The Iranian government is unpopular with their own people. Iranian youth are pro-Western and resent the controlling hands of conservative Islam. The Imams political opposition is rising (with the help of people who know the color of the boathouse at Hereford). Helicopters have been shot down. Towns seized by rebels and drug traders. Kurds, supported by their kin in Iraq, are again rising.
The people of Iran (especially the Persians) are highly nationalistic, but they also remember the 1980 -1988 war with Iraq and the bloodshed it brought them. They question the wisdom of the nuclear weapons program that is isolating them internationally and draining their resources. They are worried about the coalition navies plying the "Persian Gulf". In spite of all their worries and fears, if attacked, they will rally to defend their country. The only hope for survival of the current regime, is to provoke a military response from a major western power.
Why did they choose the UK? Rules of Engagement. The tone of operations in Iraq has been different with each coalition partner. In and around Basra where the British forces have operated, they had a lighter hold of the reins. Where the Americans would shoot to kill, the Brits try to resolve the differences peacefully. With the Shiites in Basra, it worked. With Iranian Revolutionary Guards, it facilitated their hostage taking plans. Another reason why the UK forces were grabbed - They were there.
The Royal Navy and the US Navy are suffering from global micromanagement. The days are gone when the Captain of a warship was the Master and Commander - the most powerful ruler on the planet. Today's Admirals are mere Officers of the Deck. Realtime decisions are often made in Whitehall and Arlington.Comment Posted By Arch Arthur On 29.03.2007 @ 09:59
The US military won every battle in Vietnam. Not one unit surrendered. When, in 1972 in the midst of peace talks, the North Vietnamese invaded the South again, Nixon had us bomb the North. On 18 December, Le Duc To walked out in Paris, Nixon had us carpet bomb Hanoi and Haiphong with 100+ B52 sorties per night. On 29 December, Hanoi was in ruins and their air defenses expended. The North returned and negotiated a just peace. By any standard, that constituted a military victory. It cost the lives of 58,202 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
Democrats in control of Congress cut South Vietnamese aid from $1.4B to $700M - less than necessary to sustain a defense. In the FY 75 defense approriation bill, the Senate added the Case-Church amendment, prohibiting the US armed forces from interviening in North or South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.
850,000 of our South Vietnamese allies were "re-educated" to death. 150,000 boat people died trying to escape. In Cambodia, Pol Pot murdered 2,000,000 of his countrymen - a third of their population. These are the numbers, the scope, but not the story.
The story is Larry. He was a 23 year old 1Lt pilot. I was Capt and his weapons systems officer (WSO). That night I was working in the frag shop - breaking out the next day's mission orders until 1 AM. Larry was a scheduler, waiting for the missions, takeoff times, targets, ordnance. He asked me if I could fly in the morning; he was short of backseaters. I declined. Like him, I had been on duty since 5 AM the previous day and I was dead tired. When I woke up at 10 AM, I learned that Larry had put himself on the schedule and took an SA-2 hit over North Vietnam. He left a widow and a young son.
The story is Bob, a 28 year old WSO with a heart of gold. Driving through DaNang City in a pouring rainstorm, I almost ran over a puppy. Bob had me stop and dried to little guy off. None of the locals claimed ownership, so he took the dog in. One night we had a drunken party in the squadron bar. I staggered off to my BOQ, fell down, got up, I went the wrong way, opening Bob's door and stumbled onto his bed. Who the hell was in my bed, I thought as I threw the sleeping WSO onto the floor. Later, I woke up and realized I was in someone else's room. When I got to my room, Bob was sleeping in my rack. I threw him out again. Bob was shot down over Laos, captured by the North Vietnamese, casterated and executed with a pistol shot in the forehead.
To me, the story is about Larry, Bob and the other twelve members of my squadron and other friends whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial. As I touched their names at Gathering of Eagles, I hoped that I would not be joined by another generation of young service members whose war dead were just another prop in an election campaign.
As Dr. Sowell suggested, if our politicians going to cut and run to win an election or meet a campaign promise, let's do it now, before another Larry or Bob dies.Comment Posted By Arch Arthur On 29.03.2007 @ 16:30
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