/ Marine found guilty of execution/murder

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Kimono - on 09 Nov 2013
Am surprised there doesnt seem to be any discussion of this on UKC, what with the number of forces guys (and gals?) on here.

Anyway, my tuppence worth is that, although at first i was pretty shocked by it and thought he pretty much deserved having the book thrown at him, i find myself swayed by the words of the retired Marines commander pleading for some leniency in sentencing.

I guess, if you havent been out there and been through what these guys have, then im not sure you can really have a valid view-point.
If we want to train these guys up to be killers and throw them into the theatre of war, then i guess things are not always going to go smoothly and thus maybe they arent always fully responsible for their actions.

A tricky one...
abr1966 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: agree....to some extent! He was totally out of order and as a sergeant has to maintain the standards for all. I do have some empathy for him though, it's a mrssy and stressful place to be and i wouldn't have had any issue with not administering first aid but slotting him was wrong. I hope there is some leniency in the sentance..
Kimono - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
Can i assume from your use of the word 'slotting' that you are forces/ex-forces yourself?
Or do you just watch too many war-films? :)

abr1966 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: served
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

War is hell. We send some of our least capable people to do the most difficult of jobs. What could possibly go wrong?
abr1966 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: least capable? What do you mean by that?
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to abr1966:

I mean by that when I was at school some kids were looking to be doctors, lawers etc., the kids that I knew ended up going in the army seemed "less capable".
In reply to Kimono: I was surprised at the lack of a thread too. We can't tolerate such actions as a society, but neither should be surprised that they happen. Sad situation all round.
Simon4 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: War is morally corrosive, always has been.

That is why we should only ever enter into it where there really is no alternative to protect our country and allied countries, not for some frivolous or politically convenient reason.

When you have testosterone filled young men in a very dangerous situation for a long time, sometimes things snap. I don't doubt the comments from the forces people that lots of efforts have been made to control this effect, it even seems to be internalised, but it will still apply, and occasionally break down, especially if the culture seems to permit or encourage attrocities.

During WW II, looting, rape and murder of POWs were certainly committed by allied forces. Far less than the organised savagery of the Nazis or the Russians, also attempts were made (with varying success and determination), to control it, certainly it wasn't officially condoned or even encouraged as it clearly was with the Nazis or Soviets, but it happened, especially to when the enemy was perceived as especially fanatical or savage themselves, like SS troops or almost all of the Japanese.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon4: Been re-reading Band of Brothers, which is quite interesting and plausible about the behaviour of US troops (81st Airborne?) in Europe.

Well worth a read.

As for the perpetrator - it's very easy to imagine that happening. No doubt it happened many times in the past, we should be thankful that it is now becoming more likely to be reported - and condemned. The better angels of our nature, indeed.
drunken monkey - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: What ended up to your mates who wanted to be doctors and lawyers?
abr1966 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to abr1966)
>
> I mean by that when I was at school some kids were looking to be doctors, lawers etc., the kids that I knew ended up going in the army seemed "less capable".

Depends on what you mean by 'capable' of course! The competencies to bevome a lawyer are different to becoming a soldier or leading soldiers on a front line...! I knew a number of graduates though when i served...
drunken monkey - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: Lets not forget - There are Doctors and indeed Lawyers in the Armed Forces. Are these folk any less "capable"?
Simon4 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey: I can well understand the resentment at the comment. I have on a number of occasions climbed with forces people, they are excellent to have around in a tight spot.
SethChili - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: I recognise that summarily executing enemy combatants is wrong and the marine who was convicted obviously knew what he was doing .
However , I have absolutely no sympathy for the dead fighter : The Taliban are extremely unpleasant people who have killed 400+ British troops and many more from the US and other coalition nations . They have no interest in peace , place no value on human life , take no prisoners and when they were in power made Afghanistan poor and miserable .
I was surprised a marine was involved , they are supposed to be the 'Thinking man's soldier ''
sbc_10 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> I have on a number of occasions climbed with forces people, they are excellent to have around in a tight spot.

Fully agree with that. Human capabilities are rarely pushed to the extremes that serving soldiers encounter with regularity on tours of duty in combat zones. They have my respect.
There are some lawyers, undoubtedly capable at what they do,that don't.
dollydog - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: i believe he killed the injured enemy was a spontaneous gesture;i wonder how a lawyer would perform as a soldier is expected to operate at war?
shaggypops - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
We send some of our least capable people to do the most difficult of jobs. ......what a stupid and insulting comment. Two nephews of mine are Royal Marines.....several tours to Afgan between them and both very capable of carrying out their duties.

In reply to JLS: I was in the Infantry for ten years with a degree from a very well known British university and am now a doctor in NHS who also works in the Army still. If you want to call me "less capable", that's your prerogative, but it strikes me you don't really know who is in the Forces.
csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

I haven't got a lot of time for people who comment on this stuff without having at least worn the uniform. Even then all you're doing is commenting on someone else's version of events. My regiment has the dubious honour of having the first soldier convicted of murder on active service in Ulster - not that that makes me any kind of authority. Anyway - for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him apart from the possibility that interrogating him first might have been useful.
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In reply to csw: I totally disagree. It's understandable that having experienced something will give you greater insight, but a situation where only those involved can discuss issues like this is most unhealthy. An outside perspective is essential, unless you want to end up with a seriously skewed culture.
csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:

I'll grant you that, but I wasn't saying that people should be barred from discussing it - only that for the most part, the people doing the discussing have about as much idea of what they're talking about, as I do about childbirth.
Skip - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:
> (In reply to csw) I totally disagree. It's understandable that having experienced something will give you greater insight, but a situation where only those involved can discuss issues like this is most unhealthy. An outside perspective is essential, unless you want to end up with a seriously skewed culture.

Correct
r0x0r.wolfo - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity: I agree completely.
Denni on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:

I know 4 serving paratroopers/special forces chaps that are all qualified doctors, they just wanted to do something else.
Mr Lopez - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to Kimono)
>
> Anyway - for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him apart from the possibility that interrogating him first might have been useful.

> I haven't got a lot of time for people who comment on this stuff without having at least worn the uniform.

Wow... I truly hope you are not representative of the average soldier
Dave 88 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Submit to Gravity:

As a climber though, does it not grip you when non-climbers spout off about Joe Simpson getting his rope cut, casualties getting abandoned at altitude, how we are irresponsible for climbing and a burden on MRT etc etc.

You can't hand on heart tell me you don't think "shut up, you haven't done it so you don't have a clue what you're on about". If I'm honest, I know I do.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Kimono)
>
> War is hell. We send some of our least capable people to do the most difficult of jobs. What could possibly go wrong?

FFS.

IainRUK - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez: There's FB groups saying free him.. they deserved it etc.. don't read the pages.. not great.

I feel for the guy to a point, probably severe PTSD but I don't know, but we don't do that, it was murder. Maybe there were mitigating circumstances with the stress, but it was still murder.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
On the one hand you need a standard of behaviour, Geneva convention, call it what you will, that dictates how one should maintain a semblance of civility in an uncivil situation.
However their you are in a place where people are more than happy to shoot you, blow you up etc. and when you find one of these people seriously injured, possibly going to die anyway, the temptation to just shoot them has to be huge
Trangia - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

What he did was murder and unacceptable particularly as a Sergeant he should have been setting an example. He knew he had broken the Geneva Convention and, immediately afterwards, said so when he tried to coerce the others into keeping quiet about the incident. Having said that given the brutality of war and the effect it can have on the most level headed of people I agree that a life sentence would be too much, although against that 5 years seems too short given the gravity of the crime. It's also important to remember that too lenient a sentence sends out the wrong message to our allies and enemies, and those who seek to criticise the morality of Britain's involvement in such theatres.

Against this think what would probably have happened if this Marine had been injured and fallen into the Taleban's hands? He would probably have been beaten up, then beheaded and the execution filmed and shown on worldwide TV.

War is so brutal that you can't judge actions stemming from it against so called "civilised" behaviour.
The New NickB - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> Wow... I truly hope you are not representative of the average soldier

I am sure they are no more representative than the MD special forces soldiers friends of Denni's.

