Gwynne Dwyer Is Unclear On The Concept

Gwynne Dwyer, a reporter-without-portfolio living in the UK, shows that he learned foreign policy the same place everyone on the left seems to have learned it.

His thesis, after quoting an American officer who noted that American rules of engagement would have allowed our sailors and Marines to have fought back:

Just as well that it was a British boarding team, then. The 15 British sailors and marines who were captured and taken to Tehran for “questioning” last week are undoubtedly having an unpleasant time, but they are alive, and Britain is only involved in two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. If it had been one of Erik Horner’s boarding teams, they would all be dead, and the United States and Iran would now be at war…So there they are, eight sailors and seven marines in two rubber boats, with personal weapons and no protection whatever, sitting about a foot above the water, surrounded by six or seven Iranian attack boats with mounted machine guns. “Defend yourself” by opening fire, and after a single long burst from half a dozen heavy machine-guns there will be 14 dead young men and one dead young woman in two rapidly sinking inflatables, and your country will be at war. Seems a bit pointless, really.

By itself?  Of course.

But the real lesson is much larger.

28 years ago, when the world was accustomed to the US acting impotently, the Iranians had no qualms about taking Americans hostage, and making political hay out of it.

We taught them that lesson twenty years ago, when they tried to close the Straits of Hormuz with boats not unlike the ones that captured the Brit sailors.  The Navy showed up.  Boats started getting blown up.  An Iranian minesweeper “accidentally” got burned to the waterline (it was made of wood, to help defend against magnetic mines) by a flare launched from a passing American submarine.
The lesson – the one Dwyer misses completely – was learned a while ago;  Today?  When the Iranians wanted to make political hay with hostages, they knew better than to grab Yanks.

Our sailors were not faced with the decision to surrender or die this week, because the US long ago made the decision to face Iranian aggression with resolve.

UPDATE: Elder is right.  Blah.

7 thoughts on “Gwynne Dwyer Is Unclear On The Concept

  1. That’s a man baby! Pretty sure that you’re talking about the same Gwynne Dwyer who had a book and public television series called “War” in the late ’80s.

  2. I think Chad The Elder forgot this:


    Don’t forget the punchline with the ‘that’s a man, baby!’ joke.


  3. He’s an idiot. He left out a few things. I. The Navy wouldnt have let those Iranian gunships get that close to the bording party. 2. It wouldnt have been just a few sailors in a boat with m-16’s. It would have been our gun boats and a few overflights against the Iranians. Who do you suppose is better at naval warfare? Us or them? 3. I remember blowing a couple of Libyan fighters out of the air AND sending a few cruise missiles downtown during the 80’s. Don’t remember that turning into a full blown war either. If this had happened to us, it would have ended with several sunken Iranian boats and that would have been the end of it. Besides, ol dumbass apparently doesnt realize that while we are not at war with Iran, Iran is at war with us. What are they going to do, send people to Iran to kill or help kill our soldiers. They already do that.

  4. Mitch:

    I don’t think Operation Praying Mantis, if that is what you are referring to, had anything to do with anyone trying to take hostages. Iran used mines to close the Strait and stop Iraq from exporting Oil. After one of the mines almost sank a U.S. destroyer, we intervened to help Iraq by attacking some Iranian oil platforms. They tried to attack our ships and got hit hard. It did not have any thing to do with hostages. It did teach Iran that the U.S. would use military power to support Saddam Hussein.

    As for “An Iranian minesweeper “accidentally” got burned to the waterline. . . by a flare launched from a passing American submarine”, you got a reference for that?

  5. Didn’t say it had anything to do with hostages.

    The minesweeper incident: read it in “Aviation Week” in 1986, had it confirmed by a co-worker who’d been a sonarman on the USS Glenard P. Lipscomb, the submarine during the incident, as well as another friend who served in the Navy in the Gulf after that.

    Can’t find a link to the story. Oh, well. I must be making it all up, I guess.

  6. Now that I think about the last time Iran was involved with U.S. hostages, Ronald Reagan sold them a bunch of TOW anti-tank missiles. Glad they didn’t get the wrong idea from him.

  7. But that was to counter the idea that US was on Saddam’s side! Geez, get your story straight, willya?

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