Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Are we insane?

The issue of the 15 British Sailors kidnapped by the Iranian Government is puzzling to me to say the least. It is, no doubt, an act of war. Why the British Navy didn't pursue the hostage takers into Iranian waters to rescue their Sailors is not clear. Why they haven't lowered a heavy military consequence on Iran is also unclear. Diplomacy has its place but Iran has left no room for a diplomatic resolution to this unprovoked attack. It seems, however, as though the Brits are falling into that same overused, tired old trap of trying to appease a bunch of mullahs, hoping that rational negotiation might eventually follow an irrational action backed by irrational policy enacted by an irrational government, led by several irrational men. What am I missing?

For the sake of argument, if this did happen in Iraqi territorial waters as the British Navy says, it shouldn't be too hard to prove. Every vessel in every modern Navy in the world is tracked by GPS, even the small RHIB's (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) that these Sailors were using when they were abducted. In addition to this fact, every large merchant vessel uses this technology as well. If the RHIB's were traveling between the known location of a warship and the known location of a merchant vessel, then there can be no doubt as to their exact location at the time of their abduction.

If, however, this all happened in Iranian territorial waters as they claim, (no suprise) then Iran has still commited an act of war by departing from the long practiced and well accepted standards of nearly every nation by siezing and escorting into, rather than intercepting and escorting out of any territory, other than land, that they claim to be sovereign, those members of a foreign military who have either strayed or even purposely ventured into that area. When I was in the U.S. Navy, prior to the end of the Cold War, it was well known and accepted that Soviet aircraft would regularly venture into our airspace. It was the policy of the United States to intercept that aircraft and escort them out of U.S. airspace.. The Soviets did this to test our defences and intercept time. We knew this and obliged them every single time. But it was recognized that it was better to flex our muscle and usher them out of our airspace than risk an international incident by shooting the aircraft down or not allowing them to exit our territory. The same regularly happened with ships and submarines of the Soviet Navy and rest assured that those bombers, warships and submarines posed a much greater threat to our security than these two small rafts did to Iran.

Yet we continue to dance around with a dictatorial regime of madmen and religious zealots who, aside from thumbing their nose at the UN and thus at diplomacy itself, by continuing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, repeatedly use inflammatory, war-like and confrontational rhetoric such as "wiping Israel from the face of the map." We continue to offer appeasement, concessions and diplomacy to a government who responds to such actions by kidnapping members of, arguably, one of the most powerful and technologically advanced militaries on the planet! If they're willing to pick a fight with the United Kingdom, do we doubt for a second that they fear doing the same with Israel or the United States?

Iran has obviously decided that diplomacy has run its course and that it is time for action. Perhaps, so should the UK and US. Or we can keep trying to reason with the unreasonable. It hasn't worked yet, why should it ever?

Albert Einstein defined INSANITY quite poignantly as follows: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
So it begs the question...Are we insane to continue negotiations with Iran or should we seek a different, albeit Military, resolution?