« The embarrassment that is Nancy Pelosi | Main | Breaking News: Accused Duke players to have charges dismissed »

April 09, 2007

Compare and contrast: April 9, 1942 and today

Bataan Death MarchToday is the 65th anniversary of the Bataan Death March. It is a black story of extreme cruelty. here and there articles covering survivors' recollections are published.

The Bataan Death March claimed the lives of at least 600 Americans and 5,000 to 10,000 Filipinos; some historians estimate the numbers are even higher. For Onufry, then 18, it was the beginning of 3½ years as a prisoner of war.

"You should be dead, but you just keep going," said Onufry, who now lives in the North Country town of Freedom. "Another day, and you're still alive."

Onufry, now 84, is one of the few remaining "Battling Bastards of Bataan." He says good luck kept him alive. But skills he learned as a Boy Scout also helped: He staved off thirst by sucking on his uniform buttons and made clothes from scraps of tents.

As a POW that survived the march, Onufry and others were taken to Japan where they became slave labor. None of them knew when they'd be rescued or release, if ever. Yet they endured.

British 'Lion'And then we are confronted by the bizarre news of the 15 Brit hostages (alleged Royal Marines) who are going to be paid for their stories, rather then being asked to resign or dishonorably discharged.

Of course, the reason for any military code of conduct (and the Geneva Conventions) that require prisoners to not cooperate with their captors is easy to demonstrate

Hardliners in the Iranian regime have warned that the seizure of British naval personnel demonstrates that they can make trouble for the West whenever they want to and do so with impunity.

The bullish reaction from Teheran will reinforce the fears of western diplomats and military officials that more kidnap attempts may be planned. [...]

"Iran has got what it wants. They have secured free passage for smuggling weapons into Iraq without a fight," one US defence department official said.

It is also clear that the Iranian government believes that the outcome has strengthened its position over such contentious issues as its nuclear programme. Hardliners within the regime have been lining up to crow about Britain's humiliation, and indicated that the operation was planned.

Appeasing the Iranian pirates is only going to bring more piracy.

The famed British Lion is merely a neutered housecat.

Technorati: , , ,

Posted by Darleen at April 9, 2007 08:49 AM


Yes, I remember I once met a Bataan death march survivor. Musta been back in the 80s. Had a lot of respect for him. Perhaps soldiers were made of better metal in those days.

As to the UK forces captured; it was damned bad. Thing I can't understand is why the UK gunboat captain didn't at least see the Iranians coming. Fire a few shots across their bows. It would have stopped them dead. Unless the Iranians were bent on a suicide attack.

The Captain had to make a command decision, surrender or fight. Maybe he felt the UK forces in those rubber boats were in too much danger. What would have been the result of a firefight? The UK forces didn't sign up for a suicide mission, although the Iranians probably did.

Don't blame the forces in the rubber boats; blame the captain.

If there's any real blame to be handed out that is....

Posted by: Carl W. Goss at April 10, 2007 09:51 AM


I don't blame them for surrendering. The rules of engagement they were operating under (via the UN) forbade them from self-defense.

However, surrender doesn't mean one collaborates with the captors.

And it certainly doesn't mean cashing in with the media on your return.

Posted by: Darleen at April 10, 2007 09:33 PM