Just before American President Barack Obama’s last “State of the Union” address, the Islamic Republic of Iran repeated its 1979 feat by seizing American government hostages. In this case, the hostages were US military personnel. Ten America sailors were taken at gun point by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and the US Navy did nothing to stop it. Indeed, the United States government promised “not to repeat such mistakes” while begging for the return of its personnel.
The US President did not address it in his remarks that night, but his administration has since abased itself in public. American Vice President Joe Biden, who often represents himself as a straight-shooter and ordinary guy, claimed that Iran was merely assisting stranded travelers. This he said in spite of clear photographic evidence that Iran was treating the sailors as prisoners — photographs released by Iranian state media in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which forbid the humiliation of prisoners of war. As the International Committee of the Red Cross puts it, “[A]ny broadcast/publication of a film/photo of an identifiable prisoner of war or civilian security internee should normally be regarded as subjecting him/her to public curiosity, and should be prohibited.” In this case, the photographs show American sailors in a position of submission, whereas the prohibition ordinarily applies to any photographs of prisoners of war at all. It is noteworthy that the female American sailor was forced to cover her hair according to Iran’s interpretation of Islamic law, a violation of her rights of freedom of conscience under America’s Constitution.
American Secretary of State John F. Kerry went so far as to thank Iran. His performance as Secretary of State has been utterly disgraceful, although quite in line with expectations given his performance as a Naval officer during the Vietnam war. During that conflict, by his own admission, he committed severe war crimes — and failed to report them to his chain of command, to whom he instead attempted to pass the blame.
Mr. Kerry: “There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that yes, I committed the same kinds of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones, I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used .50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Convention and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down.
Kerry went on to negotiate with the enemy without orders while still a serving Naval officer, an act that might have been prosecuted as treason had the Navy elected to do so. Instead, to our national disgrace, he was elevated to the high post of Senator for decades and eventually to Secretary of State, in which position he continues to negotiate with our enemies against the interests of his nation but now with the authority of a foolish administration. It is to the eternal dishonor of our nation that John F. Kerry has been permitted to occupy any such position of trust.
This is not the first time that this pair of American officials have put American hostages behind presenting a fiction of improved relations with Iran. The whole Iran deal was predicated on such a maneuver. John F. Kerry himself described his refusal to include the release of Americans held by Iran as a part of that deal as a decision “not to hold a nuclear agreement hostage to hostages.”
At a time when the Obama administration’s weakness on Iran has caused even former adviser David Axelrod to suggest that Obama needed to address Iran’s bad behavior, this affair must be regarded as an obvious disaster even by the President’s allies. They are nevertheless putting a brave face on it, with the New York Times using the headline in its news coverage — not its editorial page — “Iran’s Swift Release of U.S. Sailors Hailed as a Sign of Warmer Relations.”