57 2 mins 8 yrs

We send our soldiers to battle, in the hellhole of Helmand, and then, when one breaks down and exercises less than optimum judgement…

A Royal Marine filmed executing injured Taliban insurgent in cold blood is given ten year minimum jail sentence, as judge tells him: “You have betrayed all British service personnel”  Sgt Alexander Blackman was dismissed in disgrace and told his crime had betrayed the Marines and increased the risk of revenge attacks on British troops. The 39-year-old experienced soldier who has deployed on six operations stared ahead impassively as he was told he had undermined the work done by British forces in Afghanistan.

This is so wrong.

For starters does anyone seriously think the Taliban need an excuse to slaughter our soldiers? Seriously?

Next, in a war, the enemy get killed. This Marine killed the enemy.

Third, how can we expect our military to fight a war when we hand those who seek to kill OUR soldiers this sort of propaganda coup?

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57 thoughts on “WHY WE CAN NEVER WIN A WAR AGAIN….

  1. This Marine killed the enemy

    This Marine killed a wounded enemy combatant who posed no threat in cold blood.

    That’s murder

  2. This will do wonders for recruitmnent figures.
    Of course he should have been punished, but if perhaps all serving personnel in theatres of war had a human rights lawyer assigned to advise them on correct conduct, we would see an improvement in conduct.

  3. Agi, this guy bumped the unarmed Taliban fella as he lay wounded on the ground and then said to his mates what he had done was contrary to the Geneva Convention.

    You don’t need a HR lawyer to know that’s wrong.

  4. A Royal Marine filmed executing injured Taliban insurgent in cold blood

    The word should be “murdering”, not “executing”. Executing is a state carrying out a lawful execution order, not shooting a prisoner out of hand. And he has rightly been convicted of murder.

    For starters does anyone seriously think the Taliban need an excuse to slaughter our soldiers? Seriously?

    No, but they are barbarous savages and our standards are higher. Should our soldiers behave the same way? Maybe hack their limbs off after burning them alive? That would show them we mean business.

    Next, in a war, the enemy get killed. This Marine killed the enemy.

    No, this marine killed a defenceless prisoner. There’s a difference, and thankfully we live in a state that recognises that.

  5. Yes he did Paul, and it was wrong and the height of stoopidity to leave the cameras on.

    But if he was that far gone emotionally and mentally he should have been pulled out of active service earlier, not made an example of in this manner.It’s like a show trial, and for my money it’s politicians who should be standing with him for aiding and abetting by putting the men in an un-winnable and bloodthirsty war.

  6. But if he was that far gone emotionally and mentally he should have been pulled out of active service earlier

    You are adding a hypothetical conditional which we don’t know to have existed.

    The Royal Marines are one of the most elite regiments in the British armed forces, supposedly amongst the most professional armed forces in the world.

    This guy murdered another man in cold blood and was punished appropriately for his crime. All the talk about the war and politicians won’t change that fact.

    Your comments regarding the camera suggests that it was okay to murder the Taliban guy but not get caught. Do I understand this correctly?

  7. Meanwhile, Blair and Bush and the rest of the real warlords remain free and rich.

    As I said before, this wasn’t a young Marine succuming to stress on his first tour. This is a 39 year old NCO and veteran of many tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, ie the very backbone of the corps. That he finally did something like this, that his judgement went to awry, or that he no longer cared, raises questions about the increasing workload in war zones of a diminishing force.

    The questions won’t be asked though, because that would implicate the top brass and politicians, and they don’t get paid the big bucks to be responsible when NCOs can cop it all.

  8. Pete

    That he finally did something like this, that his judgement went to awry, or that he no longer cared, raises questions about the increasing workload in war zones of a diminishing force.

    Agreed and those questions need asking and answering.

  9. “Your comments regarding the camera suggests that it was okay to murder the Taliban guy but not get caught. Do I understand this correctly?”

