RANGER AGAINST WAR: Unwilling to Commit <

Monday, March 26, 2007

Unwilling to Commit

There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or out.
There's no such thing as a life in-between

--Coach Pat Riley

And of course, it is that legal nether region which we have been inhabiting these past five years. Fence riding is a painful past time, and one wonders how long America will remain in the fog of ambiguity.

The
New York Times reported this week that 15 Britons were captured by the Iranians off their waters. Later, the article reports they were arrested.

Interesting verbiage. When coalition forces get their hands on Iranians, we then
detain them. Since the U.S. military cannot arrest foreign nationals, or even U.S. citizens for that matter, then what is left? Either we capture them, or we detain them.

If there were a quaint document like, say, the Geneva Convention, in effect, then there would be no vacillation; it would be
capture. Unfortunately, the word "capture" implies a legitimacy that we are unwilling to confer upon our adversaries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, "The charge against them is illegal entrance into Iranian waters," in Persian through a translator at a news conference in New York on Sunday. "In terms of legal issues, it's under investigation."

Whatever the legitimacy or outcome, there is something refreshing about criminal charges being leveled in a timely manner against an alleged transgression.

It seems the U.S. press and military have conspired to use their terms willy-nilly. Detainee is a non-committal, catch-all phrase, which can adhere to the hapless detained one in perpetuity, it would seem. If only our administration would allow our courts and military to be as surgically precise as our bombs are.

Additional thoughts:

If I were the Iranians, I'd hold the British subjects until retired Iranian General
Ali Reza Asgari, kidnapped last month in Turkey, was returned. The Iranians claim negotiation is not their intent, and thus far they have not suggested a swap.

We in the U.S. think it's cute to kidnap, render and put people in secret prisons, yet we get our shorts in a wad when the Iranians do so in a rather above-board manner.

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