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05 April 2007


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The propaganda victory for Iran is the illustration that they treat their prisoners better than we treat ours.

W. Patrick Lang


My god! You really are reaching for a chance to condemn the US. pl


Are we conflating Al-Qa?eda with Iran?

Iran should not be our enemy. It is the ZionCon's enemy. Their reign hopefully should be coming to an end.

Iran is our natural ally against the Taliban and Al-Qae?da. Also our natural ally in stabilizing a Shiite Irak.

But you may as well go try to tell it on the mountain as to preach to the ZionCons.

W. Patrick Lang


The takfiri jihadis and Iran are competing for leadership in the Islamic World. If you think the Iranians do not think of us as adversaries,you are mistaken. pl



The Iranians also can claim they got their diplomat back. That in itself is a propoganda victory.

Of course everyone denies a deal was made and of course everyone denies knowing who was holding the diplomat in the first place, but the timing of these events makes it appear the US government maintains its own Iraqi militia and uses it to kidnap and kill political opponents outside the rule of law.

These incidents have made the US look vulnerable and unethical.


With the utmost repsect Colonel, I think you are thinking as an American and not a Middle Easterner. This was a good peice of propoganda for the Iranians but its a much bigger story to the West than it is in the Middle East. Capturing a bunch of young, ill protected sailors, in a non-combat operation hardly makes the Iranians heroes in the Islamic world and doesnt have nearly the same "value" as say the capture of Israeli soldiers by HA. In fact, in the Arab world, where people were telling me from day one that the sailors would not be held longer than 2 weeks, this incident is considered a source of mirth in that it embarassed Blair. I know of no one who has interpreted as a sign of weakness or cowardice because it is known that the British do not have the gung-ho mentality of US troops and therefore their "surrender" is just what was expected. It would be different if they were Americans as they would have been expected to put up a fight.

Whether the wahabis or some of those you term "jihadis" are affected by this incident I can't say but then again their state of mind is hardly discernible even to us Arabs.

W. Patrick Lang


You are absolutely right. I am concerned about this incident and its effects from an American point of view. I am an American. pl


Agreed sir, but the catalyst and respondents are not. Of course you are concerened, as an American, for American soldiers; But the effects they may or may not suffer will be from non-Americans and therefore the first priority to protect the soldiers will be to think how those non-Americans think...(if that makes any sense)


It seems that nothing short of a group suicide would prove to the militarist wing of the western world that the UK sailors were anything but moral cowards.

Of course, the militarist wing of the west also finds the Islamic suicide/warrior ethic so distasteful.

Quite the dilemma.




I don't need to reach any further than Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, habeas corpus, and waterboarding.

I weep for the U.S.



I believe you hit the nail on the head with this:
"Every takfiri and jihadi in the world, whether actual or potential will take note and his or her behavior will be influenced by this message."

I believe they were the true target of this operation. Not a good sign for the U.S.


It appears that a deal was made for the Iranian diplomat. Rather than indicating any new flexibility on the side of the Iranians, it appears to be a sign of new flexibility on the US side.

It does not appear that the Iranians have anything to gain by remaining our "adversary" and that we would be well advised to normalize relations with them and drop the axis of evil line.

They could provide a counter to Sunni extremism and provide us the entry into central asian resources that we have long wanted, while at the same time limiting such access to the Chinese and Russians.

Bob Gaines

Colonel - With respect (and I mean that very sincerely), which America are you identifying with when you say that "I am concerned about this incident and its effects from an American point of view. I am an American."?

Is it the America that along with Britain fomented a coup in Iran in 1953? The America that has meddled in the ME for 60 years to insure reliable oil supplies? The America that professes democracy but coddles or ignores undemocratic and brutal regimes so long as they toe the American line? The America that recklessly invades a neighbor of Iran?

That's not my America, and that's not the America I volunteered to serve. It has appeared to me from reading your comments over the past year that it's not yours either.