    No you don’t understand that correctly. I mean that either he didn’t think what he was doing was wrong (unbelievable I agree) or it didn’t register that the cameras would lead to his conviction.
    As regards the regiment being elite doesn’t mean anything much if the man or men haven’t experienced the same kind of fighting.
    Just look at what the Mujahideen did to the Russians in Afghanistan.

    Do I detect a note of vindictive glee in that comment of yours?
    Surely not.

  10. Meanwhile, Blair and Bush and the rest of the real warlords remain free and rich.

    Yes, a Nobel Peace Prize cannot be too far away. They gave one to Kissinger (1973: the day that satire died) and then to Obama (2009).

  11. Haven’t experienced the same kind of fighting.

    It was his sixth tour of Afghanistan. Hardly inexperienced?

    Do I detect a note of vindictive glee in that comment of yours?

    I’m not sure which comment you’re referring to but no, no vindictive glee was meant . . . . even though you’d probably like it to be.

  12. “It was his sixth tour of Afghanistan. Hardly inexperienced?”
    So if it was his sixth tour and he had an exemplary record (he did didn’t he?) maybe it was indeed burnout or battle fatigue.

    “even though you’d probably like it to be.”
    Not even a smidgin of Republican whataboutery? Aslight upward curl of the lip??

    I based that comment on your admirable determination to “defend the cause” no matter what, and your incredible memory regarding every act of oppression -real or imagined by the British….

  13. He could have pled some psychological claim but did not. He knew he was doing wrong and did it. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that he had had a admirable service record, but the crime can not be excused because of it.

  14. Not even a smidgin of Republican whataboutery? Aslight upward curl of the lip??

    No, Whataboutery about what?

    It’s good to see that your persistence on introducing the Irish and Irish Republicanism to a lot of subjects I comment on still exists however irrelevant it may be to the subject.

    Mahons hits the nail on the head 100%

  15. If he had become bitter or vindictive or callous it is doubtful that it happened overnight. It would surely have been noticed by somebody.
    That he should be punished there is no doubt. It’s just a terrible wayto end a militart career which up to that point had been distinguished. Somebody should have picked up on this sooner perhaps.

  16. It’s just a terrible wayto end a militart career which up to that point had been distinguished.

    I reckon the fate of the guy he murdered was probably worse.

  17. “Mahons hits the nail on the head 100%”

    It’s a good alternative opinion, but then he doesn’t have “previous” for displaying a negative attitude towards the British.
    But I’m working on it.

  18. “I reckon the fate of the guy he murdered was probably worse.”

    We shall never know. If he was devout he may have had a very different attitude to death.

  19. It’s a good alternative opinion, but then he doesn’t have “previous” for displaying a negative attitude towards the British

    What’s that cobblers all about?

    We shall never know. If he was devout he may have had a very different attitude to death

    That why I gave my opinion and not his.

  20. Care to elaborate on that or was it just a throwaway comment because you couldn’t think of something to say?

  21. I don’t think I have ever read a comment of yours where you have had something positive to say about our military.
    Or if you have I never noticed it. Perhaps because all of your mentions about the British army are only and ever in the context of the British in Ireland.

  22. I don’t think I have ever read a comment of yours where you have had something positive to say about our military

    Being critical of the British Army and / or British policy in Ireland is not ‘displaying a negative attitude towards the British’

    You should learn to distinguish individual concepts.

  23. I think it is strange that there was no stress/temporary insanity plea.
    Although the blasé nature of his behaviour caught on tape probably would have made that difficult.

    On occasion, truly insane accused won’t plead insanity as they don’t realise they are. Must make for an interesting quandary for the lawyers. (Although Aileen Wournos’s legal representative seemed to be nearly as bonkers as her.)

  24. As others here have touched upon, I’d like to add that, those in the upper echelons of both the military, civil service and politics some very searching questions.

    The British Army went to Afghanistan, and later Iraq, very poorly equipt and with very little idea of post reconstruction and dealing with terrorist threats.

    In both cases, the ‘war’ was one but the peace well and truly lost. The MSM, and consequently the politicians just lost interest. Afghanistan became an almost forgotten war, except to those who were fighting it.

