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Thursday, 16 March 2017

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I listened to the audio - he sounded non-stressed to me. Of course, I think he did the right thing, it's the way we will have to deal with all these Muslim fighters - kill them.

I've got to agree with backofanenvelope. The Taliban scumbag was badly injured anyway, so putting the toerag out of his misery was a humanitarian thing to do. Besides the Taliban don't honour the Geneva convention, and if they don't, I don't see why we should when fighting them.

In any event one day we'll all have to make this decision thanks to Fuhrerin Merkel and the EU eunuchs.

Sorry, Gentlemen, I disagree! When the fight is on you do whatever it takes to win but when it's over, it's over, and civilised behaviour returns.

Civilised behaviour doesn't return because the opposition isn't civilised! As one of them said - you love life, we love death.

The danger, it is often said, becomes "if we treat them badly, we risk becoming them". This war is for survival and if we lose, we will become them by their methods.

The first Marine to come across the downed Taliban should have immediately put two rounds into him to ensure he was dead and could not have set of a grenade or other ordnance. The Marines should have moved on immediately into a safer area as the enemy could have targeted them..
Unfortunately our soldiers are now distracted by nonsense on the rules of engagement and as a consequence our Marines stood around discussing what to do making themselves and others a target.
It is little wonder the British Army is struggling to recruit. There is no point in being a soldier if the rule is do not kill the enemy. Do not die for your country let the other bastard die for his.

Uhm ... David? Yes yes I know, "off-topic" but, anyway you remember posting about that old piano you'd put out on the stoop because it was taking up so much room in your garret?

You might wanna give the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme a ring.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/uk-authorities-seek-owner-of-gold-trove-stashed-inside-piano/

In WW2 in the East, the Allied forces found themselves faced with an enemy that had adopted a quasi-religious code which forsook every single standard of civilised behaviour, who routinely mutilated and tortured and who refused surrender. After numerous incidents where wounded soldiers had attempted to take out those offering them assistance - often with grenades -it became standard practice to treat them to a bullet in the brain. I can cannot recall reading about incidents where anyone was court martialled for it either.

ISIS surely fall within the same category having proved themselves every bit as savage and merciless as the Japanese ever were. I agree that shooting wounded enemy personnel who are wounded is a horrible business, but I am most reluctant to pass judgment from the comfort of my armchair, particularly when dealing with a bunch of religiously motivated savages who would do the same - and much worse - were the positions reversed.

I agree with Richard. It was common practice in the New Guinea campaign to shoot wounded Japanese as they would take any opportunity to kill they could. They were driven by a similar belief to the Taliban that it was desirable to die for one's cause so long as you took one of the enemy with you.

There is no reasoning with that kind of fanaticism and it is a lesson the West has to learn rapidly if it is to survive.

What Richard and AD said.

A question.

If in defeating them, we become like them, have we won?

Just a question.

Hank,

It depends on what not whether we had won. The Second World War was an all-out existential conflict. The Allies, primarily the Russians and the Anglo-Americans, won their continued existence as previously constituted. The Nazi "Thousand-year Reich", Fascist Italy, and the Empire of the Rising Sun lost their continued existences. And the Allies never became the vicious killers the Imperial Japanese and the Nazi Germans were, despite having to resort to some of the tactics used by the Japanese during the life and death struggles.

It is a good question Hank but I feel it is not one my father and the other Australians on the Kokoda Track and at Milne Bay or the Americans on Guadalcanal would have spent a great deal of time pondering. Probably not one that bothered Slim's 14th Army at Kohima or Imphal either.

Sitting at a distance judgement of the finer nuances of what is right or wrong is much more theoretical than when one is an infantryman up close and personal with a fanatical enemy where it is pretty basic.

Returning to Sgt Blackman. His problem is that behind and above him is an enormous pile of civil servants and military bureaucrats. They don't care about or for him. You can see them in action over events in Iraq and Northern Ireland. He should have taken the camera off his helmet and trodden on it. His immediate superior should have said "Oh dear, here's a new one". But no one had his back.

And a very good question, too, Hank!

