No sooner do we have the GOOD NEWS that the Iranians have released our sailors and marines, than we get the TERRIBLY BAD NEWS that four more of our soldiers have been exploded in Iraq.
Both of these stories in their contrasting relief and horror remind us that our armed forces are brave and loyal and doing the very best that they can. But that we should NOT have sent them out there in the first place and that so long as we make them stay in a dangerously unstable region then we are making the situation worse and not better.
For a week, the Iranians put our people onto the television one at a time to “confess” and “apologise”, milking it for all that they could, and once they had got all the propaganda they thought that they could get, they go for a surprise release to make themselves look even more like the good guys.
It is probably more complicated than that, of course. There are factions within Iranian politics that we do not properly understand. Although Mr Ahmadinejad is President and sort of in charge, the real authority comes from the RELIGIOUS powers, under supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Another key figure is the spokesperson for the Supreme National Security Council, Mr Ali Larijani, and he gave an interview to Channel Four news during the week. That was when he said that the British sailors were NOT going to be put on trial.
You might guess that once President Armageddonjab heard that a SHOW TRIAL was off the cards, he decided that his EASTER GIFT would be the next best way to get a final PR stunt out of the crisis, before it started to look to the rest of the world like Iran was just holding the sailors as HOSTAGES.
I asked my daddies why Iran would think that they could get away with forcing the sailors and marines to tell fibs on television. After all, we were bound to find out what really went on as soon as they were released and allowed to tell of their ORDEAL.
(Funnily enough, the thing that I thought was most insulting – and I mean insulting to ME with my Western ideals; I was sure even then that the sailors themselves had worse things to worry about – was that when they put Leading Seaman Faye Turney on the telly, they took away her uniform and made her wear a headscarf. Just think if we have made an Iranian woman appear WITHOUT a headscarf! They were totally rubbishing our belief that Ms Turney is completely equal to the job of being a frontline sailor. And that was WRONG!)
My daddies pointed out to me that while we here in Britain were NEVER going to believe the Iranian version, it wasn’t US that the Iranian government was trying to convince.
Iran has now dismissed the sailors’ version, calling it “staged” and “theatrical propaganda”. (Which, oddly enough, reminds me of the Labour complaining about the police being “theatrical” when they arrested Ms Ruth Turner. I wonder, from whom have the Iranians been getting their propaganda lessons?)
So, now we have two sets of televised statements and how can people be expected to tell the difference between OUR propaganda and THEIR propaganda?
Thanks to Lord Blairimort in the House of Commons and Mister Alistair Henchman and the dodgy dossier and the downloaded dossier, people have every reason to believe that the British government tells LIES. Never mind that we have a free press that can dig the dirt and usually ends up finding out when the government fibs, our reputation for honesty has been trashed.
So, the people in the Middle East have been given a SHOW AND TELL that says: “look how good and how put upon we are here in Iran; we are your friends and the West is your enemy.”
There are also those COMPLETE COINCIDENCES that an Iranian diplomat held hostage in Iraq has suddenly been released, and that the Americans have suddenly allowed the Iranians to have consular access to several people that the US was holding in Iraq on allegations of helping terrorists.
Now, actually, since NOT letting our British consular officials have access to the captured sailors was one of the things that we thought Iran was VERY WRONG for doing, then it is only right that we should tell the Americans that they have to let Iran have consular access when things are the other way around. So, even if it had nothing to do with our sailors, then it is GOOD that this has happened.
As for the diplomat being released, that is probably a good thing too. Let us just hope that it was NOT because the British government paid a ransom on the Iranians’ behalf.
And the worst thing is that we are GIVING all of this PR to Iran as a GIFT, just by all the dumb things we have done ever since the Monkey-in-Chief persuaded Lord Blairimort that flattening Iraq with an army was the best way to “spread democracy”.
It IS all about hearts and minds – and this week, they’re all being won by the religious ideologues in Iran.