British military struggling to cope?

The story surrounding the 15 British military personnel held captive by Iran and recently released just keeps getting more messed up: U.K. bans soldiers from media interview sales

I had been initially sympathetic to the captives because I suspected that their rules of engagement had prevented them from defending themselves and that the chain of command had likely failed them by not reacting quickly enough to avoid disaster.

But as the days went on and the stupid videos kept being released, I began to wonder what was really going on.

Now, in the aftermath of the prisoners’ release, it seems more and more clear that the whole situation is FUBAR and that the British military has suffered a terrible, terrible black eye.

Dunkirk it was not.

I have little doubt that the overwhelming majority of the British military is as good as ever, but is this cause for any concern?


  1. This is tough to comment on because you don’t want to seem cruel to your troops. However, designating people as heroes should be reserved for the actual troops that fit that description. This is the first time I have seen this happen to the British armed forces. However, incidents like this have been happening for a while. I think in 1999 a couple of soldiers got lost and were taken prisoner by the Serbs. Afterwards, they were given medals and other honors. Ditto for Jessica Lynch. I am glad the above were safely returned, but I don’t think their actions warranted the acclaim they received.

  2. I second what Spacey said, but also I am appalled by the rules of engagement that allowed them to be captured so easily. Of course, these rules are not unique to the British troops, they are pretty much the same as those the US uses. I mean, isn’t it obvious how you deal with these rules as an adversary? You appear to not pose a threat until you’re at point blank range and then you become a threat. What were these soldiers to do? They had absolutely no options. It’s not just they who are in that position, all the troops are in the same boat, so to speak. I think the reason those soldiers got all the medals and acclaim was an expression of guilt. We as a society bear the guilt of putting troops in harm’s way without providing them with the backing or authority to win. We put them in a situation where all they can do is lose, and then we feel bad for doing it, but ‘it’s the right thing to do’. That’s a bunch of crap! KILL ANYONE YOU PERCIEVE TO BE A THREAT. That is the only real rule of engagement any soldier should ever be given.