Let us set aside the details of Sgt. Blackman's deeds because none of us were there and the legal authorities charged with investigating it have come to their conclusion.

Instead, let's talk about guiding principles. If your enemy behaves with barbarity and you copy his methods then that makes you equally barbaric which indicates that in such a war there is nothing much to choose between two sets of barbarians. I am not talking about individual acts carried out on an 'ad hoc' basis. I am talking about putting into practice governmental or societal policies in which total barbarism is not just permitted but encouraged. Why, I would ask myself, should I risk my life for one set of barbarians in order to keep in power above me another set of barbarians?

One or two of you have mentioned examples from WWII and I would suggest that, irrespective of the courage of the crews concerned, 'Bomber' Harris's campaign of carpet bombing of cities was not only mostly useless but also barbaric.

Also, at the tactical, battlefield level, a policy of 'take no prisoners' is not only barbaric but also really, really 'stoopid'! Once it is realised, your enemy will fight to the death and take many more of your own side with them.

"Once it is realised, your enemy will fight to the death"

You mean like Muslim suicide bombers?

A choice between "barbaric sides"? Yes there is. The West-mostly- has guiding principles that allow for return to civilized norms, meaning Judeo Christian underpinnings. The mostly East has little or no such principles. East is East and West is West...I realize Kipling's poem contradicts several lines down, but still.

David,
If you are talking about German conduct during Operation Barbarossa, or the Russian rapes and pillages carried out in East Prussia, then what you are saying makes perfect sense. It needn't have happened and was totally counter-productive. When it comes down to it, two totally evil but rational people, Hitler and Stalin could be held directly responsible. Unfortunately though, some cultures have a religious or quasi-religious mind-set that defies all logic and rationality. This is what our forefathers were faced with when fighting the Japanese who were in many ways the direct equivalent of ISIS today. They even pioneered suicide bombing. Sadly, what goes around comes around and this is what the current generation is being faced with today.

Incidentally, your comment about the barbarity of Bomber Harris's carpet bombing campaign was made with the full benefit of hindsight that was not available then. It was genuinely believed at the time that due to technological advances, the bombing of towns and cities would break the enemy's will to resist and result in victory. Against the Germans the premise was proved to be flawed because technology was still not advanced enough to deliver the desired results. That all changed with the development and use of the atomic bomb. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit and the rest (as the saying goes) is history.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing! We bombed the Germans because otherwise they would have sat at home eating sausages whilst their army acted like savages all over the place.

David,

I think you neglect the difference between proactive and reactive barbarity. In the comfort of armchair hindsight, it is easy to blur the real difference in that distinction.

Proactive barbarity is an inbred (or inculcated) personal characteristic. Reactive barbarity is a consequence of Isaac Newton's law of nature -- for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Having had the 'honour' of serving my country in Borneo, Aden, and Northern Ireland, and finding myself in similar situations,I can sympathise with the unfortunate Sgt Blackman. My enemies called themselves an Army, yet wore no uniform, conformed to no accepted rules of warfare, and had no concerns for associated casualties (sound familiar so far?). Several friends and colleagues died or were injured in following the tenets of the Hague Convention and often it was very difficult to continue to treat the enemy under these constraints. PTSD was not known, or recognised in my day, though battle fatigue was, and exceptions were made for certain actions, though we had good leadership in the main in those days. When you are in a battle situation (and how many of those commentors have been?), fatigued, scared, and having the responsibility for the safety of the rest of your squad, you are faced with decisions no amount of training can prepare you for. The enemy 'soldier' was said to be wounded and in pain. In such a case, do you leave him in agony until he dies, possibly glorying in his agony, or do you carry out what could be a humane act in a war situation, yet one which is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, and put him out of his agonies and, to a certain extent, allow him to meet his 72 virgins? I believe that no one, unless they have been in a similar situation, has the right to criticise the actions of Andrew Blackman. The fact that he was no more than an acceptable casualty, both political and military, and thrown to the wolves, shows the level of leadership we had at that time.
And the government wonders why recruiting for the Armed Forces is declining.

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