“Failure At Every Level:” The Report On The US Navy Sailors Captured By Iran Is Now Out
by Scott Faith
“Our actions on that day in January… did not live up to our expectations of our Navy.”
^Talk about an understatement.
The US Navy released a long-anticipated report today outlining the many failures that led to the January capture of two Navy boats and their crew members by Iran.
It was even worse than we expected.
The Navy boats and crews were seized after they inadvertently crossed into Iranian waters and one of them experienced a mechanical malfunction. The report reveals that the officers in charge initially didn’t react to Iranian patrol boats speeding towards them, in part because they had no idea they had strayed into Iranian waters.
Apparently, even after Iranian patrol boats surrounded the Americans and brandished their weapons the skippers felt they could “talk their way out of the situation.”
After being forced to relinquish their weapons, their electronics, their uniform tops, and rather inexplicably, their boots, the hapless sailors were subjected to further embarrassment. They were filmed and photoed in a variety of situations: kneeling on the decks of their boats, with their uniform tops and boots removed; relaxing in a large room, eating lunch; being all kinds of out-of-uniform in white socks; and oh yeah, crying.
Then the REALLY embarrassing part started.
The sailors were most excellent guests, handing over login information and passwords to their phones and laptops, and even discussed operational details of their mission with their Iranian hosts.
Worst of all was the Navy officer who allowed himself to be filmed offering an apology to the Iranians for all of the trouble. As if the Iranians were the ones embarrassed and inconvenienced. This apparently wasn’t even something the Iranians coerced or threatened him to do. Damn lieutenant, talk about an own-goal.
The incident was such an enormous black eye for the US in general and the Navy in particular that it resulted in the sacking of numerous Navy officers, and is reportedly now being used as a case study of what NOT to do in case of capture.
I’m glad that the situation wasn’t worse, and thankful no Americans were harmed. But there was real harm to America’s national prestige, and possible jeopardy to national security from the exploitation of the captured navigation and communication equipment aboard the boats. There really were “failures at every level,” and I’m glad the Navy is now cleaning house.