By Ray Starmann
John McCain has had enough…
John McCain has had enough of the Pentagon’s constant stonewalling and obfuscation on everything from the Marines’ 36 million dollar study of coed Marine units’ fighting capabilities to the Army’s Ranger School cover up to the disgraceful conduct of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf last month.
Senator John McCain said on Sunday he would subpoena 10 U.S. sailors to testify about their brief detention by Iran if the Obama administration does not provide the findings of an investigation into the incident by March 1.
“It’s an option that I do not want to exercise,” McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters as he was returning to the United States from an international security conference in Germany.
The sailors were detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps after their two patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters on Jan. 12. U.S. officials later blamed a navigational problem.
The Americans were freed the next day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry intervened with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, averting a diplomatic crisis just days before implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and the lifting of international sanctions on Tehran.
Iranian media broadcast videos of the detainees, including scenes in which Revolutionary Guards personnel trained weapons on the sailors as they kneeled in submission.
McCain said he had been told the sailors were still being debriefed, but added that he assumed that administration members were “dragging their feet” in completing an investigation into the incident, which he accused Iran of exploiting for propaganda purposes.
“I guarantee you, if they don’t have a debrief by the first of March like they said, we’ll have a hearing and we’ll subpoena. We’re not going to wait any longer,” McCain said. “We will subpoena the individuals if we have to.”
Obviously, a myriad of questions remain concerning the incident. One, why did the Pentagon originally state that one of the boats had an engine problem? If so, the other boat could have easily towed it back to international waters.
Two, the story was changed to both Riverine craft had navigational issues. Really? It’s hard to digest that one in 2016, when US Navy boats are equipped with the most sophisticated navigational equipment in the world. Did systems on both boats just go out at once?
Three, the US Navy boats out-gunned the tiny Iranian boats, yet the commander, Lieutenant David Nartker surrendered his men and his boats without a fight, in violation of Article II, of the US Military Code of Conduct. (I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.) Was Nartker ordered to surrender by higher authority?
Four, when in Iranian captivity, Nartker praised his treatment in the hands of the Iranians and called it, “fantastic.” Nartker’s behavior on video is in violation of Article V of the US Military Code of Conduct. (When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.) Also, one of Nartker’s men is seen openly weeping on camera.
No doubt the Pentagon is stonewalling McCain and McCain darn well knows it. As a former US Navy officer and a former POW who endured horrific torture in the hands of the North Vietnamese, McCain is outraged by the cowardly conduct of US Navy officers and men in the hands of a two-bit country like Iran.
The Pentagon will continue to stall, as they have stalled Congressman Steve Russell on the release of the Ranger School records for the first three female graduates.
McCain will certainly have to subpoena the US Navy personnel and order them to report to the Senate Armed Services Committee and testify under oath about their conduct in the Persian Gulf.
The McCain Mutiny must commence against the incompetent, cowardly bureaucrats in the White House and the Pentagon, the very people who are destroying the fighting spirit and readiness of the US Military.