Thank God they are finally safe.
You should read this news and analysis from The Sun: "Freed 15 Taunted By Captors" and The Telegraph: "They're Free, But Britain Has Been Humiliated."
Lessons learned: Iran can kidnap uniformed British troops with no threat of British military retaliation. "Iranian waters" are anywhere Iran says they are. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad becomes a hero in the eyes of the world simply for "pardoning" the British military men and women he kidnapped. The UN will be "deeply concerned" but otherwise impotent. The US will keep its mouth shut.
Sigmond, Carl, and Alfred blog has the definitive, must read opinion piece on this whole affair. Here are the opening paragraphs:
In the film Schindler’s List, Amon Goth, (the notorious commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp played by Ralph Feinnes) was struck by a remark made by Oscar Schindler at a party. Schindler tells a drunken Goth that ‘anyone can kill. Real power comes from the ability to forgive and pardon.’
The following morning, in what is a chilling and mesmerizing scene in film, Amon Goth looks into a mirror and says, ‘I pardon you,’ over and over. He repeats the remarks over and over, with various gestures, seeking the right ‘look’ for his supposed largesse, in which he can appear grand, magnanimous and humble, all the same time.
There is very little that is different between Amon Goth and Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and those who support them and share their ideas.
Ouch. But then SC&A goes in for the kill:
Mahmoud Ahmadenijad’s ‘pardon’ and release of those 15 British sailors and marines is no more a gesture of Iran’s inherent ‘goodness’ than were Adolph [sic] Hitler’s displays of affection for his dog- and it is important that we understand that.
Also, Michelle Malkin reprinted a reader's email that highlights this Time article from last week, which indicates that Iran tried this stunt earlier. Last September, detachment of Iranian troops crossed into Iraq and attempted to apprehend a joint Iraqi/US recon patrol. But we shot back and the Iranians fled.
Like I said before, the Iranians are experts at taking hostages.
I am hopeful that the details of how the British were treated by the Iranians will be fully disclosed. Already there have been reports that some of the sailors and marines were held in solitary confinement. It is certainly very likely that they were deprived of sleep and subjected to psychological and emotional stresses designed to break down their resistance. They were illegally apprehended, accused of being spies (though they were uniformed), paraded around on TV, and forced to read "confessions," all of which are in violation of the Geneva Convention. Clearly -- according to the standards of the Left -- these prisoners were tortured. Will we hear an outcry from Amnesty International? The ACLU? Don't hold your breath.