The forces people I have known over the years have ranged from monumentally stupid to intelligent and thoughtful, violent psychopaths to gentle and caring.
The New NickB - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to Submit to Gravity)
>
> As a climber though, does it not grip you when non-climbers spout off about Joe Simpson getting his rope cut, casualties getting abandoned at altitude, how we are irresponsible for climbing and a burden on MRT etc etc.
>
> You can't hand on heart tell me you don't think "shut up, you haven't done it so you don't have a clue what you're on about". If I'm honest, I know I do.

No you explain, if you can't explain, you need to start asking yourself questions.
IainRUK - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to Kimono)
>
> What he did was murder and unacceptable particularly as a Sergeant he should have been setting an example. He knew he had broken the Geneva Convention and, immediately afterwards, said so when he tried to coerce the others into keeping quiet about the incident. Having said that given the brutality of war and the effect it can have on the most level headed of people I agree that a life sentence would be too much, although against that 5 years seems too short given the gravity of the crime. It's also important to remember that too lenient a sentence sends out the wrong message to our allies and enemies, and those who seek to criticise the morality of Britain's involvement in such theatres.
>
> Against this think what would probably have happened if this Marine had been injured and fallen into the Taleban's hands? He would probably have been beaten up, then beheaded and the execution filmed and shown on worldwide TV.
>
> War is so brutal that you can't judge actions stemming from it against so called "civilised" behaviour.

Course you can.. that's the whole point of the geneva convention. There are mitigating circumstances so punishments should take into account that, even treatment options may be preferable to punishments in extreme cases.

Yes the Taliban would have done worse.. I don't see what argument that is.

Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Mr Lopez)
> [...]
>
> I am sure they are no more representative than the MD special forces soldiers friends of Denni's.
>
> The forces people I have known over the years have ranged from monumentally stupid to intelligent and thoughtful, violent psychopaths to gentle and caring.

Its like trying to pick a representative football fan.
Dave 88 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

But again to use the climbing analogy, do you not just find that some people are so removed from what you do as a hobby that they just do not get it. Read some of the crazy readers' comments on newspaper articles about climbing.

I've tried explaining the rationale behind to the Siula Grande incident to non-climbers and they simply cannot comprehend it.
IainRUK - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88: Nonsensical argument. The taking of a life is wrong. OK in war people get killed, not murdered.

Re Jo simpson, not really. When say talking about the finer points of climbing, or football, then yes experience does make a difference. But when talking about such a basic principle of not taking a life, unless under direct threat, or an act of war, then I think that is general enough.

Lets remember he had a fair trial, it was recorded. The guy was restrained and executed in cold blood.
Firestarter on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Kimono)
>
> War is hell. We send some of our least capable people to do the most difficult of jobs. What could possibly go wrong?

I would like to think your comment is just poorly worded. If not, I take offence. I served for 25 years in what I would consider to be an organisation that was fairly representative of civilian society. Yes we did have those who would pick up their bergans, run up and down hills because they were told too.
Then there were those who did the telling. Then those who fixed them when they were broken, mended their machines, commanded whole regiments/squadrons/fleets of them, and represented them in the highest courts of the land, parliament and indeed in Royal circles.

Less capable, hmm.

teflonpete - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

I've heard excerpts from the sound recording of the incident and it's not good. The sergeant sounds quite lucid and calculating throughout. Obviously, that's only part of the whole episode but from what he said at the time he was fully aware that he was illegally taking a life. There may well be a strong set of mitigating circumstances, but this incident isn't the sort of behaviour we've grown to expect from our military.
Dave 88 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

No no, I'm not talking about this specific incident, just responding to what was said earlier in the thread about people commenting on things that happen in the armed forces if they haven't been in the armed forces.

I was just trying to give examples of how as climbers we get frustrated by non-climbers passing judgement on climbing, with no experience of it themselves. This is general, not specifically about this case.
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SethChili - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
I think we are agreed that shooting the insurgent/fighter was wrong , but I still think that the vast majority of the public have no idea of the pressures and mental stress of being deployed to an environment where any step could be your last (i.e.d threat) and the enemy is indistinguishable from the civilian population .
The whole 'hearts and minds' ethos removed the possibility of decisive military victory for ISAF and the Afghan population as a whole is still very tribal and uneasy about being governed centrally by elected leaders .
Add to this the fact that most troops are being payed less than a cashier at Tesco and you have the perfect situation for breakdown of discipline and merciless retaliation against captured enemies.
Trangia - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

The Geneva Convention might be regarded as an aboration as it tries to lay down rules about how the ultimate crime of war should be conducted. Looking at it objectively it beggars belief that humankind can sit down together and make "Rules" about how it is going to conduct wars, yet seems unable to make and abide by the only sensible "Rule" - no war......

But the human race seems to be incapable of viewing itself objectively
Mr Lopez - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88:

Lol!

I'm gonna start a thread on mumsnet.com about Greg on that D13 route and whinge if anyone disagrees "because i have no time for non-climbers opinions"
Dave 88 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Mr Lopez:

I do it all the time, it's a right laugh! They gave me so much abuse about Franco's E10, till Dave Birkett went on there and set them straight!
IainRUK - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Kimono)
> I think we are agreed that shooting the insurgent/fighter was wrong , but I still think that the vast majority of the public have no idea of the pressures and mental stress of being deployed to an environment where any step could be your last (i.e.d threat) and the enemy is indistinguishable from the civilian population .
>

I totally agree.. but wasn't it a court martial.

I think we can judge murder is wrong, but agree the severity of the punishment/treatment options should come from those with experience.
Mr Lopez - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Yeah, i know what you mean.

I took a job at McDonalds cooking burgers, and you are not going to believe it, but to my horror, when i started working i had to cook burgers! For a full 8 hours a day!! In a kitchen!!! You know, with heat!!!!! And people waiting for the burgers!!!!!!!!!

It really becomes too much sometimes, so to relieve the pressure now i just pee on the burgers. It's wrong, but it helps me through it all. I hope you understand and don't mind it. And if you don't... Well, you weren't there, so who are you to judge me.
Donnie - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: the guy was clearly was just quite keen on killing people. no sympathy at all. also to those judging the guy they shot... you don't know how he got to be where he was.
csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
> (In reply to csw)
> On the one hand you need a standard of behaviour, Geneva convention, call it what you will, that dictates how one should maintain a semblance of civility in an uncivil situation.
> However their you are in a place where people are more than happy to shoot you, blow you up etc. and when you find one of these people seriously injured, possibly going to die anyway, the temptation to just shoot them has to be huge

I realise I'm on the unpopular side of this discussion, and I have no idea of the actual circumstances surrounding the incident, but there are situations to which the Geneva convention doesn't apply so neatly. Also soldiers tend towards pragmatism rather than idealism. This wasn't My Lai or a drone strike on a wedding or a barrage of tomahawks to inspire shock and awe, aka terror. There are times when taking a prisoner and waiting around for a chopper to take him away could endanger the lives of the unit - I don't know if that was on the commanders mind at the time, but I do know I'd never leave someone behind me that was capable of pulling a trigger or arming a grenade. Yes they might have called him nasty names before they shot him, but that doesn't prove much - I once saw a guy calling a rabbit all the bastards under the son and accuse him of killing his friends - Why? It was survival training and the rabbit was his rations for the next few days. If these guys wanted to be vindictive they had a lot more options than a round to the centre of mass.

It's not nice, but this is what wars are like and there's never been one where it hasn't happened, nor do I believe there will be - either way, there's a huge difference between finishing off a wounded combatant and what gets euphemistically referred to as "collateral damage" I'll start taking this sort of thing seriously when they start putting drone operators on trial
drunken monkey - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: Fully aware it's the Daily Mail and the report is full of pictures of Para's!! However, this is pretty close to the truth and i've spoken to guys who have been in similar situations in Sangin, Kajaki, and Musa Qala districts.
Running out of ammo was a constant fear for these guys, and they were almost over-run on a fairly regular basis. Must have been pretty damn exciting.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2493892/Taliban-hung-mates-body-parts-trees-months-hell-Horr...
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne: As is often the case Mr B, I think you are spot on.