    The men, and sometimes the women, were left to fight an enemy on both sides. The Taliban and those in Whitehall and the MOD. The Generals are the ones who are particularly to blame. Too busy trying to equip our forces to fight the Russians.

    A man, who I have never heard of, gets more coverage because he has come out as being gay, than all the wounded servicemen get in their entirety. The MSM deal only in gossip, not news. You want news, go elsewhere ! http://www.michaelyon-online.com/

    I was not in Afghanistan and neither I suspect was anyone commenting above me. We simply cannot judge. No one here has seen their friends killed and betrayed by those above them. Even those in the Afghan Army and Police cannot be trusted. Try living from moment too moment, wondering if it might be your last. The stress soon builds up and something does indeed snap.

    Some here might do well to read some of Micheal Yon’s Articles. It might just help make some people understand.

  25. Oddly enough the Americans aren’t so squeamish about bumping off the enemy:
    I remember seeing footage of some GI’s in a house shooting dead a wounded Iraqi soldier during the battle of Fallujah.
    It was well publicised, and I don’t remember any outrage at the time.

  26. No, but they are also a Christian country and I assume they abide by the Geneva Conventions too.

  27. To be clear: I can understand a soldier killing his opponent in the heat of battle, even to the extent of shooting a wounded enemy who is still armed and has not surrendered.

    But shooting a defenceless prisoner will always be murder and it is depressing to see some here as apologists-cheerleaders for that.

  28. In a nutshell David thinks our soldiers should be afforded the same moral latitude as the Taliban and jihadists, therefore rendering any moral superiority for our cause as nought.

  29. I’m just drawing a comparison Peter.

    In any case, was this Taliban bloke a real ‘prisoner’ in the conventional sense? They came across him on the battlefield, after a US helicopter strike.

    Sgt Blackman was out-of-order (a military term). After court-martial why not strip him of his rank/expel him from the army/confiscate his pension etc?

    Ten years in clink doesn’t seem fair to me.

  30. But shooting a defenceless prisoner will always be murder

    Worth repeating – allowing for exception of capital punishment (something I oppose but it isn’t murder.

  31. Bernard (and Aileen?)

    It seems you think that the Geneva Convention does not apply to our troops in Afghanistan.

    I’m afraid we will have to differ.

  32. In any case, was this Taliban bloke a real ‘prisoner’ in the conventional sense? They came across him on the battlefield, after a US helicopter strike

    That’s interesting Bernard. What would your solution have been to this ‘unconvential’ situation?

  33. Gary Gilmer was a defenceless prisoner when shot. It wasn’t murder. It was the exception to your comment which I otherwise agreed with. Agreed with so much so that I repeated it.

  34. Sorry Aileen, blame my Asbergers, but:

    Worth repeating – allowing for exception of capital punishment (something I oppose but it isn’t murder.

    Is that not a defence of the soldier who was convicted of murder?

  35. Yes I agree in part Peter, but there’s such a thing as ‘extenuating circumstances’.
    The guy was not a thug with a record of brutal behaviour.
    He was in a ‘no-holds-barred’ guerilla war with an implacable enemy.

    The whole episode has been a kneejerk reaction to assuage public sentiments; (But oddly enough he has the ‘public’s’ full support for the most part).

  36. I completely agree with Peter’s 8:04 comment and find Mark B’s thoughts relevant as well.

    While we should not condone what this service member did, our better natures ought show some compassion for the men fighting the front lines of this completely screwed up war. We don’t know what he’s experienced or the trauma he’s suffered as a result. PSTD is real and considering the long and repetitive tours demanded by our military (UK/US) it’s somewhat surprising that these types of incidents aren’t more common.

  37. Peter

    No

    I knew what you meant and was agreeing with that but my Aspergers wouldn’t let me just agree with what you had typed, without excluding that exception. The exception did not apply to this soldier.

  38. What would ‘I’ do Paul??

    That’s easy: I’d try and get a Catholic priest to give him the Last Rites. If that didn’t kill him with shame then I’d sit down and have to watch him bleed to death.

