The US offered to take military action on behalf of the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, including buzzing Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions with warplanes, the Guardian has learned.The British, more concerned about the welfare of their hostages and less eager to start a war with Iran on any pretext, wisely declined.
In the first few days after the captives were seized and British diplomats were getting no news from Tehran on their whereabouts, Pentagon officials asked their British counterparts: what do you want us to do? They offered a series of military options, a list which remains top secret given the mounting risk of war between the US and Iran. But one of the options was for US combat aircraft to mount aggressive patrols over Iranian Revolutionary Guard bases in Iran, to underline the seriousness of the situation.
I do find myself wondering how exactly things would have turned out if it had been American servicemen who had been captured. I'm sure that the hawks would have been just as eager to kick off a war, but I think the American people might have been a little more concerned about getting our personnel back safe and sound. I'm sure the hawks saw this incident as the perfect opportunity to incite a war without the political "cost" of losing some American lives in the process.