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Tuesday, 12 November 2013


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Oh thank you so much for reminding me of Ireland (and Tim for Yugoslavia) and other places!

The Geneva Convention, on which so many of the calls for a severe punishment hinges, relies on the assumption that 'the enemy' is like you. That your showing restraint, mercy and compassion will be reciprocated should you be captured by them. The Afghans (just like those lovable Irish) don't think anything of such a (to them hilarious) convention except as means of undermining, manipulating and causing more casualties - and then getting away with it. (Care to name a single conflict since WW 1 in which the opposite side didn't completely ignore the Geneva Convention whilst expecting us to adhere to it, limitations and all?)

Maybe some of those Islington set need to be forced to see just what such 'people' do to their captives (a few coroners reports from NI would have them spewing in short order I guarantee, or being sent to pick up the bits of what's left of an oppo after those lovable 'freedom fighters' have finished displaying him maybe?).

Do I believe senior officers should be held accountable for sub-standard (and let's be honest, bloody useless in some cases, equipment)? No. The politicians who specify it, the procurement officers who select it - they are the only ones at blame. That an officer should question yes, but refuse and effectively end his career to no end because of such - really?

As to Marine A. Did he do wrong? yes. Would I do the same? Probably not. But, call me a monster if you wish, my first thought was 'which barsteward shopped him - now, there's someone I'd refuse to serve with/a candidate for accidental fragging'. but it turns out it was because of 'someone' snooping though another soldiers laptop - the surveillance state at work (How reassuring that such a film results in a soldier facing murder charges, but film of a soldier being murdered gets a free pass)..

The consequence? I, for one, would never even consider signing up now. If still serving? I'd simply get out - there's no safe way to do the job without facing a Wiltshire Judge second guessing any action you take from safe in his chambers. Not worth it. So just watch the effectiveness, and more importunately the recruitment, fall off.

Also, amazing isn't it how Britain is the only country in the world to subject our troops to these political/media/civilian show trials?

In The War, one of my father's lance-jacks murdered some German prisoners. The old boy told me that he drew his revolver, waggled it under the soldier's nose, and said "If you ever do anything like that again I'll shoot you myself."

An impressive sight, my father in a bate.

(It was hard to get him to tell me about what he saw in the war; I think he must have told me that story as part of a warning about not believing that our troops were incapable of atrocities. Although, by his account, on the atrocity front our blokes were far superior to most other armies; on the being light-fingered front, less so. In other words they weren't too likely to murder you and rape your daughter but they'd certainly steal your hen.)

Ah, no, Able, we have circular firing squads over here, too. e.g. the Marines who were court-martialed for the "Haditha Massacre" after all evidence had pointed to the fact that there was no such thing. Officers who were a thousand miles away from the action had their careers ended for "failure to supervise" or some such B.S. Or, General Karpinski, maybe a token woman promoted to general, but she was demoted because some civilian contractors on the evening shift humiliated (non-military) prisoners in one wing of Abu Ghreib prison. (And, evidence to be offered in their trial for terminal idiocy, took photographs.)Ten million Socialists at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.They do not stand for truth and justice. They stand very loudly for persecuting the very men who make their useless palaver possible.

The mistake the Marines made was taking the religious fruitcake prisoner.
If marine A was captured then torture followed by decapitation would be the probable outcome and on U Tube for all to see.
Personally I would release Marine A and put him back on duty.

It does seem so often that if we want our prisoners of war to be treated according to the Geneva Convention, we need to go to war with each other, or maybe we could gang up and attack the Canadians?

(Note to literal minded but very, very nice neighbors to the north, it is a joke.)

Personally, I think the IQ levels of the Royal Marines need to be checked. To take and keep films of this event seems amazingly stupid; bit like the idiots Mr Adams mentions at the Abu Ghreib prison. What is wrong with these people?

I agree with Able, I wouldn't recommend military service to any of my grandchildren.

As to Richard North; he is always right and always against anything anyone else is in favour of.

Am I to assume, Michael, that your northern neighbours are a bit short in the sense of humour area?

Indeed, BOE, quite how this all came to light I do not know. I read somewhere that it is not possible for the wearer of a helmet-cam to switch it off or erase the film which is automatically recording elsewhere. As to Richard North, yes, he can be a tad acerbic but he's from 'oooop north' and they're a bit like that up there - must be the weather!

Why didn't' he take his helmet off?