I'm not a soldier and never have been, but if I'd had 6 stressful months of pretty charmless people trying to kill me in various unpleasant ways and I came across one, as you say, probably fatally wounded anyway, ... I wouldn't give odds on me doing 'the right thing.'
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter & others:

Sorry my, mistake. Squadies are the salt of the Earth and it's trurlly shocking when any of them misbehave or God forbid allow their high moral standards to slip and resort to gratuitous violence.
Firestarter on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:

That I agree to. And thanks for your apology.
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to Submit to Gravity)
>
> As a climber though, does it not grip you when non-climbers spout off about Joe Simpson getting his rope cut, casualties getting abandoned at altitude, how we are irresponsible for climbing and a burden on MRT etc etc.
>
> You can't hand on heart tell me you don't think "shut up, you haven't done it so you don't have a clue what you're on about". If I'm honest, I know I do.

Yes, agreed, but it's not so much a discussion about technical details as a wider discussion about morals, culture etc. In a way it's analogous with cheating footballers becoming pundits and then commenting on cheating footballers.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Firestarter & others)
>
> Sorry my, mistake. Squadies are the salt of the Earth and it's trurlly shocking when any of them misbehave or God forbid allow their high moral standards to slip and resort to gratuitous violence.

Naaa. No banana. No one here has said that and your above statement doesn't change the effing stupid one you made earlier.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:


"In the UK, infantry units have traditionally promoted aggression as a desirable trait and such units frequently recruit individuals who are socially disadvantaged and are likely to have low educational attainment."

Dr Deirdre MacManus, who led the study, said: "Our study found that violent offending was most common among young men from the lower ranks of the army and was strongly associated with a history of violent offending before joining the military. Serving in a combat role and traumatic experiences on deployment also increased the risk of violent behaviour."

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/15/soldiers-convicted-violent-offences-report
drunken monkey - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: From your same article:

"It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to characterise all veterans living with PTSD as potential criminals. As noted in the report the vast majority [83%] of serving and ex-serving UK military personnel do not have any sort of criminal record, and the likelihood of violent behaviour is lower among older veterans [aged over 45] than in the general population. What we require now is continued public education to reduce any negative connotations with seeking help for mental health issues, as well as sustained funding for services for veterans."

Kimono - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
> Serving in a combat role and traumatic experiences on deployment also increased the risk of violent behaviour."

And the winner of this years 'no sh1t Sherlock' award goes to...


JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

I stand by my point, we send SOME of our least capable people to war.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to drunken monkey)
>
> I stand by my point, we send SOME of our least capable people to war.

Again, totally invalid and not the point you were making earlier.
drunken monkey - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: Capable in what? We've got one of the best armed forces in the world, commanded by some of the worst politicians.
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JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

>"not the point you were making earlier."

How's is not the point I made earlier? It's practical the same wording as I used earlier FFS.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: 'In the UK, infantry units have traditionally promoted aggression as a desirable trait and such units frequently recruit individuals who are socially disadvantaged and are likely to have low educational attainment.'

Where or when in the entire world throughout history has this NOT been the case?
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> >"not the point you were making earlier."
>
> How's is not the point I made earlier? It's practical the same wording as I used earlier FFS.

Well, even you must realise that practically the same isn't THE same.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

>"Capable in what?"

Capable of making their way in the world without the army to keep them out of trouble.

I'm sure there are lots of very capable people ALSO in the army.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Sorry, I can't see any inconsistencies in my posts and I'm struggling to see how you've managed to read TWO DIFFERENT points in my posts.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:

We are going to allow some of our least capable people to vote in the upcoming Scottish independence referendum.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>"Where or when in the entire world throughout history has this NOT been the case?"

I agree but I'm not sure of the relevance here.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

>"We are going to allow some of our least capable people to vote in the upcoming Scottish independence referendum."

However I suspect we'll only issue them with polling cards and not guns.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> >"We are going to allow some of our least capable people to vote in the upcoming Scottish independence referendum."
>
> However I suspect we'll only issue them with polling cards and not guns.

Ahhh. But you didn't identify what you meant by "least capable". Some of the most intelligent people I know should never be allowed to carry a gun.

See, the problem with your first post is that it inferred a deep rooted perception that those who serve in the armed forces lack a certain level of intelligence and you did nothing to qualify it so those of us who have served have taken some offence.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

>"you did nothing to qualify it"

Doesn't the word SOME qualify as qualifing it? :-)
Timmd on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne) As is often the case Mr B, I think you are spot on.
>
> I'm not a soldier and never have been, but if I'd had 6 stressful months of pretty charmless people trying to kill me in various unpleasant ways and I came across one, as you say, probably fatally wounded anyway, ... I wouldn't give odds on me doing 'the right thing.'

I'm trying to imagine what I'd do if I'd had a friend or friends killed and was in the same situation as the Sargeant. I wouldn't go to war in the first place, so hopefully I wouldn't have killed him, but I'd take the death of a friend or just somebody I'd spent much time with pretty hard. If you can end up hating the people who fire at you to kill you, and have killed your friends or some of the people you serve with, it could take a lot of character to do the right thing.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> >"you did nothing to qualify it"
>
> Doesn't the word SOME qualify as qualifing it? :-)

But you didn't write "SOME", you wrote "some" and if you can't spot the difference in interpretation as a result then perhaps your aren't as capable as you might think to hold this argument.
shaggypops - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: do you really think any 'least capable' recruit would come through training at CTC Lympstone? It prepares them for whatever may be asked of them. Who would be more capable of serving on the front line? I only talk of the Royal Marines training although all our forces basic training ain't gonna be strop in the park.
shaggypops - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to shaggypops: stroll not strop
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to shaggypops:

>"prepares them for whatever may be asked of them"

Well assuming they are asked to not shoot prisoners, in this case, the training has failed.
csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> >"you did nothing to qualify it"
>
> Doesn't the word SOME qualify as qualifing it? :-)

Not really - "Least capable" can mean a lot of things. In fact it can mean so many things that as it stands it's pretty meaningless, which implies a certain lack of intelligence on the part of the person uttering it. So - rather than try to defend such a nebulous piece of nonsense, why not qualify it now? What exactly do you mean by "The least capable people". I'm going to guess you'll pass on actually supplying a definition, because at a guess you have no idea of the qualities required in a soldier, and therefore no idea what makes one capable or otherwise.

I like climbing - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
After watching a news report on this I was left with the opinion that I had just seen a war crime committed. He is guilty.
The problem with the army is that many of the wrong people get taken on. He was simply another.
War is unpleasant but if you take the right people on they don't behave like this.
JLS on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

>"why not qualify it now?"

See my post 18:49
Firestarter on 09 Nov 2013

> The problem with the army is that many of the wrong people get taken on.

And what pearl of wisdom are you basing that statement on? Wrong means what? Are you aware of recruitment criteria concerning substance abuse and criminal record? Someone behaves illegally after maybe 15 or 20 years of service (after having witnessed/been subjected to what most of the population couldn't imagine in their worst nightmares) - how would the recruiter possibly recognise that some 20 years before the event?

Apologies but I fail to see how your statement is a)useful or b)correct.


Dave 88 - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to I like climbing:
> (In reply to Kimono)

> The problem with the army is that many of the wrong people get taken on. He was simply another.

He wasn't in the army.

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I like climbing - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter:
I appreciate that my statement may be inflammatory to some people on here but that is how I feel. I've been in a war and I know how horrible it is.
The huge number of allegations and history of proven wrong doing by the army shows that they have taken the wrong people on in my opinion.
I like climbing - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
What was he in then and why the military court ?
shaggypops - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter: I agree...it's neither
shaggypops - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to I like climbing: the Navy.....Royal Marine
I like climbing - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to shaggypops:
Thanks. I will rephrase that. The services take many of the wrong kind of people on.
malk - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: what's the ukc verdict then? a couple of years?
csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS:
> (In reply to csw)
>
> >"why not qualify it now?"
>
> See my post 18:49


Seen it.

