The British government responded by criticizing the treatment of the sailors and marines, with Prime Minister Tony Blair saying Iran faces "increasing isolation" for refusing to release the service personnel. The video showed three UK personnel seated in front of a floral backdrop, with one of them later appearing on camera to read a confession to what Tehran claims was their illegal entry into Iranian territory a week ago.
"I deeply apologize for entering your waters," said the serviceman, identified as Nathan Thomas Summers of Hayle in Cornwall, southwest England. On the 23rd of March 2007 in Iranian waters we trespassed without permission," he said looking at someone or something off camera.
"I'd like to apologize for entering your waters without any permission. I know it happened back in 2004 and I know our government promised that it wouldn't happen again. Again I do apologize for entering your waters." Summers added: "Since we've been arrested in Iran our treatment has been very friendly, we have not been harmed at all. They've looked after us really well. Basically the food they've been serving us has been good and I'm grateful no harm has come to us."Blair, speaking to reporters a couple of hours after the video was aired, said: "All this does is enhance people's sense of disgust. Captured personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way doesn't fool anyone. What the Iranians have to realize is that if they continue in this way they will face continuing isolation."
Blair called for "patience" in dealing with the crisis, adding: "They most important thing is to ensure people are returned safe."
Earlier Friday, Britain's Foreign Office responded to the video, telling CNN that "using our servicemen in this way for propaganda reasons is outrageous."
Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers on Friday demanded Iran release 15 Britons, though some warned against escalating the dispute and said their diplomatic ties with Tehran would not be immediately affected, The Associated Press reported. Friday's video was the second so-called confession by a British detainee to be aired by Al Alam this week.
Let's clear the air here. It stinks. First of all, British naval command has vigorously rejected the Iranian accusation that these sailors, who were sitting ducks while practicing ceremonial procedures of embarking and disembarking from several types of floating devices, were anywhere near Iranian waters. Secondly, the captured personnel are active servicemen, and as such were well aware that their jobs involved risking their lives.
In my opinion, in times of war, rather than mouth these scripted responses and allow themselves to be televised prostrate and humbled, these servicemen should tear a page out of the history books of their contemporary allies, the early American patriot, Nathan Hale, who legend has it, when facing the British gallows for his revolutionary ways, uttered simply, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." There have been attempts to discredit this bit of American lore as apocraphal, and perhaps it is, but in times of war, death in the service of one's nation is always a considered possibility.Why not now? Why not stand up for what one believes instead of cowering before the evil regimes as they work their own propaganda machine to its maximum potential. We see global jihadists everywhere sacrificing their own lives to murder innocents. Why can't the West energize a few good men and women trained well enough to neutralize and even turn the psychological war tactic of vicious thugs wrecking havoc all over the region, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon jump immediately to mind, into a victory against this sworn enemy?
Why not now? The fact that this serviceman's name is "Nathan" from "Hayle" is purely coincidental to this plea for strength among our servicemen and women.
I know, just following orders. This is after all, a kindler gentler American military. Even Patton once quipped to the effect, "I want you to remember, that no poor dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other poor dumb bastard die for his..."
But this wimpy wet rag that the West has turned into is a bit embarrassing, even for someone who fears the worst is yet to come.