I'm astonished that some people seem intent on portraying the release of the British sailors and marines by the mad Iranian as a victory for the civilized world. It is anything but. While I'm glad the 14 men and 1 woman were released, their conduct, both during their capture and during their captivity, reveals a grim decline in the fighting spirit of a once-great nation.
"Let me be absolutely clear, from the outset it was very apparent that fighting back was simply not an option. Had we chosen to do so, then many of us would not be standing here today," Marine Capt. Chris Air said. (News story from LATimes.com, emphasis added)
I've tried to process this statement in the context of American history, and for some reason, it doesn't quite scan:
Patrick Henry, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me slavery, because fighting back is simply not an option."
John Paul Jones, "I have not yet begun to surrender, but I'm about to--fighting back is simply not an option."
Thomas Jefferson, "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to separate themselves from another, they'll just have to suck it up, because fighting back is not an option."
William Travis, "A large number of the enemy is in sight. As soon as they reach the Alamo, we will turn it over to them, as fighting back is simply not an option."
U. S. Grant, "I intend to just stand here outside Richmond all summer, because fighting is simply not an option."
Anthony McAuliffe, (101st Airborne commander at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge) "We surrender. After all, I'd hate to get home without all my men. You've got us outnumbered and outgunned, and fighting back is simply not an option."
McAuliffe's actual reply to the German demand for his surrender in its entirety was, "NUTS!" That is the American ethos...the reason we have been victorious in so many seemingly hopeless battles. Yes, when we have fought, heroes bled and died. Yes, when we have fought, precious lives have been lost. Yes, when we have fought, a terrible price has been paid. But the cost of not fighting is far greater in the long run.
I hope and pray that the American spirit is never replaced with this new cowardly British version. And I hope and pray that British cowardice does not exact its toll on our men and women--either in Iraq or here on our own shores.