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Afghanistan This Weekend

By ATWadmin On December 8th, 2007

Let’s keep our boys in our prayers and thoughts. As of yesterday:

British and Afghan forces have begun a potentially bloody battle to take Musa Qala as Taliban commanders promise to fight to defend the town in North Helmand to the last man. Local people told The Telegraph that thousands of British and Afghan troops began advancing on the town at around 4pm local time today in three separate columns ….. "The British are three kilometres away, they have reached the outskirts of the town," said Haji Abdul Majid Khan, a tribal elder in the town. "There was fighting earlier but it is calm for now. The Taliban are telling the people they will wait until the foreign forces enter the city and then fight them street by street."

No doubt a battalion of activist lawyers will be moving in for mopping up operations, as usual:

Criminal proceedings could be launched over allegations that British soldiers committed acts of abuse after a gun battle with insurgents in south-east Iraq, the High Court was told. Because of the potential for prosecutions, two senior judges imposed "no names" reporting restrictions in a civil legal action already being brought over the incident by Iraqi families.

14 Responses to “Afghanistan This Weekend”

  1. Pete,

    The war on terrorism could prove to be more extended than anybody foresaw, maybe reaching far into the next century. Afghanistan is a hellhole and I wish our soldiers well, that they stay safe. Let’s hope they can bring about a Taliban surrender without much more bloodshed.

    I visited Afghanistan once. I always marvel at a people’s love of country even if that country is little more than an inhospitable wildnerness.

    Re your link to Iraq. It’s surely a good thing we have "activist lawyers" in 2007, to ensure that soldiers play clean in wartime where civilians are concerned. War brings out the worst in men, even well-trained soldiers. It used to be so that atrocities such as those reported in the Telegraph went unreported. Not so now. It’s become increasingly difficult for the criminal to evade detection.

    If a soldier fights on my behalf I wish him to fight nobly in the finest British tradition. Anything less and he doesn’t truly represent my nation.

  2. Dawkins –

    If a soldier fights on my behalf I wish him to fight nobly in the finest British tradition.

    I couldn’t agree more with your fine conservative sentiment, but activist lawyers are still despicable filth. Courts-martial have long determined the bahaviour of our Armed Forces, and this increasing trend of subjecting our boys to civilian codes and procedures can only damage the fine traditions you mention.

    If "war brings out the worst in men, even well-trained soldiers", I look forward to the court accounting for this in the event of charges being brought.

  3. I don’t agree with civilian court cases in the UK dealing with the actions of soldiers in miltary campaigns overseas. I agree with Pete that the court martial system is the best place to deal with this. It will become impossible for the ordinary soldier to do his job if the uncertainty of what may occur legally back home is always hanging over his head.

  4. Great post. Fully agree with your comment above Pete.

  5. Pete,

    No one should be above or outside civilian law: not doctors, not judges, not soldiers. I’ve always felt uneasy about soldiers calling their "own" to account by way of courts-martial.

    Put yourself in the position of a commander of a regiment faced with the unworthy behaviour of one of your men tarnishing the good name of the regiment. Don’t you think it’s a tough decision whether to bring in a verdict of guilty? I do.

  6. Dawkins –

    For good reason our military has long operated by its own code. What they do is simply not comparable to doctors, judges or anyone else. Soldiers are not civilians, civilian codes therefore are inapplicable.

    The core, sustaining function of the military is to kill and destroy and martial-law provides a framework and parameters for that. Civilian law cannot be reconciled with this, given that surely its function is to prevent killing and destruction. It’s as appropriate to say that civilians ought to be subject to martial law always.

    A good commander will ensure that discipline is maintained, with the use of courts-martial if necessary. Officers and commanders throughout history have done so for good reason. Without that discipline and rigour, standards cannot be maintained, and what professional soldier wants to serve such a regime?

  7. Dawkins –

    One other thing. Quite rightly our militery is under civilian control. Now this government is by no means the only one to have debased, demorilised and abused the Armed Forces, but by a long way, philosophically and emotionally, it’s the most hostile the British Armed Forces have operated under.

    Our boys and girls clearly enlist in the military, they live in it, eat it and sleep it. Right now some squaddie in Helmand will be looking at the processed, packaged crap he’s given to eat – prisoners eat fantastically well by comparison – and will be sarcastically thinking "yum".

    Whatever the case is in discussing whether civilian or military law is appropriate, for this civilian regime to repeatedly send our men and women to war whilst providing the wherewithal and means for their prosecution under civilian law and in civilian courts – when those wars bring out the worst – is unsporting and distasteful.

  8. "No one should be above or outside civilian law: not doctors, not judges, not soldiers."

    Civilian law applies to civilian situations: military operations and personnel obviously cannot fall within the scope of civilian law. This has been recognised ever since law was derived. Still, sentiments such as the one above provide a nice shoal for lawyers in a feeding frenzy.

  9. Pete,

    "For this civilian regime then to repeatedly send our men and women to war whilst providing the wherewithal and means for their prosecution – when those wars bring out the worst – is unsporting and distasteful."

    I can’t believe you used the word "unsporting" in this context. If it’s shown that some of our men behaved disgracefully in the situation in Iraq, I doubt that the victims’ families will regard torture and murder in such terms.

    All armies are subject to the Geneva Conventions. It seems that in this case they’ve been contravened. But we shall wait and see.

  10. Allan,

    "Civilian law applies to civilian situations: military operations and personnel obviously cannot fall within the scope of civilian law. This has been recognised ever since law was derived."

    Only in the field, Alan. In which case martial law is the more practical and expedient. But where war crimes are concerned it should and does go beyond an army disciplining its own.

  11. Dawkins –

    I’m not suggesting that the Armed Forces shouldn’t be accountable and that individual actions go unpunished. I’m saying it’s unsporting to be hostile to the military to the point of marking them for particular treatment and fostering a military degradation, whilst proving the means to prosecute in civilian courts.

    It’s not playing the game.

  12. Pete,

    I do wish you’d stop using "unsporting" and "playing the game". You sound just like my granddad :0)

  13. Dawkins –

    That’s good to know. Being a young fogey completely out of touch with modern Britain sits comfortably on my shoulders.

    As I’m reading the winter edition of the quarterely ‘This England’ and I’ve just treated myself to a delicious Laura Ashley table lamp, I’m feeling particularly reserved and British this weekend 😉

  14. LOL!