Thursday, April 12, 2007

Britain finds its balls...well their mouth at least

At last, John Bull is starting to show up - at least in the unwashed masses. Like a good Chief once told me, "Sir, shame and fear are great motivators. I find shame to be a good opener..."
Seaman Batchelor's claim that he cried himself to sleep after his Iranian captors likened him to the comedy character Mr Bean made him a laughing stock.

One serving soldier posted: "Batchelor didn't do the reputation of servicemen much good either! Being broken by being called Mr Bean FFS! - that must be on a par with Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition and the comfy cushions."

Comments left on unofficial forces' websites, the Rum Ration and the British Army Rumour Service laid into Ms Turney and Mr Batchelor.

Another servicemen says of Mr Batchelor's complaint that his iPod was stolen by the Iranians: "What I wish to know is why a young lad on a boarding party detail needed to take his iPod? If he listened to The Ride of the Valkyries as he sped towards the target ship, what did he listen to on his trip to Iran?"

In response others on Rum Ration suggest: "Crying by Don McLean, perhaps?, The Beat Surrender, Always Look On The Bright Side Of life? and Onward Christian Soldiers."

Another contributor said of Ms Turney, who sold her story to the Sun: "Made me squirm when she said 'President of Iran gave me a toy doll for my daughter and am keeping it after the bomb disposal experts cleared it'.

"Believe me dear, the Iranians don't need to get any more publicity from blowing up you or anyone else ... you're providing all the publicity for them for free."

Another angry contributor wrote: "They should be expelled from the Armed Forces. Maybe HMS Cornwall could make a series like The Loveboat or be used for Big Brother? The Royal Navy seems intent on becoming a complete laughing-stock."

In his latest interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Batchelor, the youngest of the 15 sailors, said he saw the money as small compensation and complained he could not afford to buy a car.

"I'm really hurt by all the criticism. People think I'm some kind of millionaire now, dining out on lobster and champagne - but I'm not. The money I've received will simply pay for a few driving lessons. I'm not sure it will cover the cost of an actual test, let alone a car.

"I see the payment more as compensation for spending the time telling the story to reporters when I should have been out with my family and friends. But it was important that the world heard about what I went through."

Ms Turney received an estimated £60,000 for selling the story of her time as a captive to The Sun and Tonight With Trevor MacDonald.

A poll on the Rum Ration website has 92 per cent of members agreeing that Mr Batchelor was "wrong to sell his story". Warmonger posts: "Let's face it irrespective of wherever she (Turney) goes this will hang around her neck like the proverbial albatross for a long time yet to come! Jade Goody would hand back her BB contestant fee for the chance to have her time in the house again.

"The Iranians might be a bunch of s****, but they seem much better at handling the propaganda machine. If the fuss gets any more intense they'll probably wish they were back in their cells."

BTDT posts on the Army Rumour Service: "I see no reason why they should not be allowed to sell their stories. I do, however, believe that they should be required to leave the service first."
Talk is cheap though. You lead from the front or rot from the head. You know who the guy in the upper right is? First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, who had this to say,
...he believed they had behaved with "considerable dignity and a lot of courage" during their time in Iranian hands.
"Clearly, whenever things go wrong - and certainly this is not an incident we at all wanted - we will review everything that we normally do," he said. "Was the intelligence correct? We will look at the equipment, we will look at the procedures, we will look at all the things that happened. We certainly wouldn't want this to happen again."

He confirmed that the review would also look at the rules of engagement for UK forces operating in the area, but he rejected suggestions that the crews could have fought back against their captors.

"It is quite clear to me, in the context of the operation that morning, with the force that was shown against them, they made exactly the right decision. I stand by what they did. This was not open combat. This was not an attack on a street. This was doing absolutely legal boarding operations in a legal part of the world where they were illegally acted upon.

"When you are in that situation as Servicemen, you have a situation in front of you, you have rules of engagement, and then you have to make a judgment with respect to the danger of your life of what you do. From what we think we know - and obviously this will be confirmed in the debriefing - I think they acted extremely sensibly."
Lawfare strikes again. I didn't see a thing about leadership - did you?

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