"Capable of making their way in the world without the army to keep them out of trouble"

Sounds almost as if it means something, but actually doesn't say so much. You seem to have nothing to say, but seem to be determined to say it anyway. You should go into advertising :)

csw on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to malk:
> (In reply to Kimono) what's the ukc verdict then? a couple of years?

Life sentence - early parole

SethChili - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: This thread has descended into the typical nit picking and pointless tit tat and has ceased to be a platform for useful debate . Most of the posters (myself included ) don't have a clue about the real situation or issues on the ground and therefore any points we may make are not really valid .

My verdict (this is the internet age and you will hear my opinion whether you like it or not)
: Terrorists are Bad . Shooting injured people is Bad . Even shooting injured terrorists is Bad.
Firestarter on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:

debate takes many roads - surely the entire purpose of it is to explore whichever one(s) you get taken down. And I have read your opinion. Which of course you are entitled to. As is everyone else who posts. Like that or not.
David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Kimono)
> I think we are agreed that shooting the insurgent/fighter was wrong , but I still think that the vast majority of the public have no idea of the pressures and mental stress

That is the responsibility you bear when given weapons. Whether its stressful or not, tough luck. A surgeon's job is stressful, as is that of a police officer, pilot, public speaker, banker, etc. You screw up you bear the consequences. Simply turning around and saying the task was difficult isn't really satisfactory. The justifications you're giving are no different than those used after Mai Lai and could just as easily be used by the Taliban to justify their own actions.

I take the complete opposite view from you in fact. Shooting the insurgent, if anything, was the least "morally" wrong event that occurred. Insurgents, and people far more innocent than insurgents, are shot or blown to bits by us every other day and no doubt severely wounded are finished off on a regular basis. Joe Public doesn't care because he doesn't have (or want) to hear its happening.

The wringing of hands is probably more a result of this one going public rather than any actual distress it causes us. The socially acceptable reaction is to express "shock" or "outrage". But the request for leniency kind of undermines that, in my opinion. I very much doubt the general public wants a lot more rocks looked under for this sort of thing.


David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne) As is often the case Mr B, I think you are spot on.
>
> I'm not a soldier and never have been, but if I'd had 6 stressful months of pretty charmless people trying to kill me in various unpleasant ways and I came across one, as you say, probably fatally wounded anyway, ... I wouldn't give odds on me doing 'the right thing.'

You think that justifies leniency? Lets turn the equation around.

You are a draftee in the Wehrmacht in occupied France. Every day the French Resistance blows up your supply trains, snipes at your colleagues and show you nothing but hatred.

Given those circumstances its acceptable for the acceptable standards of war (a joke I know, but there are acceptable standards of conduct in war) to be thrown out the window?

It didn't sound to me like he was putting the insurgent out of his misery. He seemed to be taking delight or revenge on a wounded combatant. Perhaps the dehumanisation of Afghans has been so successful that this is tolerable to the British public, but it doesn't seem to warrant leniency in my mind.

David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:

> : Terrorists are Bad . Shooting injured people is Bad . Even shooting injured terrorists is Bad.

And are all Taliban "terrorists"?

We do seem to allow ourselves a fair bit more space to dispose of "terrorists" as we wish. Space we might not give ourselves if we were dealing with "enemy combatants", "soldiers", "resistance fighters" or such-like. The language you use is important in these kinds of cases (just as if we were to refer to "Marine A" instead as "Bloodthirsty Murderer").

Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to SethChili)
>
> [...]
>
> And are all Taliban "terrorists"?
>
> We do seem to allow ourselves a fair bit more space to dispose of "terrorists" as we wish.

What utter shite.
David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

By careful use of the phrase we managed to get away with Guantanamo Bay and renditions. Something that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Likewise, the same people who fought for the Taliban often fought for our allies in the Northern Alliance. Rewind 20 years and the Taliban were great people, in the eyes of the US at least. We are even now negotiating with the Taliban. So not a stretch to assume that the Taliban range from rabid fundamentalists to goat herders simply aligning with anyone who'll kick out the unwanted foreigners.

Utter shite?
pec on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: Whilst not condoning this kind of thing, I'm not at all surprised it ocassionally happens but what the hell are they doing filming it? And if you had filmed it inadvertantly surely you would delete the footage! Now that's a serious lapse of judgement.
Minneconjou Sioux - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> By careful use of the phrase we managed to get away with Guantanamo Bay and renditions. Something that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
>
> Likewise, the same people who fought for the Taliban often fought for our allies in the Northern Alliance. Rewind 20 years and the Taliban were great people, in the eyes of the US at least. We are even now negotiating with the Taliban. So not a stretch to assume that the Taliban range from rabid fundamentalists to goat herders simply aligning with anyone who'll kick out the unwanted foreigners.
>
> Utter shite?

This explaination has nothing to do with your first assertion, that we could murder people if we called them terrorists but if we called them soldiers then we couldn't.
David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Perhaps I should re-phrase then.

I don't think many people are really that shocked by what happened - the chap being off'ed by one of ours in the manner he was. If they are its a bit hypocritical, or at best naive, to assume this was much different from what goes on on a daily basis. I don't doubt many a RM is laying in his barracks tonight thinking its all a bit f*cked up, that killing this guy just seconds before would have been worthy of a gong or mention, the next it justifies court martial. Yeah, we know about the Geneva convention and all, which we follow 'cos we're the good guys, but the fvcking Taliban deserve it and its being done every day - how can we do our jobs?

A dead Taliban is a good Taliban in most people's eyes. Why should we care that an insurgent, probably near death and far from medical care anyway, was put out of his misery? They did him a favour, which is a lot considering his ilk blow up our soldiers with ieds all the time anyway. I mean, who out there has forgotten that the Taliban were behind 9/11, are Al Qaida, and are all evil to the core?

But if that last line is changed to be more factually accurate (the Taliban not being behind 9/11, not necessarily Al Qaida, and not all evil to the core), and therefore perhaps less "terrorist" and, assuming he was even Taliban, simply an insurgent (i.e. someone fighting against those he see's as occupying his country), all the crap I spouted before that becomes a little harder to justify.

Be it Hutus referred to as cockroaches, Japanese presented as rats, depersonalising the enemy makes a difference
David Martin - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to pec:
> (In reply to Kimono) Whilst not condoning this kind of thing, I'm not at all surprised it ocassionally happens but what the hell are they doing filming it? And if you had filmed it inadvertantly surely you would delete the footage! Now that's a serious lapse of judgement.

I'm sure most of it does get deleted.

But "Lapse of judgement"? Possibly its all so normal who would think to delete it? Or perhaps it was actually a show of considerable backbone. Record, keep, distribute....not that anyone outside of the court is allowed to see it.

pec on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to pec)

> But "Lapse of judgement"? Possibly its all so normal who would think to delete it? Or perhaps it was actually a show of considerable backbone. Record, keep, distribute....not that anyone outside of the court is allowed to see it. >

I don't think he distributed it, it just got found by the police in an unrelated search and anyway its landed them with criminal records and time inside.

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Denni on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
> (In reply to Mr Lopez)
> [...]
>
> I am sure they are no more representative than the MD special forces soldiers friends of Denni's.
>
> The forces people I have known over the years have ranged from monumentally stupid to intelligent and thoughtful, violent psychopaths to gentle and caring.


Nick,
what the f*** are you talking about???

Only joking! I agree with you 100 percent. 24 years in the forces, I have worked with some seriously unhinged people to the quite brilliant. The forces need people that fit into both these categories and everything In between.

I'd like to think I was pretty much in the middle most of the time :)
csw on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> By careful use of the phrase we managed to get away with Guantanamo Bay and renditions. Something that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
>
>........
> Utter shite?

I had no idea the UK was responsible for Guantanamo bay - Are you sure about this?

drunken monkey - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to pec: Helmet cams are quite common out on patrol in recent times.

Agree that these guys have scored a massive own goal by not destroying the footage.
Antigua - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Kimono) The Taliban are extremely unpleasant people who have killed 400+ British troops and many more from the US and other coalition nations . They have no interest in peace , place no value on human life , take no prisoners and when they were in power made Afghanistan poor and miserable .

