A bayonet is a weapon with a worker at either end
There was an all time classic letter in the Guardian the other day, castigating the British government for not thanking President Ahmadinejad for releasing the captured British sailors. It was interesting how little enthusiasm amongst the people in either Britain or Iran there was for escalating tensions during the period of their captivity.
The letter to the Guardian is based on the idea that there are two sides - the British, who have been behaving provocatively, and the Iranians, who have shown great tolerance. I think this is just as misguided as the idea that everything Britain and America does is right and that the Iranians are all behaving wickedly. Instead the real difference is between those in all of these countries who want conflict - including the local commanders who seized the British sailors and mistreated them, and their counterparts in Britain and the USA agitating for military strikes against Iran, and the people who want their governments to stop trying to build up to a conflict and concentrate on sorting out the real problems facing the people they represent.
It's always worth reading Harry Barnes, who is always well informed and sensible and writes a lot about the Middle East. He sadly reports that one of the people on our side, the one of peace and international solidarity, Najim Abd-Jasem, was kidnapped and murdered a fortnight ago because of his non-sectarian trade union work in Iraq. Just because the people who want violent confrontation don't represent or speak for the majority doesn't mean that they can't inflict great harm, or that they might not prevail.
As a perennial optimist, I think that reading the stories of the captured sailors will help make people see why mistreating captives and flouting international law is wrong, and make the opposition stronger if our government tries to do so in future. It's just a shame that the story of Najim and others like him isn't also told.