The U.S. Navy said on Thursday that it had fired the commander of the 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian territorial waters in the Gulf in January and were briefly held by Iran in an incident that risked becoming an international crisis.
The Navy said in a statement that it had lost confidence in Commander Eric Rasch, who was the executive officer of the coastal riverine squadron that included the 10 sailors.
Rasch became the first person to be publicly singled out after a preliminary investigation into the incident that occurred near Farsi Island in the Gulf.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the commander of Navy forces in the Middle East had also taken non-judicial action against other sailors involved in the incident but declined to provide details.
This has been an embarrassment all around for the United States but you wouldn’t know it from anything the Obama administration said at the time.
Commander Rasch may very well be deserving of the dismissal, but it’s difficult to not suspect politically motivated retribution these days, especially from a president who has already demonstrated a penchant for it. If Commander Rasch can be blamed for the incident, the administration can continue to tout the supposedly flourishing diplomatic relationship with Iran.
Again, no proof, but not outlandish speculation either.