A redacted copy of the Navy’s official Report of the Investigation to Inquire into Incident in the Vicinity of Farsi Island Involving Two Riverine Command Boats (RCB802 and RCB805) on or About 12 January 2016 has been posted online. Interested readers may want to review it themselves. The report is dated February 28, 2016; I haven’t seen any explanation accounting for the delay in its release. Paul comments on the report’s findings in “Dereliction in the Persian Gulf.” Of the things we wrote at the time, I look back to my own “Remember the Pueblo.”
The Minnesota Twins are having a historically bad season. Twins owner Jim Pohlad has not sought to evade a share of responsibility at the top. Early on he attributed the cause to “total system failure.” The events of this past January in the Persian Gulf also seem to me to represent “total system failure.” This one, however, includes elements of shame and disgrace that failure in major league baseball lacks.
At the Washington Tines, Carlo Muñoz suggests that the resolution of disciplinary issues remains in process. Muñoz also picks up the rot that may have filtered down from the top:
Heavily outgunned and outnumbered by members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Navy commander — whose name was redacted from the report — told investigators he calculated that Tehran’s desire to keep the nuclear deal with the U.S. alive would also protect the 10 American sailors if they surrendered.
“I didn’t want to start a war with Iran. … I didn’t want to start a war that would get people killed,” the commander said.
“I guess this was a gamble on my part. … I made the gamble that they were not going to kill us. I made the gamble they were not going to parade us around like prisoners of war because they want this nuke deal to go through.”
Mr. Obama, the unidentified commander said, would not want me to start a war over a mistake, over a misunderstanding.”
Senator McCain is not only chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he knows a thing or two about the Navy. He knows in particular about the obligations incumbent on captors, on the captured and on our own government. McCain points to Iran’s “flagrant violations of international law” in seizing and holding our sailors and on the Obama administration supine treatment of Tehran. Alluding to the contrast with the Johnson administration following the release of the Pueblo crew in December 1968, McCain observes with perfect accuracy: “Five months later, the administration has shamefully failed to retract its craven statements of gratitude and praise for Iran’s illegal behavior.”
As I say–as Jim Pohlad said–total system failure.