Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Iranian "generosity"

Over in Iran, President Ahmadinejad has "given a gift" to Britain by returning their troops. The NYTimes reports that 15 British troops were grateful to Ahmadinejad, shaking his hand for the humane treatment.

Frankly, I'm surprised the Iranian president gave in so easily, though even conservatives within the country are chastising him for provoking the West. Ahmadinejad seems to like drama, and one wonders if this wasn't just another musical gone bad.

The question of whether British soldiers had crossed into Iranian waters is still in dispute. Did Ahmadinejad want to stage a make-believe party? Did gruff Uncle Khomeini come in and bust up playtime because it made too much noise?

Whether the soldiers return unscathed and actually were treated well is yet to be proven. They could have just wanted to play nice so that they could leave early. The assumption is that the soldiers were manipulated and tortured so that they would apologize and make the Iranian president out to be a decent guy.

But I have to wonder what the situation would be like if the tables were turned. The U.S. administration certainly has a track record in how it handles "enemy combatants." Fears for the safety of the Brits may be a reflection of the distrust we have with the most torturous parts of our own society.

Or have we come to expect torture, maltreatment of prisoners as an inevitable part of war?

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