  39. .. and, of course, assuming that the shooter is sane and knows the target is defenceless and the shooting was intentional. Which applied in this situation (AFAIK)

  40. The court judged that he chose to kill a man who was in a situation of no threat to him. That is murder, and the conviction and sentence is just and appropriate. Emotion rightfully is irrelevent.

  41. //WHY WE CAN NEVER WIN A WAR AGAIN….//

    The nature of war is changing all the time. The British won a few battles in WWII but since then never had to face an enemy more or less equally equipped and trained. If they want to win a future war, they better start preparing for one, and that doesn’t mean getting bigger and better high-tech weapons.

  42. Noel, in Afghanistan we have essentially lost to a people less equipped with little, if any formal training at all.

    I think the lesson comes in recognizing that formal wars waged between state forces are no equivalence to guerrilla wars fought between determined indigenous people keen to retain their autonomy and invading foreigners seeking to export enlightened democratic progress.

  43. Daphne the armed forces already know the laws of low intensity warfare and counter insurgency. The tactics used are often dubious and often brutal. Murders such as this are matter of fact in the last decade in iraq and afghanistan. Mostly they go undocumented, but not this one.

  44. Daphne, that’s what I meant. Someone here was bemoaning that the British were sent to Afgh. and Iraq underequipped, others that their tours of duty were too long. But they weren’t nearly as underequipped nor were their “tours of duty” as long as those of the guys on the other side.
    DT is also right that this kind of murder has obviously happened far more often than is reported.

    If they really want to win, they have to be trained and equipped to win the famous “hearts and minds” of the people. That’s much more difficult than shooting them, of course, but if modern armies aren’t able to do that, they should stay at home.

  45. ” The British won a few battles in WWII but since then never had to face an enemy more or less equally equipped and trained.”

    Once again ignorance is bliss! Noel, have you never heard of the Korean War? – fought some years after WWII, and against an enemy who was equally, and in some respects better equipped and trained than the UN forces. Have you forgotten the heroics of the Glorious Glosters and others, notably the exploits of Pte Bill Speakman, who later received a VC for his bravery.

  46. I would put the Falklands War, certainly at least before the landings as an example of a situation of equilibrium. The Argentinian air force was well equipped It was by no means certain that the task force would be able to succeed in landing on the Falklands and had the Argentinians succeeded in attacking and sinking a few more ships Britain’s mission would have been doomed.

  47. Someone here was bemoaning that the British were sent to Afgh. and Iraq underequipped, others that their tours of duty were too long. But they weren’t nearly as underequipped nor were their “tours of duty” as long as those of the guys on the other side.

    A very well made point Noel.

  48. “We can never win a war again!”

    What a title and what a prospect!

    Perhaps we have become just too civilised for our own good, because any of our potential enemies are equally aware of that fact.

    So what is the prospect for our future should we be confronted with a determined foe? Do we just concede or do we wait until those who advocate the civilised approach have had their their turn on the front line, using their powers of persuasion rather than spilling enemy blood. From warfare to crusades to missionary expeditions, all have been tried and failed.

    Goodness knows we have tried almost everything possible. and we still have the same old problems that we have had since time immemorial, – whatever we have used to fix such problems of aggresion, none seem to be very long lasting.

    Two Euro wars in one century and against the same enemy – now that was some solution wasn’t it, and even then we seem to be, once again back at square one!

    Of course if we could actual define what causes a war we might be closer to abolishing it. So far it seems to be greed, greed for power, and the love of materialism, that is the fuse, but there must be more to it than that, – could it be, indeed I’m sure it must be, something to do with respect, or rather the lack of it, for each other and that urge to interfere in others affairs – the urge to show them ‘how it’s done’. In other words that ‘We know best’.

    Who knows, if the current trends for ever increasing growth and use of dwindling natural resources continues, we may never have to fight, let alone to win, another war. Our own demise might well be the solution.

    The prospect seems to favour increases in local indigenous terrorism rather than international warfare, especially as the decline of faith in ‘leaderships’ seems to be pretty generalised globally.

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