The most plausible explanation for the 10 riverine sailors captured by Iran
I have separately heard from two experts, both high ranking Marines, one on active duty and the other working in DC at a foundation, the following. When I pressed them on the Fars News Service statement from Iran that the 10 captured on the two US vessels were all Marines, they countered:
No, they are part of a Rivierine Squadron based in San Diego. Further they are support crews for SEAL missions from the US Navy and highly trained. The Iranians probably mistook “Riverine” for “Marine” in doing the story.
So that explains several things. Why the captured sailors were so much more fit than the average sailor these days, and how a woman could be among them. While not special ops personnel directly engaged, they have to be extraordinarily fit and well-trained, as indeed these sailors appear to be.
It also raises the question as to whether they had been on a mission ferrying SEALS somewhere. One must understand that small craft “belly bumping” has been going on all over the Gulf for decades. There are Standard Operating Procedures for numerous levels of possible engagement, including being swarmed and overcome. They don’t have to include vainglorious responses like getting all your people killed resisting being taken prisoner by other ships with more firepower.
The young Lieutenant commanding the mission, covered in this Chicago Tribune story appeared totally composed in making that statement of “confession,” probably because that was exactly the statement he was supposed to make according to one of those SOPs at Fifth Fleet that had been set up for the alternative scenarios. So any notion that malfeasance by the officers and crews of these two vessels is most unlikely.
Also unlikely is any notion that with the multiple communications channels of special ops vessels and multiple navigation aids anyone on board them got lost, was without communications, or drifted while doing repairs anywhere near the Fars Islands. Look at a map. The course from Bahrain to Kuwait is not only direct, it is almost directly N-S and given the shallow draft capability of these vessels, both boats could have proceeded with the Arabian coast in sight the entire time.
So how did they get more than 70 miles and 90 degrees off their course, (some “short cut”) which at their speeds of more than 40 mph would have taken over an hour one way, and fall into the 12 mile limit of the Farsi Islands claimed by Iran? In short, they didn’t. Fifth Fleet knew exactly where they were at all times, just as it knows exactly where all the other NATO vessels, which practically pave the Persian Gulf these days are. And they had the option to back them up with air and sea power if they were allowed to.
If the American people were not suffering from an incompetent and incurious press and media, some of these discrepancies would have come to light and been subject to public debate. One would think the questions remaining over what are now the clear lies about Benghazi would excite some editorial interest.
The explanations pouring out of Obama’s lying Administration spokespersons from the Secretary of Defense to the Secretary of State simply do not stand the light of day. In fact they insult the intelligence of any knowledgeable citizen with military experience. But one thing is clear. Secretary of State Kerry was a much better liar about his small boat riverine actions in Vietnam than he is in explaining what was going on with our riverine sailors in the Persian Gulf.