV as the commander of the group.

But little has been said about the sailors’ actions as they pertain to the Code of the U.S. Fighting Force. That’s the doctrine that requires all members of U.S. military forces to take whatever steps necessary to oppose captors -- to uphold, as it reads, the “Code of Conduct, which has evolved from the heroic lives, experiences and deeds of Americans from Revolutionary War to the Southeast Asian Conflict.”

Frankly speaking, members of the U.S. military shouldn’t be taking knees before their captors – shouldn’t be leaning back with smiles against the walls of their places of capture – shouldn’t be sitting in placid defeatism with forced hijabs or other un-American military garb upon their heads. And they definitely shouldn’t be doing it while video cameras roll.

It’s not just U.S. code that requires U.S. military forces, if captured, to “resist by all means available.” It’s not just U.S. code that states “when questioned” by captors, to give only “name, rank, service number and date of birth” and to “evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability,” including making “oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.”

It’s America’s spirit that ought to compel the same.

Seeing members of the United States military, the greatest fighting force on the face of the Earth, in a state of submission, defeat and humility before armed rag-tags is a disgusting commentary on the sickened spirit of our country. What happened to the notion of never surrender? What happened to the surprised wakening of the sleeping giant?

Where are the George Pattons of our generation?

Surrender has no place in America’s military – whether speaking of declared war or tool of propaganda. Americans. Don’t. Surrender.

Gen. Jack Keane, the retired four-star general of the U.S. Army and former Vice Chief of Staff for the Army, hinted during a Fox News broadcast interview the sailors’ behavior and response to Iran’s aggression was going to be part of the ensuing investigation. He said, in broadcast remarks: “[The apology was] not an apology from the United States government, that’s an apology from the youngster who’s trying to protect his crew, and his behavior will be held accountable for in any investigation to determine whether that was justified or not.”

Good. An investigation into the whole fiasco, from Iran’s possible failures to uphold international laws to the U.S. sailors’ actions while in custody, is certainly warranted. But really, any investigation that doesn’t focus on the actions of the White House under President Obama these past years will prove second-rate. If Obama wasn’t such a weak leader, if Obama didn’t hold Iran as morally and politically equivalent to Israel, if Obama hadn’t insisted on an nuclear deal with Tehran that much of the rest of the world saw as a dangerous cave – those U.S. sailors never would have been put in the position of taking knees before representatives of the regime.

No U.S. sailor apology would have followed.

The weakness and ineffectiveness of Obama emboldened Iran to take these sailors captive. And now these sailors’ actions, whether in line with military code and the spirit of America or not – and the video, sadly, would seem to suggest “not” -- are still only further evidence of the lacking respect the United States has experienced under its feckless commander-in-chief. It’s Obama who deserves the most scrutiny, and the harshest judgment.

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