Apr 9, 2007

Kidnapping as a career move

The 15 British sailors and marines kidnapped last month by Iran have been given special permission to sell their stories.
MoD officials claimed that the move to lift the ban on military personnel selling their stories while in service was justified because of the “exceptional circumstances” of the case. The hostages are expected to earn as much as £250,000 between them.

The story of Faye Turney, 26, the only female among them, is expected to be the most lucrative. She could profit by as much as £150,000 from a joint deal with a newspaper and ITV.

The MoD bracketed the hostages’ 13-day captivity in Iran — including appearances on state television by some to admit straying into Iranian waters — with winners of the Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest honor.
As the VC is awarded for acts of valour "in the face of the enemy", it has been suggested by some that the changing nature of warfare will result in fewer VCs being awarded. Only one in ten VC recipients in the 20th century is said to have survived the action for which they received the VC. Following the death of Captain Umrao Singh, the last surviving Indian holder of the VC, in November 2005 there are currently only twelve surviving holders of the VC – six British, two Australians, and four Gurkhas – eight of them for exploits during the Second World War.

Many Britons are disgusted.
Lasting damage has been done to Britain's reputation, never mind that of the RN and Royal Marines.

And the utterances of the Defence Secretary ("They acted with great dignity throughout."), Chief of Defence Staff ("They did exactly as they should have done...we are proud of them.") and First Sea Lord ("considerable dignity and a lot of courage") are beginning to explain why the 15 acted the way they did and seem somewhat bemused by the justified outcry.

It's one thing to stand by your subordinates but these talking points smack of a whitewash.

Servicemen and women should be held to a higher standard than civilians, though listening to the six of the 15 who spoke on their return it was hard to believe these were military personnel.

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