It’s unconscionable that the Navy is making Rasch and Moses the fall guys for this incident after the Obama Administration pretended that nothing amiss had happened in the first place. After the sailors were released, Vice President Joe Biden dismissed the entire incident as the routine treatment of boats with mechanical difficulties. Denying that the U.S. had apologized to Iran, as had been widely rumored, Biden said: “When you have a problem with the boat, (do) you apologize the boat had a problem? No. And there was no looking for any apology. This was just standard nautical practice.” The sailors were blindfolded, made to kneel at gunpoint, and interrogated for hours. But Biden maintained that the entire situation was routine: “The Iranians picked up both boats — as we have picked up Iranian boats that needed to be rescued.” The Iranians, he said, “realized they were there in distress and said they would release them, and released them — like ordinary nations would do.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter sounded similar notes, thanking Secretary of State John Kerry “for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors’ swift return. Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
Kerry, in turn, was grateful to the Iranians: “All indications suggest or tell us that our sailors were well taken care of, provided with blankets and food and assisted with their return to the fleet earlier today.” He ascribed the Iranians’ swift release of the sailors to communications channels that had been opened during the nuclear negotiations: “I think we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out three or four years ago, and in fact it is clear that today this kind of issue was able to be peacefully resolved and officially resolved, and that is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and strong.” He thanked the Iranians for their “cooperation and quick response.”
So if everything was that wonderful, why fire Rasch and Moses?
There needs to be a thorough housecleaning of the Obamoid military. But will it be forthcoming?
“2nd US Navy officer fired over Iran’s detention of 10 sailors,” by Lolita C. Baldor, Times of Israel, June 25, 2016:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The US Navy has fired a second commander in connection with the 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf in January and were captured and held by Iran for about 15 hours.
Vice Adm. Kevin M. Donegan, commander of Naval Forces Central Command, has relieved Capt. Kyle Moses of his duties as head of the command’s Task Force 56. Moses has been reassigned.
A US official says additional punishments against seven other sailors are under review and decisions will be announced next week. The seven include the squadron commander who already was fired and reassigned, and his executive officer, as well as three of the sailors who were detained.
Donegan says he initially took administrative action against Moses based on the preliminary results of the investigation into the Iran incident. He says that after going over the results of the final investigation he decided that more action was necessary.
The US official says that Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, head of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, is considering whether additional actions should be taken against Cmdr. Eric Rasch, who was executive officer of the unit when the incident occurred. He was reassigned last month, before the final investigation was completed.
To date, no action has been taken against Cmdr. Greg Meyer, who was serving as commander of the squadron when the incident happened. He is no longer in a command job, but he is one of the seven who is facing possible discipline.
The official said that in addition to Rasch, Meyer and three of the detained sailors, there also may be action taken against an officer and an enlisted sailor who were based in Kuwait and had oversight of the boat teams.
Several other sailors have already received administrative reprimands in connection with the January incident.
The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Iran detained the sailors, nine men and one woman, after their boat drifted into Iranian waters off Farsi Island, an outpost in the middle of the Persian Gulf that has been used as a base for Revolutionary Guard speedboats since the 1980s.
The sailors were on two small armed vessels, known as riverine command boats, on a 300-mile journey from Kuwait to Bahrain, where the Navy’s 5th Fleet is located. The incident, while brief, raised tensions between the US and Iran because of images Iran published of the soldiers kneeling with their hands on their heads. It caused political uproar at home, too, coming on the day of President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address and months after the signing of a deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from financial penalties.
An early account of the incident said the crew stopped when a diesel engine in one of the boats appeared to have a mechanical issue. The second boat also stopped….