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TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Iraq war a factor in sailors’ capture

The crisis over the 15 British sailors Iran captured in the Persian Gulf is a byproduct of the lingering war in Iraq. With the U.S. and Great Britain unable to win in Iraq, Iran figures the allies are not likely to expand the war to another front. Thus, Great Britain's greatest chance of resolving the problem is to submit to the indignation and embarrassment from the government in Tehran and hope for the best.

Sunday's attack on the British Embassy is a painful reminder of the 444-day siege of the American Embassy there in 1979. That instance played a key role in bringing down the Carter administration after one term. The Republican presidential candidate at that time, Ronald Reagan, told Iran to negotiate with President Carter because it wouldn't get a better deal from him.

Iran released the hostages on Inauguration Day 1981.

That was a case of America dealing from strength. President Carter appeared impotent to gaining their release. But Mr. Reagan strolled into the White House playing the John Wayne tough-guy role.

Iran backed down.

The present crisis isn't likely to end in such dramatic fashion. After seeing that Iran didn't flinch from strong British demands, the Blair government is now trying to accept some of the blame without actually doing so. Iran contends the sailors were in Iranian waters.

The United States and Great Britain most certainly can defend their homelands from attack because of nuclear arsenals. But the type war that's gone on in Iraq for four years is debilitating to an army and its equipment.

Iran is gambling the U.S. is losing in Iraq and is in poor position to come to Britain's aid in another brushfire war.

The incident is one of many reasons it is in the nation's best interest to end the Iraq war soon.

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