Conduct Unbecoming

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NAVY BLUES: Released mariners before returning to Britain

There's stiff competition — the handling of mad cow disease, the royal family's years of dysfunction — but it is hard to think of anything in modern times that has held Britain up to such, and such richly deserved, international contempt as the case of the 15 captured mariners in the Shatt al Arab. There was the original sin; messing about in lightly armed little boats in a waterway contested by Iran — a bit like poking a mad dog in the eye without being prepared to clobber it with a big stick if it bites. There has been the miserable,...

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