Who’d Be A Sailor?

I had to laugh today when I read that young Arthur Batchelor, one of the sailors captured by Iranian forces a few weeks ago, could not return to his ship HMS Cornwall as planned, because he had “lost his passport”.
You have got to feel a little sorry for this poor lad, he’s had a rough time lately.

To begin with he is dispatched to participate in an unpopular, unwinnable, immoral, and completely illegal war. Then the poor boy is sent on a ‘routine’ boarding operation, physically nearer Iran than Iraq. Thanks to the wisdom of his commanders, he finds himself part of a group that ends up in disputed waters with no helicopter support, and easy prey for Iranian border guards.
The poor wee lamb then spent about 3 weeks enjoying the hospitality of the Iranians. Sadly for him, the Iranians did not provide him with facilities like at Abhu Graib, Bagram Air Base, or Guantanamo Bay. No orange jump suits or electrodes, but they did make him eat naan bread, play chess and ping-pong, forced him to be measured up for a suit, and coerced him into accepting some gifts. They also blindfolded him, and most heinously, took away his i-pod. To add insult to injury, he then had his neck “flicked” by a guard. Oh, and an Iranian guard said he looked like Mr Bean.
Oh for the comforts of Gitmo, eh?
After surviving that ordeal, young Arthur returned home to be “debriefed” by the UK’s Ministry of Defence. (At least the Iranians let him keep his briefs…)
The MOD decided to let Arthur and his compatriots sell ‘their’ stories to the press for a few gold coins, and then swiftly changed their minds, hanging him out to dry. Then the paparazzi plaster pictures of him, having a laugh about the ordeal with his mates in a nightclub.

In the matter of a short month or two, the boy has went from poorly paid cannon-fodder, to heroic hostage, through wealthy celebrity, a Tarzan, and now on to national disgrace.

One can imagine that the last few weeks have been a bit of a steep learning curve for him. Possibly he has learnt that the Government he is meant to serve so dutifully, is not worthy of such loyalty after all?

If I were him, I think I’d ‘lose’ my passport too.




~ by blacksheepdiarist on May 1, 2007.

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