As you say, it's no surprise the Iranians think of Americans as adversaries. I imagine if I were an Iranian I'd hate and fear Americans also.

If you agree that we may sometimes have been acting contrary to our own best interests regarding Iran over the last 50 years, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how the US might now act to alter the Iranian perception of the US as their adversary.


Pat, Don't you think that
Ahmadinejad was playing to his home audience?

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

My understanding was that US had lost the propoganda/information war some time back in 2004. I fail to see how this incident could chanage the scalesmuch one way or another.



Cherries are always kids unless they survive and get a 1000 yard stare that adds a century to their age. The British Marines are still kids.

The Bush Administration is using the propaganda and extraordinary rendition of a total war yet is fighting a gold standard colonial war. What the Arabs think doesn't really matter if the USA was going to conquer the Middle East. All it would take is the draft, raising taxes and permanent western settlements beyond Israel. It doesn't matter what the Arabs think as long as the USA occupies Iraq and Afghanistan. Their young will fight the infidel invaders to the end of time. What Arabs think of Americans matters once the USA ends its occupations and tries to contain radical Islam within its natural boundaries.

Peter Principle

Col. Lang: "My god! You really are reaching for a chance to condemn the US."

Reaching, yes. But isn't this exactly what Colin Powell (and others with even greater credibilty) warned would happen if the US openly flouted the Geneva Conventions?


I agree with Mo that the parsing the effect on the intended audience (Iranians, Arabs and Muslims) is more significant, but the Iranians were not unaware of how it would be read by the Great Powers and others responses. I would argue furter that they in fact relied on responses like the colonel's, as it only added to the embarassment of the event.

I would disagree with the "mirth" reaction, somewhat (he is right about the HA snatch and grab). To be sure, the enormous grin on Ahmadinajad's face suggests the Iranians were enjoying every moment of it, but I saw this little bit of theater as a direct counterpoint to the Arab summit. Mirth is King Abdullah calling the US presence an Iraq an "illegitimate foreign occupation." In relative terms, Iran is weak and thus it must savour these opportunities to the fullest as they dont come often. In the larger sense, it is trivial, but it works to Iran's benefit in that every little boost to its popularity on the Arab street makes it more difficult for US allies in the region to sign on to a US-led attack. Death to America gets a little stale, but bringing Blair to incoherence while not difficult is not an opportunity to be missed. The equally trivial "Holocaust conference" observed the same physics, and the Iranians know all to well when their enemies will take the bait and embarass themselves. Small ball, I think I would like to call it on this particular week.
I am not convinced that the "jihadis" care either way. That both the "jihadis" and the Iranians employ Islamic rhetoric speaks more to their shared environments and shared limitations than any mutual admiration/inspiration society.


It's about face.
Iran: 1
Coalition: 0

JT Davis

I don't comment often, but this is why the good Colonel's blog is a must read. Equal parts of gunpowder, whiskey and vinegar but nary a drop of kool-aid of any flavor.


"if I were an Iranian I'd hate and fear Americans also"

Does the average Iranian "hate and fear" Americans ?

I would not conflate Iranians with the mullah elite that rules over them. Ahmadinejad did not exactly roll into office on a landslide.

W. Patrick Lang


I for one do not reject their warrior ethos any more than I have rejected the ethos of any of the poeople I have fought. That did/does not make them any less an enemy. pl

W. Patrick Lang


Military service implies a willingness to die in performance of duty. pl

W. Patrick Lang

lina et al

You know that I have and do reject and detest these things. pl

W. Patrick Lang


I absolutely agree that we should regularize our relations with Iran but they have two competing priorities. One has to do with their state interests. the other has to do with their desire to lead the Islamic World. In that priority, they seek to discredit and belittle the West. This incident contributed to that goal greatly and the result is likely to be very dangerous for all the peoples because the Iranians or others may well miscalculate our strength and resolve as the Libyans did long ago. pl

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