Sunday, March 25, 2007

How to Insult Your Allies

We all remember when Bush forgot to mention Canada as one of the US's good friends in his SOTU speech...and when Rumsfeld gleefully used the phrase "Old Europe". And who doesn't have the term "freedom fries" scorched in their brain forever?

Well, there's nothing like calling the British military wimps to really make you the popular kid on the block:

A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on the Iranian Republican Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.

In a dramatic illustration of the different postures adopted by British and US forces working together in Iraq, Lt-Cdr Erik Horner - who has been working alongside the task force to which the 15 captured Britons belonged - said he was "surprised" the British marines and sailors had not been more aggressive.

Asked by The Independent whether the men under his command would have fired on the Iranians, he said: "Agreed. Yes. I don't want to second-guess the British after the fact but our rules of engagement allow a little more latitude. Our boarding team's training is a little bit more towards self-preservation."

The executive officer - second-in-command on USS Underwood, the frigate working in the British-controlled task force with HMS Cornwall - said: "The unique US Navy rules of engagement say we not only have a right to self-defence but also an obligation to self-defence. They [the British] had every right in my mind and every justification to defend themselves rather than allow themselves to be taken. Our reaction was, 'Why didn't your guys defend themselves?'"

And, as if that wasn't bad enough, the Brits are apparently taking the fall for a huge diplomatic blunder made by the yanks in Iraq:

His comments came as it was reported British intelligence had been warned by the CIA that Iran would seek revenge for the detention of five suspected Iranian intelligence officers in Iraq two months ago but refused to raise threat levels in line with their US counterparts.

Nevertheless, the Brits will gladly take the heat, apparently:

The capture of the eight sailors and seven marines - including one young mother - will undoubtedly renew accusations that Britain's determination to maintain a friendly face in the region has left its troops frequently under protected.

Even though...

Vastly outnumbered and out-gunned, the Royal Navy team from HMS Cornwall were seized on Friday after completing a UN-authorised inspection of a merchant dhow in what they insist were clearly Iraqi waters. The Iranian Republican Guard Corps Navy appeared in half a dozen attack speedboats mounted with machine guns..

On top of that, the Brits are obviously tea-sipping pacifists:

Yesterday, the former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Alan West, said British rules of engagement were "very much de-escalatory, because we don't want wars starting ... Rather than roaring into action and sinking everything in sight we try to step back and that, of course, is why our chaps were, in effect, able to be captured and taken away."

I mean, really. With a title like "First Sea Lord", you know they were just asking for trouble.

Obviously, they don't show Rambo enough in Britain.

Dreadful pity.

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