The Taliban are legitimately fighting a foreign occupying force.
NATO doesn't publish the total figure for the number of civilians it kills but well respected charities do document these death and put the figures in the 1000's per year. On killing 11 civilians 10 of which were children in an airstrike NATO said "It was aware of reports that civilians were killed, but had no immediate information about their deaths." end of.


Antigua - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
> (In reply to csw)
> However their you are in a place where people are more than happy to shoot you, blow you up etc. and when you find one of these people seriously injured, possibly going to die anyway, the temptation to just shoot them has to be huge

So where do you draw the line?

abr1966 - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Antigua: Most of the Taliban are not from Afghanistan....so are they also an occupying force!??
drunken monkey - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Antigua: the taliban ARE an occupying force. A high proportion of their fighters come from outwith Afghanistan.
If you've been to Afghanistan and spoken to the locals you'll know that as much as the do not want ISAF in the country, they do not want the taliban.
David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to David Martin)
> [...]
> >........
> [...]
>
> I had no idea the UK was responsible for Guantanamo bay - Are you sure about this?

Unfortunately, as the main US ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as British officials have reportedly conducted interrogations there, the existence of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay are very much a blight on the UK as much as the US.

nufkin - on 10 Nov 2013
A general observation; I wonder if the forces might benefit from touching on the matter of ‘moral’ behaviour when training personnel? Not necessarily for the sake of morality itself, but for the ongoing well-being of those subjected to situations such as the case under discussion.
I would imagine that, years down the line, acting with compassion in such a situation might well be of more emotional and psychological value than the short-term satisfaction of venting the fear and anger that is doubtless entirely legitimate.
I don’t know how that would sit with the need to desensitise people to the killing of other people for ‘heat of battle’ situations, but I know a lot of people who have seen active service suffer consequences after it finishes, and I think it’s something that warrants more attention, both from society as a whole and within the military itself.

It’s probably worth noting that I’m not in the military, and I take the point of those who are/have been that it’s difficult to judge if you haven’t been in that situation. I don’t mean to have a go or criticise – I’m just musing based on my personal view of things.
James Jackson on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to nufkin:
> A general observation; I wonder if the forces might benefit from touching on the matter of ‘moral’ behaviour when training personnel?

The armed forces do, and it's taken very seriously by the chain of command. See MATT 6 and 7:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/MATT
csw on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to nufkin:

I would doubt it. Most people don't need to read J.S. Mill to know right from wrong, and ethics is essentially a practical thing. What's "right" in an extreme situation might not fit easily with a theory written in some university don's chambers. I hate to use Hollywood for an example, but remember in Saving Private Ryan, where the interpreter persuades the captain not to shoot the german machine gunner at the radar site - and he subsequently turns up in the final battle to kill one of the rangers? Those situations happen - That is, sometimes we find ourselves with live enemy after a firefight and no way to take them prisoner. We don't kill prisoners - every soldier knows that, and I'm aware that some soldiers disobey that rule - but there are times when it's simply not possible to take prisoners. That doesn't go with the image of the army that's peddled to the public for PR and recruiting purposes, but the real world doesn't really care about how we want it to look.
didntcomelast on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Trangia: curious to know whether the Taliban fighters abide by the Geneva convention. ......

Suspect not some how.

It would be an interesting conflict if the NATO forces fighting in the environment they are in didn't have to abide by the convention. I suspect it would be over very quickly.
SethChili - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: To the people who are questioning if the Taliban count as terrorists , I'd say a decisive yes .
They walk into crowded places and blow themselves sky high . They plant explosives on routes used by civilian vehicles They intimidate local people and use graphic violence as 'justice' . Their time in power was characterised by threats , oppression of freedom and they banned pretty much anything and everything , from music to girls education .

I don't think many soldiers are inclined to remain stationary with a casualty from these same people . I don't think many helicopter pilots are inclined to fly risky low level evacuation missions to remove captured taliban fighters . And I doubt that many medical staff actually want to use their skills to save the lives of the terrorists they have been deployed to fight against .
But they do , 99.9 percent of the time , because they are members of one of the best armed forces in the world who know better than to stoop as low as the Taliban .
Do I feel slightly sorry for the Marine , yes , he made an idiotic choice and he is now feeling the consequences . Do I feel sorry for the Taliban fighter , no , he was fighting for a bad cause , he was already severely injured by a 30mm round from an Apache and death was probably option than rotting in an inhumane Afghan prison
Choss on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

He self confessed breaking the Geneva convention. He has commited a war crime. He should Stand trial at the International Criminal Court. Thats what its there for.

We are signatories. End of.
ThunderCat - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> And I doubt that many medical staff actually want to use their skills to save the lives of the terrorists they have been deployed to fight against .

Personally think you're wrong on this score, but am willing to let the many medics on here have the final say.

Do medics make moral judgements on their patients and secretly resent treating some of them based on their beliefs and actions, or do they see the human above all else?

David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Kimono)
> They walk into crowded places and blow themselves sky high .

Would you agree then that the Taliban are also correct to say that as we launch missile attacks that kill wedding parties, we are terrorists? That the high altitude bombing, armoured Apaches and drone strikes make us cowards? That as foreigners and non-Muslims attempting to alter local customs, dig up poppy fields, and impose our own order, we are an alien and occupying forces? Opposite side of the same coin and as far as I can tell all as factually accurate as your statements.

The situation over there is not black and white, with those who oppose our presence being Hollywood-esque villains, representing the forces of evil and darkness. There is clearly loathing and acceptance of the Taliban and ISAF in equal measure. That should tell you something. The premise that we being the "good guys" and they being the "bad guys" allows indiscretions of the the former to be treated with leniency, smacks of nationalistic jingoism and is a very slippery slope to be standing on.
drunken monkey - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Choss: Is he in contravention of the Geneva Convention if both parties have not signed up to it?

andrew(willy)wilson - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: my view on this is a wounded animal is always more dangerous than a dead one!. kill or be killed!!!. harsh but honest. he had just been fighting a man who was trying to kill him and his fellow country men! he werent going to greet him with a handshake. just another reason not to vote as the government seem to make our own suffer first.
David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to andrew(willy)wilson:

Can't say I know the full details, but had he actually been fighting him? As far as I understand the insurgent was shot by a helicopter.

And as for dangerous, considering Marine A claims to have thought the insurgent was dead anyway, its hard to see how he posed a risk...unless Marine A is claiming this to try and excuse his actions.
IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to andrew(willy)wilson: So were the nazi's right for mass murders of prisoners of war. Absolutely idiotic post.
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myserable old git - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: I have no doubt that if the position were reversed they would have killed our man which makes us as bad as them!
drunken monkey - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin: Tell me something? Is it custom to murder women who dare to want an education?
Is it custom to destroy families who dare trade in new market places?
Is it custom to poison the water at schools to hurt kids who want to go to school and better themselves? Because this happened when I was there.
drunken monkey - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin: He had been brassed up by an Apache as he had been part of a team who had just attacked the FOB that the marines were operating in.
Choss on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

Commit him to the ICC, all extenuating Circumstances will be Heard, and Judged, Accordingly.

He was fully aware of the Crime he was committing. He said so himself. Little Chance of extenuating circumstances through mental Health grounds. Unless hes claiming Psychopathy, and consequent lack of Knowledge of his actions?
SethChili - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to SethChili)
> [...]
>
> That as foreigners and non-Muslims attempting to alter local customs, dig up poppy fields, and impose our own order, we are an alien and occupying forces?

So would it have been better to abandon our moral compass and let the public beheadings and mutilations which passed as justice continue ? They were local customs after all .
What about those poppy fields ? Afghanistan supplies 92% of the world's heroin . The industry is worth $65 billion to criminals worldwide and helps to fund Taliban and Al Qaeda activities . Heroin usage causes 100 000 deaths a year. I think we are justified in digging it up and paying the farmers compensation .
ISAF is an international assistance force , not an occupying force . For the last 3 years Afghan police and military have been taking a leading role in operations .

As you said , the situation is far from black and white , but I still that the cause is a good one . We have brought positive change to a messy country .

Dr.S at work - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Choss: do we need to go to an international court if we have found him guilty ourselves?
Choss on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:
> (In reply to Choss) Is he in contravention of the Geneva Convention if both parties have not signed up to it?

