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Were the snatched Brit sailors in 'disputed waters'?

Renewed Iran matelot-napping brouhaha dissected

Should, perhaps, the Royal Navy seriously reconsider its foolish belief that frigates and destroyers like HMS Cornwall, which by their nature can only provide this kind of feeble presence, are in any way appropriate for this type of work?

Certainly it should - though actually it is still buying such ships at outrageous, unjustifiable prices. The Royal Navy will certainly fail to learn any serious lessons from all this.

Should the boarding team, even having been placed in this idiotic position, have fought and died rather than submitted so easily?

As a former Royal Navy officer, with pride in the service, I instinctively say yes. I don't know if I'd have had the guts to start shooting if it was me there, knowing I'd almost surely die and most of my people with me, but I hope I would. Better for the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines - as distinct from the UK - to go down fighting, and take as many Iranians with me as I could. I'd have particularly hoped to get the Revolutionary Guard officer who walked up and shook my hand first, before having his men bring their guns up. And I'd have hoped that my CO on the Cornwall would have missiled or shelled any Guard gunboat trying to get away after they'd finished me - though I wouldn't have been hugely sanguine about that.

As a British citizen and taxpayer, though, not actually wishing to be in an even worse diplomatic incident - or even a totally pointless shooting war - with Iran, I'm glad they didn't fight. Ultimately, they remembered that they work for us all, not for the government or the service or their own personal honour. They're better officers, more self-disciplined, than I was. And they brought all their people out of it alive. That isn't, actually, an officer's top priority - not one who hopes to win battles - but the only thing more important is doing the job. And the job in this case was not that of fighting Iran.

But, in the end, have the Guard got a leg to stand on here? Certainly not. They blatantly invaded Iraqi territory so as to kidnap some hostages for use in trades with the Americans (and rumour has it they achieved at least some of their aims). It was an illegal opportunistic raid, pure and simple.

Have the Times and the Guardian and the rest got a leg to stand on? After all, this is all technical stuff. Mere scribes can perhaps be excused for not undertanding the difference between low and high water etc.

No, they can't. Because it is all explained on this excellent webpage, and has been for a long time. This wasn't journalism, it was a politically-driven attack on the British government. ®

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