Why Brit soldiers should exaggerate

There’s a post here by Cyrus F. posing this question at the end:

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman claims these are “staged” statements. But what would the marines lose? Would they face an uncertain period of time apart from their families and loved ones? Would the costs of telling the truth be so high for them that not even one would confirm his or her statements made in Iran? Does the Iranian spokesman really expect the sane people of the free world to believe him instead of 15 free men and women?

It’s a fair question. I do think that the British servicemen/woman who were captured by Iran where under some sort of pressure to make the kind of statements they did, particularly Turney’s 2nd and 3rd letters.

However, I also think that they should and probably did exaggerate their bad treatment by the Iranians. The reason is that criticism of their behavior has been pretty outrageous. Take this article for instance by a British conservative who thinks that the sailors’ confessions questioned, not only the cause of the war on Iraq and the Royal Navy, but the entire British culture.

An American general has gone as far as saying,

Well, they’re idiots, he [the sailor who apologized at length on Iran TV] and the other 14 are, have to be, because there’s no excuse for this kind of behavior.
I can tell you that they wouldn’t take me without firing a shot. I would take as many with me as I possibly could.
They weren’t in captivity more than 28 microseconds before they started … briefing, in front of a big map about where they were, and apologizing, and so on—absolutely despicable behavior, deplorable behavior.
They are going to have—and they should have—a lot to answer for when they finally get home.
They acquitted themselves horribly and dishonorably.

So these sailors and marines, who do need some sort of a future in their military/navy jobs can’t live with the embarrassment of what they did, unless they provide plenty and exaggerated accounts as to why they made such statements. (We all have sort of an idea how merciless the higher-ranks can be in the military environments, and we can see how seriously upset a part of the British public has become with how the Iranians showed the other face of ‘the lion’).

Now, why would these soldiers/marines, who were obviously not physically-tortured or held captive for more than a few days, sell their pride and cooperate to that extent with their captors?

Here’s what I think: they just realized how the ‘brutal enemy’ treated them reasonably well, compared that with how their bosses treat the enemy’s captives and doubted their cause even more than before.

What’s the merit in standing for a cause that has no value, for a bunch of lies, for a group of greedy, power-hungry thieves at the expense of one’s own life and some other poor folks’ future?

This is the question a lot of these soldiers might be asking themselves at one point or another, and that’s why they could never fight like Iranians did against Iraq or the Vietnamese did against the U.S.

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8 responses to “Why Brit soldiers should exaggerate

  1. Q:
    How do you know when Iranian politicians are lying?
    A:
    When their lips are moving.

  2. Just take that, Doug! One – really just one! – picture of another world … it’s the world according to the “Exporters of democracy” and notorious “Truth-tellers” … btw. up to nausea. It’s your world, not ours, we just have to suffer from it.

  3. And here some more stuff on how freedom and democrazy from YOUR world is tried to be exported tu us and to “the rest” of the world:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20070323&articleId=5165

  4. The reference in my post about telling the truth was not to the treatment the marines received but the story of their captivity and where they were, etc. I don’t think your theory applies here. Moreover, there is an inherent inconsistency in your theory:

    You write

    Now, why would these soldiers/marines, who were obviously not physically-tortured or held captive for more than a few days, sell their pride and cooperate to that extent with their captors?

    Here’s what I think: they just realized how the ‘brutal enemy’ treated them reasonably well, compared that with how their bosses treat the enemy’s captives and doubted their cause even more than before.

    But this is diametrically opposed to the fisrt part of your theory, i.e. that the marines are exaggerating because they need their jobs, etc. They are either demoralized and don’t believe in their cause or they want their jobs — not both together.

  5. Cyrus,

    1. You are assuming that if you have a job, you have got to believe in the cause that justifies your job. That assumption is not necessarily true. So my argument still holds.

    2. Let’s say they no longer want their jobs. Let’s say that they will retire given the first chance to do so. Do they not want to live in the British society where a large part of the population would consider their acts in captivity “shameless”?

    What would be the way out? Saying that the conditions were so difficult that maximum cooperation with the captors was the only way to survive, even though the reality might be different.

  6. But why should they not just say they don’t believe in their cause any more? That would also be a lot less shameful, and honest, too, if it is true. If this is the reason they said what they did in Iran while captive, there is nothing to lose to say so now.

  7. So:

    1. That is an unjustified statement. Why do you envoke the “don’t believe in their cause” theory just in Iran, and just for their interviews? Again, if true it must have far more important consequences than that for their actual way of life in freedom. It doesn’t seem to me to hold any water.

    2. Again that is an ad hoc “way out”. See my last comment.

  8. It’s a theory, however it relies on certain events not happening which obviously did. It’s not so easy to discount first hand evidence of the witness and replace it with tertiary (at best) speculation.

    As for Persian ‘hospitality’, one wonders truly when this became synomyous with the goals of the Propaganda & Culture wing of the goverment?

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