Yes he certainly is beholden to the Geneva convention. In the royal Navy basic Training general Naval knowledge lessons it is Spelled out to you Loud and Clear. You must uphold this, following orders is not an excuse for breaking International law.

what you saying, they dont teach that Shit anymore in RM? they Hammer it home.

dissonance - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:

> So would it have been better to abandon our moral compass and let the public beheadings and mutilations which passed as justice continue ?

Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan.
Kazakhstan.

This moral compass seems a tad flaky.

> What about those poppy fields ?

The ones the Taliban had been cracking down on prior to the invasion (although there are some claims that was simply to manipulate the market)

> ISAF is an international assistance force , not an occupying force . For the last 3 years Afghan police and military have been taking a leading role in operations .

I believe thats not dissimilar to the line the Viche government took.
Choss on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Dr.S at work:
> (In reply to Choss) do we need to go to an international court if we have found him guilty ourselves?

Yes, because its a war crime!
David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to drunken monkey:

Right, so we're there for humanitarian purposes, fighting against a regime we all agree is deeply unpleasant. All well and good. Tell that to the average Pashtun villager who wants fvck all to do with yet another occupying army in their country propping up yet another corrupt regime. While you're at it, explain to them how lucky they are that in this 12th year of occupation, billions of dollars have poured in with little of it having any impact, and an estimated 5-20,000 civilian casualties resulting from the initial few months of our invasion alone - who knows how many more since then.

I'm not defending the Taliban for a minute. But conveniently overlooking the carnage we've caused is a joke. If our war is so righteous, why did we ally ourselves with an Uzbek president who has a record of boiling alive his political opponents, a Northern Alliance who are/were as guilty of horrors as the Taliban are, and a current Afghan President who is as about as committed to rights and democracy as the House of Saud?

As I said, its not black and white. Justifying any crimes we commit, simply under the handy rubric of anyone who opposes our presence being evil, is crass. If a FOB was set up down the road from your home, you might be less than happy.
IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin: You always hijack every thread about Iraq and Afghanistan with the same argument.. you've made it countless times.

Quite surprised, staggered, that some people can even consider that what this guy did was a valid option. I can only guess those didn't listen to the video. The marine quite clearly knows he was wrong.
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Is anybody suggesting that? Me, for instance? If so, you've misinterpreted my point.
David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Mate, we abandoned our moral compass long before invading Afghanistan. If we were fussed about mutilations and woman's rights we'd be occupying a fair number of other Middle Eastern nations by now, would have been far more circumspect in our dealings with Islamic militants in and around Afghanistan in the decades leading up to the invasion, and would certainly be picking our friends in the region with a little more caution.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Claiming a higher moral authority doesn't absolve us from responsibility for chaos, death and destruction we cause. That some here seem so quick to justify Marine A's actions, yet unable to accord any such sympathy to the insurgent he murdered, seems hypocritical.
David Martin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Given you seem to be talking about "mitigating circumstances" and "treatment" as considerations or actions that should be taken against Marine A as a result of him committing murder, rehashing my same old arguments seems fitting.
IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Did I say you...
Dr.S at work - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Choss:
But we have laws against war crimes, and are enforcing them.
if we did not then there might need to be recourse to an international jurisdiction.
IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:


"my view on this is a wounded animal is always more dangerous than a dead one!. kill or be killed!!!. harsh but honest. he had just been fighting a man who was trying to kill him and his fellow country men! he werent going to greet him with a handshake. just another reason not to vote as the government seem to make our own suffer first."

"Anyway - for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him apart from the possibility that interrogating him first might have been useful."
IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin: Not at all. This isn't about why we are there. You are just using this to piggy back.
Choss on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Dr.S at work:
> (In reply to Choss)
> But we have laws against war crimes, and are enforcing them.
> if we did not then there might need to be recourse to an international jurisdiction.

No. He has broken international law that we have Signed up to.

He Should face the consequences in the ICC.



dissonance - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Choss:

> He Should face the consequences in the ICC.

The ICC is set up as a court of last resort. It only goes to them if a nation fails its obligations under international law.


http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/about%20the%20court/icc%20at%20a%20glance/Pages/icc%20at%20a%20g...
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andrew(willy)wilson - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK: no the nazis took un armed civilians and murdered them, bit of a difference there, idiotic reply
csw on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

>
> Quite surprised, staggered, that some people can even consider that what this guy did was a valid option. I can only guess those didn't listen to the video. The marine quite clearly knows he was wrong.

"Anyway - for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him apart from the possibility that interrogating him first might have been useful."


Yep - that was me - I think I made it plain I hadn't seen the video and I wasn't offering a judgement on this specific incident, because I wasn't there and I don't know what transpired - this would still be the case if I had seen the video. It's obvious that we don't see eye to eye on this. if you consider human life to be in some way special, then I can respect that, and if you think that the law must be obeyed simply because it's the law I can respect that too, provided you don't e.g. break speed limits.

Thing is the sergeant didn't believe he was doing wrong. He knew he was contravening the law, but if he thought it was wrong to shoot the insurgent then he wouldn't have pulled the trigger. My point is that sometimes the best solution to a tactical problem is to not take a prisoner. This may not be palatable to people, but it's what happens in a war, which is one reason why politicians shouldn't toss troops into a conflict as a favour to a mate.

As I said at the start [I think - I certainly meant to] this is a pointless discussion really. Nobody's mind is going to be changed by anything said here. The only reason I posted is because I thought this was set up to be a hand-wringing exercise for people who'd never set eyes on an exit wound and I thought I'd let you know there are other viewpoints.
SethChili - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to SethChili)
>
> That some here seem so quick to justify Marine A's actions, yet unable to accord any such sympathy to the insurgent he murdered, seems hypocritical.

I have never attempted to justify murder , only pointed out some reasons why it could have happened .
I still don't have any sympathy for people who commit acts of terror and that applies to anyone - whether a conventional ak47 toting type or those who press red button and fire a missile from a drone . Terror is not an effective way of resolving conflict or indeed making a political point .

IainRUK - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to andrew(willy)wilson:
> (In reply to IainRUK) no the nazis took un armed civilians and murdered them, bit of a difference there, idiotic reply

No they also executed soldiers.

Asolute stunning ignorance. Generally US/UK prisoners of war were dealt with OK, soviet, polish and other eastern nations weren't. I think you need to do some reading to stop people pissing on your arguments so easily.

Start here..
http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Mauthausen/KZMauthausen/History/POWs.html

or here..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_the_Acqui_Division

So no.. it's not that different at all. Its the principle of not executing prisoners of war, even terrorists.
nufkin - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

> Nobody's mind is going to be changed by anything said here.

I dunno - I don't think I'll be changing my mind, exactly, but you've pointed out things that probably wouldn't have occurred to me.

I was thinking about this from the point of view of Marine A's own long-term interests. Going to prison aside, I wonder if he'd still feel happy about what he did in a few years down the line in the small hours of the morning? That was sort of what I was getting at in my earlier post, which you answered very sensibly. And I'm not saying he would - I really don't know either way.

When watching Saving Private Ryan (referring to your earlier answer again) I thought that what Apom did at the end would maybe have more impact on him post-war than the other fighting more generally - a spur of the moment action in anger that was otherwise out of character, which he'd likely be the sort to regret later.
But maybe not.

I'm not saying everyone who's a soldier should feel bad about what they've witnessed and they're wrong if they don't, more that more recognition of the fact that many do wouldn't be a bad idea, if that makes sense (which would include not putting them in that situation in the first place)

Jim Fraser - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
>
>
> A tricky one...


NOT F3CKING TRICKY AT ALL.

Every single person in the British armed services is subject to international and domestic law. Everyone is regularly instructed on the Law of Armed Conflict, based on JSP383 and the laws to which it refers.

You, or any other person, here or abroad, can read that document by downloading it from the following address.
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jsp-383

During a firefight, the law still applies. When the firefight is over, and the British are in control, any person, captured injured or fully fit, no matter what their allegiance, race, colour, politics, or any other characteristic, should be able to expect a standard of treatment as set out in international law as a minimum.

