British sailors and Marines arrive at Heathrow Airport from IranWe'll have to see what actually happened behind the scenes in the welcome release of British soldiers before we can figure out who blinked and when.
But the spectacle today is one of Ahmadinejad milking the moment for all its worth. The public apologies by the sailors, the choreographed television shots, the use of the word "detainee" to describe the Brits, and the Easter "gift": this is all propaganda for the Tehran thugocracy. . . .
I don't see how the U.S. benefits from this fiasco in any way. Tehran successfully weaned Britain away from its ally, the U.S., and its EU partners, proved how alienated the British public is from the war in Iraq and the U.S. administration, managed to look more humane in prisoner treatment than the U.S. and distracted from the growing international pressure on Tehran's nuclear ambitions. That's a pretty shrewd set of moves, though it pains me to say so.
-- ANDREW SULLIVAN
Photograph by Associated Press Television News