It didn’t take more than a couple of nanoseconds after the fifteen Royal Navy hostages were released by their Iranian captors before the pontificaters and blowviaters began their questioning of the crew members’ conduct and loyalty. Specifically, the defamers wanted to know why the U.K. sailors and marines offered unnecessary apologies and publicly admitted to being wrong for entering Iranian waters.

On March 23 the British crew members were surrounded and seized by six Iranian gunboat crews for allegedly entering Iranian waters illegally. After thirteen days in captivity, the British crew was released and flown back to Great Britain – but not before most of them were videotaped admitting they had strayed into forbidden waters. These admissions have prompted an outpouring of criticism, both in Britain, the U.S., and elsewhere.

Once released, the hostages retracted their “confessions,” saying they were obtained under duress. Some of the sailors and marines said they were stripped naked, blindfolded, their hands bound, and subsequently abused emotionally during the period they were prisoners. The lone female hostage, seaman Faye Turney, was held in solitary confinement and told the others had already been released. She was informed that if she did not admit being in the wrong place, she would face seven years in prison. Turney subsequently apologized for the incursion into Iranian territory.

Among those to seize upon Turney’s admission of guilt was Kathleen Parker, an American columnist who frequently focuses on family values and sex roles, and who quickly pointed out that, as a mother of a 3-year-old, seaman Turney had no place in the military. Turney’s harrowing ordeal, wrote Parker, was the result of “women pretending to be men.” In previous columns Parker has blamed rape on people who force men to acknowledge women as their equals.

Apparently Parker is not aware that at this moment, women are flying Navy jets off the flight decks of aircraft carriers and piloting helicopters at rooftop level in various war zones. Parker is among the legions of clueless antifeminists who conveniently forget that during World War II, women, acting as ferry pilots, flew every type of military aircraft, from bombers to the hottest fighter planes, from the point of manufacture to their debarkation points for overseas delivery. When the war ended, not a single female aviator was deemed qualified to fly commercial aircraft.

For Parker to single out seaman Turney for criticism is beyond contempt. What about the male marines and sailors who also apologized to the Iranians, but who underwent far less of an ordeal than Turney? On this matter, Parker is conveniently silent.

Most Britons, including top military officials, have said the hostages played by the rules, did not give anything away, and “acted with considerable dignity and courage.” It is the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, to use Thomas Paine’s grand phrase, who have come out of the woodwork to malign, insult and slander the U.K. troops. As always, the critics manage to find fault and tarnish the character of anyone who wears the uniform and does the fighting, while these “patriots” hold their coats. To them, the recent crisis off the coast of Iran means little more than an increase on oil prices.

– Chase.Hamil

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