Update 5pm CST: Just did a last minute appearance on FoxNews' "The Big Story with John Gibson." Thanks to Mark in the Comments, I talked about the analysis by former Ranger, Bruce McQuain, of QandO.net (hopefully, sent those excellent bloggers some traffic). Interesting note: I followed Jesse Jackson (the seat was warm...).
I'm going to disagree with Uncle Jimbo a bit on this one.
While I think it's difficult to castigate the Sailors and Marines without knowing everything that happened (walk a mile in their shoes, etc.), I still think Col Jacobs indignation at the event is justified. I'll try to outline what I think the main issues are:
1. That said, I think it's also a shame that they gave the Iranians such a PR heyday. This is why our code 0f conduct exists - to deny the enemy the use of our troops as PR tools. And this is what happened recently to the Brits.
2. There's a lot of talk about the ROE causing this. That's very possible that the Brits were not able to defend sufficiently at a point prior to being surrounded due to the rules - while this sounds ridiculous (and should), I would not be surprised. I've been trying to find out as much as I can about it.
3. The fact that the captives are cashing in, not just on a book deal, but getting paid by the media for interviews while they're still on active duty is troublesome for a number of reasons. Aside from some conflict of interest issues is the fact that we don't want Sailor Snuffy intentionally getting captured so he can make a buck. The MOD UK has changed this with guidance prohibiting paid interviews, but it's not retroactive.
4. The Iranians probably tried to snatch some US troops months ago during a border incursion for the same reason that the Brits were taken. Because...
5. We probably gave up the top Iranian Intelligence Officer in Iraq (that we had captured earlier as a result of other raids) as a trade. The Iranians have been trying to get those captured soldiers and operatives back ever since...and trading enemy prisoners is the perferred method of securing the release of prisoners by Hezbollah who, coincidentally, are trained by...the Iranians.
Possibly, number 6 is the most troubling to me that those military men and women caused that to happen...sure, maybe we had all of the intel we needed out of him, but now a seasoned and effective terror master with the resources of the Iranian military is loose.
So, all in all, there are reasons why I would question the behavior of the Brits before and during their capture. Whatever your thoughts on it, those sailors and marines cost us a lot more than we probably realize.