Don't ask me, BOE, he was a marine, or a 'rock-ape', as we used to call them! Perhaps he had fallen off too many rocks and landed on his head too many times!

Shirley Rock Apes are RAF Regiment?

Yes, someone else told me that but 'back in the day', er, my day, that is, 'Rock Apes' were marines for the obvious reason that they spent so much time either climbing up them or clambering down them!

"The Geneva Convention, on which so many of the calls for a severe punishment hinges, relies on the assumption that 'the enemy' is like you."

Precisely. And they're not.

btw anyone on here who feels like criticising the Royal Marines ought to take himself down to Lympstone and join in their training; if you survive, we'll talk about them after that. I know whereof I speak.

I am no expert on the Geneva Convention but I suspect that it is not at all based on the concept that "the enemy is like you" but on the more widely-based and Christian concept that they are all human beings which, begging your pardon, Andrew, they are irrespective of colour, creed and/or ethnicity. And that still applies even irrespective of what barbarous acts they might have committed because if that justifies instant execution without trial then we might as well shoot Marine 'A' dead for his barbarous act now and move on!


Technically no it doesn't/isn't. International Humanitarian Law (mainly the Hague Conventions and Geneva Conventions and its Protocols) is clear. They define acceptable actions against civilians and 'uniformed' combatants (in armed conflict between States). Yes there have been additions which address guerrillas, but there are specific defined criteria which must be fulfilled before such people are accepted as such. This man and his ilk do not fall under 'any' of those provisions/protections (despite certain organisations claims that the conflict in Afghanistan is an armed conflict between America and its allies and the state of Afghanistan, patently a falsehood).

It does rely, in part, on the assumption that 'the enemy' is also a signatory of (and has ratified) the conventions. that they will abide by its limitations also.

This man was a terrorist and as such he has zero protections from any and all international conventions. As an 'illegal combatant' he could quite legally face a military tribunal and if found guilty be shot. (and rather than give them cushy cells, legal aid and compensation for someone looking at them in a mean way that is what I feel should be done with them). The original (1864) convention, in fact, specifically allows almost 'anything goes' with respect to illegal combatants - they really wished to discourage such actions you know.

Expecting our troops to abide by such provisions is the equivalent of saying you may fight but only by the Marquess of Queensbury Rules, with gloves, whilst your opponent is sharpening his shiv, raring to bite your ear off and punt your goolies into the next parish.

So what 'do' you do when the enemy won't subscribe to civilised behaviour?

As to Marine A I still reserve judgement. I wonder just what the fellow was up to when the Apache plugged him. Would your opinion change if just out of shot was a pile of women/childrens bodies or the dismembered remains of your long time oppo he'd been filming for his youtube/facebook page? (especially if you know full well that at worst he'd get full, free health care, a nice comfortable cell and released without charge +/- compensation as soon as he was well enough, so as not to upset the liberal lefties).

This is, I think, becoming an increasingly complicated debate and so I will try and put my thoughts together for a new post on the subject.

Not quite what I meant, D, badly-phrased perhaps.

Of course in the sense that the enemy is a human being subject to all the frailties life is prey to, etc etc, then these enemies, like every other, are indeed just like us.

Where they are not like us, of course, is that we usually try to observe the rules of warfare on the battlefield, even if some of us (Marine A) under extreme conditions may fail to do so.

Whereas they just regard such things as being for softies and will torture or kill their prisoners, and show off about it, without the least hesitation or moral qualm.

In that way they are not like is, which makes being like us (or our ideal) even more difficult than usual.

Before judging Marine A, we and some of these desk-bound after-the-event do-gooders need to walk a mile in his boots. In nine minutes, that would be, and while carrying a 70lb pack. Through a swamp, at two o'clock in the morning of your second sleepless night.

Heh! Marine training is for pussies! You should try the Airborne selection course!

Now we have the posturing out the way, to your main point, Andrew. Alas, I suppose we just have to agree to differ. I have tremendous admiration for the courage of the Afghani fighters. I recognise that their cruelty which they seem to dish out to friend and foe alike is appalling but it is *their* evolved society. In my view, it does not in any way diminish the fact that they are human and deserve humane treatment by which I mean treatment that has gone through 'proper legal channels'. Marine 'A' was sent abroad to kill Her majesty's enemies but only in battle not in cold blood after the event which *in our code* is murder.

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