My favorite European website EU Referendum was the first to register profound disgust at the permission given the 15 captured Brits to sell their stories, indicating the only reason was to smother inquiry into the command failures. Fatuous, Diana-like soft human interest stories were to overwhelm the serious questions.
The British public obviously shared the blog's views
, and that permission has been rescinded, but EU Referendum isn't giving up--they want the press to stop focusing on the truly mawkish reports of the released seamen and to concentrate on what is wrong with the Admiralty:
It must now be evident to knowledgeable defence watchers that the position of First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band (seen here playing with one of his toys), is untenable. His authority is spent.
Earlier Naval careers have foundered through the loss of capital ships, as was the fate of the martinet Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon when 358 crew were drowned after the loss of HMS Victoria in 1893. By contrast, the proximate cause of Admiral Band's demise is the loss of two rubber boats and the temporary detention of their crews by a hostile nation.
In fact, though, it is now coming clear that his greater sin has been to orchestrate a cover-up, attempting to obscure the reasons why the boats and their crews should have been captured.
But, in giving permission to the "frightened fifteen" to sell their stories to the media, bouncing his political masters into acquiescence, Band went too far. Yesterday, the secretary of state for defence, Des Browne, struck back, rescinding the permission with only the tiniest of fig-leafs to spare the Admiral's blushes.
Read it all. Until you've seen the coverage the men got you cannot fully understand the contempt permission to sell these stories engendered in the United Kingdom.