In the hands of any Council of Europe state, they should be able to expect a significantly higher standard of treatment, in keeping with the European Convention of Human Rights.

In the UK, the High Court, in London, in December 2004, decided that the ECHR applied wherever the British have control. In the particular case that judgement involved, the scene was a prison in Iraq.

The convicted person in this case is a senior non-commissioned officer who should have been in a position of leadership on these same points. Instead, not only did he commit the crime but he openly stated to witnesses, as recorded, that it was a crime.

His ultimate boss is in no doubt about this matter.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24888089
And his predecessor is the same.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/09/royal-marine-court-martial-murder-afghan

I have known people who have shot the wrong person accidentally while on active service, while trying to do their best, and did time for it. The marine in this case was a long long way from trying to do his best.

andrew(willy)wilson - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: you've started something now! Haha
Enty - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Now go and hang your enemy's body parts in trees or behead a squaddie then read that waffle again.

E

Enty - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (In reply to Kimono)
> [...]
>
>

>
> During a firefight, the law still applies. When the firefight is over, and the British are in control, any person, captured injured or fully fit, no matter what their allegiance, race, colour, politics, or any other characteristic, should be able to expect a standard of treatment as set out in international law as a minimum.
>

Read We Were Soldiers Once - Hal Moore. You won't believe how ridiculous this paragraph sounds.

E

IainRUK - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
>
> Now go and hang your enemy's body parts in trees or behead a squaddie then read that waffle again.
>
> E

But that comes under mitigating circumstances, will impact on sentencing, if it was PTSD. It doesn't justifies his decision to execute the guy. They were insight of their base, which is why (supposedly) they dragged him in to the corn field to execute.

I certainly wouldn't be against a shorter sentence including PTSD treatment, but I could never say 'well it's understandable'.

There's an article here by Tim Collins.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2499079/Dont-sacrifice-man-altar-political-correctness-COLON...
csw on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:

I note that we have infantry service in common - also we've known soldiers who've shot the wrong person, so I can respect your position, even though it differs from mine, in a way I wouldn't respect the opinion of a civilian who agreed with me :)

I've never understood people who insist that rules should be followed simply because they exist. I forget the dialogue [Euthypro?], but Socrates pointed out that it's not the approval of the Gods that makes an act good, it's the goodness of the act that merits their approval, otherwise Good and Evil, Right and Wrong are just arbitrary. I think the point is still valid i.e. our morals don't rest on the existence, or approval of any supernatural entity.

with regard to the law - bad laws get passed all the time - do I even need to give examples of that? Also the people who make the laws, and enforce them are frequently seen to flout them, so I personally don't have a great deal of respect for the letter of the law. I think if you were to round up and summarily execute a thousand lawyers, it would be a net gain for honesty and integrity - it would be wrong, but it's still a nice thought.

Anyway, my point is that the realities of the battlefield don't always fit the theories of the manuals that purport to describe it. War is fundamentally wrong, even if it's sometimes necessary and the dead are as much a part of the enterprise as cement sacks are to the building trade, but people don't have an emotional involvement with cement bags.

There are things which are wrong under all circumstances - such as wilfully targeting civilians. but there are other things that aren't so clear. Under the law, once a person drops their weapon they're a noncombatant, but remember when the Argentine soldiers waved a white flag and then shot the officer who went to accept their surrender? I'm sure you heard the stories of what happened after that - Would you have acted differently? - actually I suspect you might have - I wouldn't. Once one side tosses the rulebook away, then the rules cease to apply for everyone.

Apologies for the length. my point is this. The people prosecuting the war, at the highest level, obviously don't give two shits about who's a legitimate target and who isn't or they wouldn't have carpet bombed Bagdhad - Shock and Awe, is a not particularly subtle euphemism for terror - Nor would they launch hellfires at villages. The dead guy in this incident signed on to kill our side - he got up that morning intending to do just that - instead he ended up dead himself. If we're going to hold the guy who shot him to a higher standard than the people who fly the drones, or order the village strikes then that seems to me to be hypocrisy of the highest order.
muppetfilter - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: If you stand over someone and issue a line like one out of a Dirty Harry film you aren't a Soldier you are a psychopathic murderer.
IainRUK - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
>
> If we're going to hold the guy who shot him to a higher standard than the people who fly the drones, or order the village strikes then that seems to me to be hypocrisy of the highest order.

Incomparable. OK the drones are debatable. But they kill people who are perceived as a danger, at larger and many miles from a base, similar to a sniper really. This was an unarmed, injured combatant/terrorist within sight of base. He could have been returned to the base.

Gary in Germany - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

As a serving soldier I can not excuse what the Sgt did.

However just becuase he appeard calm at the time does not mean he whas not under extreme pressure and suffering from serious trauma due to what had happened to him on that and previous tours. I expect this will all come out in the plea of mitigation at the sentencing hearing.

It is a hard war agaist a clever and unrelenting ememy that will exploit any weakness. The pressure of a six month tour there has to be experienced to be believed. Many people are seriuosly changed by it. Not all top prisoners but many will not be the same again. It changed me and mine was not a hard tour.

Also note that what the Taliban do when they get their hands on live ISAF soldiers or the bodies of ISAF soldiers are so unsavoury they are largely not reported. If this had happened to a mate of the Sgt that could explain a lot.

I would be very careful about judging this man unless you have a clear idea of what drove him to this act.

Given the nature of the conflict I am sure there are many who have served there who understand how this can happen.
csw on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> Incomparable. OK the drones are debatable. But they kill people who are perceived as a danger, at larger and many miles from a base, similar to a sniper really. This was an unarmed, injured combatant/terrorist within sight of base. He could have been returned to the base.

I have to respectfully disagree here - air launched hellfires are so dissimilar to sniper fire that statement almost qualifies as humour. There's also a huge difference between perceived threats and verified ones - and even if you have a known terrorist in a building illuminated by a laser designator - how many noncombatants is it acceptable to kill with him? - do children count as more or less, in the equation than adults?

I've given CPR to a baby once - it wasn't in a combat theatre, but personally I'd let any target you care to name walk away if the alternative was to take a child down with them, not sure if I could say the same of an adult - That's beside the point anyway. You want to talk about a lack of respect for life - talk about launching missiles from a desk a thousand miles away. looking them in the eye when they die, might not be pretty, but at least it's human
IainRUK - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany: I don't think I judged him. The court martial did, in a room full of his peers.

As I said I think there can be mitigating circumstances, but that still means his acts were wrong.
IainRUK - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: I meant a distant kill. But I don't see drone strikes any different to cruise missile strikes that we have been doing for decades now.

Its not human to execute in that way. Come on. There is a huge difference between a fire fight and a cold blooded execution of a prisoner.
Gary in Germany - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

My reply was aimed at the thread in gneral rather than you in particular.

But to post you have to reply to someone!
IainRUK - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany: I do think he should, if judged to have PTSD, receive a shorter sentence.

I'm not sure he will though. There are calls either way.
Hensha1974 - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

If the roles had been reversed and it was the British soldier executed whilst lying injured I wonder how many of you who find the incident 'understandable' would still find it so?
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David Martin - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
> Also note that what the Taliban do when they get their hands on live ISAF soldiers or the bodies of ISAF soldiers are so unsavoury they are largely not reported. If this had happened to a mate of the Sgt that could explain a lot.

I think this cuts both ways. The Tabliban, or just about any other enemy we go to war with, are surely far from convinced that we will treat them properly once captured. Be that fear the result the propaganda, over emphasised occasional atrocities, or from day-to-day reality of living under occupation by a stressed enemy.

While I can accept that stress or anger may be instrumental in explaining the actions of the sergeant, if he (as the perpetrator of murder) is going to be afforded that luxury of consideration it would be only fair that similar consideration is given to the guy he shot.

> I would be very careful about judging this man unless you have a clear idea of what drove him to this act.

Indeed. Simply labelling the victim as a "terrorist" (this isn't aimed at your post) and therefore providing a degree of justification for the murder is something to be wary of.

