Former Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is criticizing the 10 American sailors detained by the Iranian military, saying they should have resisted arrest.
“The result of two U.S. Navy vessels being boarded and seized by an enemy — which is what the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Navy is — is disturbing,” he wrote on his blog.
“The images and video they took depicting our soldiers on their knees in the position of surrender is damning,” West continued. "This, folks, is an act of war, and our soldiers were captured. Our honor calls upon us to fight, to resist, not surrender.
“The ramifications of not doing so means our honor is now being mocked and we’re seen as nothing more than cowards on our knees. Say what you wish, but that’s the perception in the Middle East, especially to our enemies.”
West also questioned the response protocol followed by the sailors during their encounter with Iranian forces.
“I also find it perplexing to be told that the engines of the boats malfunctioned,” said West, a retired Army liuetenant colonel who served during the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars.
“If that were the case, an immediate call should have been made and at least, aerial surveillance and support should have been dispatched,” he continued.
“Regardless of one or two boat engines malfunctioning, what should have happened after a distress call was all hands on deck manning the boat weapons,” West added.
"They should have been in an immediate defensive posture to secure themselves until recovery was complete — or they were back underway.”
Tehran announced early Wednesday that it was releasing the group of U.S. sailors after they crossed into its “territorial waters” the evening before.
Iran initially seized two U.S. Navy vessels late Tuesday, grabbing the international spotlight just hours before President Obama’s final State of the Union address.
The Obama administration has downplayed the incident, arguing that its quick resolution shows improving ties with the Islamic republic. Critics counter the standoff instead proves Tehran is not quieting its saber-rattling despite Obama’s landmark nuclear agreement with it last year.