British sailors and marines are taken captive by Iranians while busy patrolling and gathering intelligence… on the Iranians.
Iran uses captives as propaganda tools and releases the gift-laden, professionally styled troops as an “Easter present for the British people”.
Having failed utterly to look strong during the crisis, Britain’s Ministry of Defense decides to try to try to use the released soldiers as propaganda tools itself, an usual step:
The MoD has said experiences of the navy crew amounted to “exceptional circumstances” that allowed its usual ban on such payments to be lifted.
Maj Gen Patrick Cordingley, who led the Desert Rats in the first Gulf War, said he was “depressed” by the decision to sell stories as they had “not overplayed their experiences” in the press conference which took place when they returned to the UK.
He said the Ministry of Defence or the government seems to be “manipulating this whole particular process” for propaganda purposes.
The stories appear in the British tabloids: “Stripped to knickers in dingy cell”.
…and the MoD, officially in reaction to public outrage, but no doubt also because of a belated realization that that having sailors talk about crying like a baby in no way improves the weakened image of the military, promptly reverses its decision.