The U.S. commander under fire for apologizing to Iran suggested he felt pressured by his captors to talk on video about how well the 10 U.S. Navy sailors being held by the Persian Gulf country were treated.
And there is alarm in the U.S. military about the silence from officials over that video.
Prompting outrage from many, Iran released video footage showing the sailors on their knees with their hands behind their heads.
And the sailors were later told by their captors to “act happy” while they were being videotaped, CNN reported, according to an unidentified defense official familiar with the debriefing of the “tired and upset” sailors.
The network noted that there was no evidence of physical harm to the service members, but said the demand on how to act “is a sign of potential mental duress.”
It also harkens back to the height of the Vietnam War, when North Vietnam released staged videos of U.S. service members in captivity who were being tortured behind the scenes.
The Obama administration was quick to label the incident a victory for diplomacy, but U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., suggested the White House is more interested in protecting President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran than taking a stand for the sailors.
“I think this administration is willing to stomach just about anything to make sure this deal goes ahead,” Kinzinger said.
CNN reported that many in the military “are alarmed by the silence, particularly from senior U.S. military officials, including the defense secretary, at least saying that’s wrong, you don’t parade our soldiers and sailors on television like that.”
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