Thursday, April 17, 2008

History Proves Bush And His Ilk Wrong Again!

TimesOnline (hat tip Raw Story) has an article which sheds new light on the circumstances that led to the capture of 15 British sailors by Iran last year.

According to documents obtained from the British Ministry of Defense, the sailors were captured in disputed waters. It is noteworthy, however, that the dispute on the demarcation of Iranian territory stemmed from the fact that "the coalition unilaterally designated a dividing line between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Gulf without telling Iran where it was". This might explain why Iranian forces had patrolled the waters in question an average of three times each week prior to the capture of the British sailors. On the ill-fated day in question it was the British who first pointed their weapons at the Iranians, before the Iranians came alongside.

So how does this report by the British Ministry of Defense jive with the contemporary narrative by the Bush administration and their domestic toadies? Well, here is a quote by President Bush from March 31, 2007:
The British hostage issue is serious because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water. It's inexcusable behavior.
The only way that quote can be squared with the truth is if Iraqi water means an arbitrary line which the Iranians have not been told about and which their forces regularly patrolled. America would be justifiably outraged if some nation half the world away were to arbitrarily change the boundary for American territorial waters unbeknownst to us and then affected belligerence and shock when we proceeded to secure the waters we did not realize had been secretly taken from our control. Would the sailors of that nation be rightfully labeled hostages in those circumstances as the President and his lackeys started labeling the British captives last year?

The reliable Bush toadies were in their full croaking glory throughout this crisis. One typical example is given by Charles Krauthammer who wrote a column decrying the final resolution:
Iran has pulled off a tidy little success with its seizure and release of those 15 British sailors and marines: a pointed humiliation of Britain, with a bonus demonstration of Iran's intention to push back against coalition challenges to its assets in Iraq. All with total impunity. Further, it exposed the impotence of all those transnational institutions -- most prominently the European Union and the United Nations -- that pretend to maintain international order.

You would think maintaining international order means, at least, challenging acts of piracy. No challenge here.
I know these right wing blowhards started with the pathological need to accept everything spoon fed to them by the Bush administration from the year 2000, but how long can they continue to repeatedly base their expert opinions on patent falsehoods? Knowing now what we weren't told then, it seems utterly absurd to term the actions taken by the Iranians as "piracy", unless patrolling waters which were regularly patrolled prior to the crisis and then detaining a vessel encroaching in those waters who pointed their weapons at the patrol is somehow piracy now. All of this after the American-led coalition redrew the international boundary without telling anyone. It seems to me that customary and widely accepted behavior by every nation with a shoreline is now piracy by the standards of Krauthammer.

Of course, when it comes to loyal Bushies we can not help but notice how the right wing blogosphere reacted to the crisis. The best word to describe the general outlook from those folks is outrage. For example Ed Morrissey blogging at Captains Quarters was emblematic of the right wing blogdiots when he bayed:
Will the British and the US take any action for this provocation? If the Iranians do not immediately release the sailors, the US should start taking similar action against Iranian ships entering Iraqi waters, and perhaps event start positioning for a blockade. Given the stressed nature of the Iranian economy, that will certainly get Iran's attention, as well as the notice of its citizens.
Let me just say "freakin' aye Captain," because we partially see eye to eye here. Iranian military ships entering Iraqi waters who point their weapons at British or American ships should be treated similarly to the way the British were treated. All that other silliness about blockading and ticking off the Iranian citizenry seems a bit over the top though, given what we now know to be the truth of the matter.

In a very tangible way, this points out how utterly horrible this administration really is. Yet I do not doubt that any other administration in our nation's history would have behaved in much the same way under similar circumstances. Those two statements can be concurrently true by asserting that when the truth came out regarding the conduct of any other administration in a similar circumstance, the story would have been given wide play in the press (with the exception of some other important story dominating the release of the British documents). But under the Bush administration we have grown accustomed to international blundering, official misconduct and overtly wrong headed policy. The combined effect is a veritable barrage of daily Bush administration news crud which flows together to drown out the individual stories, so that a revelation like the British/Iran documentation is largely ignored and forgotten.

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