Monday, 9 April 2007

Selling their story

Unsurprisingly the main story in the media in the past week or two has been the capture, detention and release of 15 of our service personnel by Iran. Now a massive row has erupted about those same 15 being allowed to sell their stories to the media.

Should they be permitted to make money from this incident? Emphatically not is my point of view. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the original event, whatever the extent or otherwise of the psychological pressure they were under in Iran they should not now financially profit from what happened. Yes I do understand that the incident was more political than military (it's worth remembering we are not at war with Iran) and that the aftermath is all about propaganda but when our young people join up it is all about the discipline of operating within the constraint of certain rules and Queens Regulations prohibit the selling of a story whilst in service unless there are very special circumstances.

It has been argued that permitting these personnel to tell their stories in their own words is a necessary counter to the Iranians version of events. I would say that it is very bad for the morale of other service people and what about the bereaved of those who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan? There might conceivably be a short term gain in the propaganda war, although even that is debatable, but surely this is setting an unwelcome precedent for the future.

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