The conditions in the Vietnam war were arguably far harsher than what soldiers in Afghanistan are going through. 50,000 deaths after just 8 years, daily attrition, less effective medical care, 12 month tours, minimal R&R and less creature comforts away from the front. The scale of missconduct, much officially sanctioned, by US forces there is only now coming to light. At the time it was all explained away as justifiable "due to stresses" or swept under the carpet. It would be in everyone's interests if similar behaviour in Afghanistan was dealt with in the harshest possible terms to prevent any repeat or embarrassment further down the line.
Parrys_apprentice - on 11 Nov 2013
war is sh*t isn't it!
csw on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to Gary in Germany)
> [...]
>
>
> The conditions in the Vietnam war were arguably far harsher than what soldiers in Afghanistan are going through. 50,000 deaths after just 8 years, daily attrition, less effective medical care, 12 month tours, minimal R&R and less creature comforts away from the front. The scale of missconduct, much officially sanctioned, by US forces there is only now coming to light. At the time it was all explained away as justifiable "due to stresses" or swept under the carpet. It would be in everyone's interests if similar behaviour in Afghanistan was dealt with in the harshest possible terms to prevent any repeat or embarrassment further down the line.

I think that invoking the memory of My Lai, with regard to this particular incident is disingenuous - Perhaps that isn't what you meant to do, but certainly when I think about US atrocities in Vietnam, village massacres and the Phoenix program are the first thing that spring to mind - although the latter can't easily be explained away by combat stress. anyway, if you think there's any moral equivalence between the organised slaughter, over several hours- including rape and mutilation - of several hundred women and children - If you think that compares with finishing off an enemy combatant, then I'd respectfully suggest your moral compass requires some calibration
David Martin - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

No, I wasn't referring to Mai Lai. The Phoenix programme to a degree, but more specifically Speedy Express (among others) and conduct which became so generally condoned as to become acceptable, normal and excusable (all well covered in Berndt Greiner's analysis of recently declassified documents in "War Without Fronts").

A jingoistic acceptance by politicians, senior military commanders giving tacit nods and winks ("stuff happens in war zones"), a "keep it quiet, lads" approach at the front, a complete de-personalisation of anyone in the cross-hairs, all coupled with emphasising any of their atrocities while sweeping our own under the carpet....it all allows a hell of a lot to happen behind the scenes and a general blurring of lines.

I opposed the Afghan war from the outset. Not from a view that the Taliban should be tolerated, or that Al Qaida should be free to sleep well. But the language and approach of the US, the "gloves are off" mentality, the apparent carte blanche given in how to prosecute the war with minimal oversight all boded terribly for how closely our self perception of justification would translate to how we would be perceived by those on the ground. That 12 years on we are in quagmire with limited, if any success, points towards us not having presented a particularly viable or attractive alternative. I don't believe for a second that this sergeant's actions are at all isolated - the embarrassment, and the cock-up, is that the footage slipped in to the public domain.
Jim Fraser - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

We do what we can do.

Aerial bombing has been transformed by lasers and GPS. AP mines are outlawed. Positive IDentification is a major issue in current British infantry operations.

Think about where we were not too long ago and how far we have come.

Though the fundamentals of the Law of Armed Conflict are the same now as they were by the 1920s, the most substantial changes are in the standards by which nation states and ordinary people judge themselves. Education and technology have allowed us to understand and apply those standards.

For instance, consider that the death penalty is illegal in Europe. Consider that the world community has reached out into a war-torn middle east dictatorship and removed chemical weapon technology there without a shot being fired. There are dozens of other examples with somewhat less judicial or diplomatic impact. Not least, people don't have less rights because they have darker skin and wear shalwar kameez.

In the light of that background, this murder is criminal and incredibly stupid.

Perhaps the contorted nature of my non-career has led me to a slightly different place from many but I don't think it's a bad or improper or impractical place. I think it is not the job of the armed services to start wars but to end wars. I think their role often involves entering chaos and producing order. You won't end it or produce order by murdering PW.


Forsvaret (Norwegian Armed Forces) have a lovely motto. 'For alt vi har. Og alt vi er.' (For all we have and for all that we are.) There is a small country that sees genuine threats nearby and must punch above its weight. In our post-colonial era, we could learn something from their efforts to produce a defence ethos that looks first inward to who we are and what it is we want to protect.



(And I am still kicking myself for stupid target identification errors on the ranges a few weeks ago. Damn.)


"You are never alone with a microphone."
SI - profile removed on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono: No leniency from me, murder is murder. He chose to live by the sword.
Leeds Andy - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Kimono)

> Add to this the fact that most troops are being payed less than a cashier at Tesco and you have the perfect situation for breakdown of discipline and merciless retaliation against captured enemies.

Tesco cashier pay rate £6.80 ph, assume 37.5 hours a week 52 weeks a year = £13260 ( http://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Employer=Tesco_PLC/Hourly_Rate )

Regular soldier £275 pw = £14300 during phase 1 training rising to "at least" £17767 (presumably after training) + approx £50 per day when on operations ( http://www.army.mod.uk/join/20097.aspx

Andy
Firestarter on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Leeds Andy:

Service personnel paid 24 hours a day. Works out at an hourly rate of £2.03 per hour.
Dr.S at work - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter:
dont start that game - i used to work for £1/hr that way...
Firestarter on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Dr.S at work:

my first pay packet was £27.50 for two weeks!!
SI - profile removed on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter: I had more money than I knew what to do with. £1400 a month after food and accomodation (2004).
SI - profile removed on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to shaun l: As a Sapper (private).
SI - profile removed on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to shaun l:
> (In reply to Kimono) No leniency from me, murder is murder. He chose to live by the sword.


Done a bit more reading and I regret saying this now. This war sounds more brutal and cruel than any modern war involving the marines I've read about. The marines are a special bunch, your best friend or your worst enemy, I guess they have to be.

What the guy did was wrong, wrong for him, wrong for unit and wrong for the british army. Perhaps the only person to come out well from this was the taliban fighter if he was indeed fatally wounded. Incidents like this only encourage 'eye for an eye' retaliations and ultimately get more of our soliders killed. Compare the British and American casualties.

The two things that were constantly drilled into me in the army were professionalism and code of conduct. The british army takes great pride in it's conduct because it knows it saves lives.

If we want our army to become ever more progressive and professional we must be seen to be just, we can't stop incidents like this but we can deal with them fairly.

The sergeant has my sympathy and I'm glad his CO said he won't be left out to dry.
dale1968 - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Firestarter:
> (In reply to Leeds Andy)
>
> Service personnel paid 24 hours a day. Works out at an hourly rate of £2.03 per hour.

true, but you get paid that 24/7 so 9 weeks on leave, that is your payback, quality time with money to spend
Gary in Germany - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

"It would be in everyone's interests if similar behaviour in Afghanistan was dealt with in the harshest possible terms to prevent any repeat or embarrassment further down the line"

Wow, thats a pretty hard line to take. Dealing with British soliders "in the harshest way possible" just to prevent embarasment.

I am sure that you formulated this view as a result of time spent on kinetic operation tours and having lost good friends to the Taliban.

And you haven't just spent the last to years, sat the UK whatching it all on telly. becuase if you had, I am sure you would try and show more undertanding.

Dave 88 - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> (In reply to Firestarter)
> [...]
>
>9 weeks on leave

Who gets 9 weeks leave?

SI - profile removed on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88: 6 weeks leave not including bank holidays IIRC. But for every nine days you're away you get a days leave (IIRC). In 2002 I spent something like seven months on exercises and tours, three months on leave and two months at the regt. Most exciting year of my life, went to 13 countries. That spell ended after Iraq and I had seven grand in the bank despite trying to spend every penny I could.
dale1968 - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave 88: me potl
Dave 88 - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to dale1968:
> (In reply to Dave 88)

potl

Oh right, fair one.

Kimono - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
Was anyone listening to the interview with that awful woman Jasmine Alibhai-Brown on the radio yesterday? (2/4?)
She was grating on my nerves as usual but then the presenter turned to the other guest who managed to persuade me very convincingly that we just do not realise the conditions that these guys are under over there.
He said that he had 'only' served in iraq and that his understanding was that Afghanistan was about 10 times worse.
This marine on question had served 6 tours in Afghan and would have seen all manner of death and destruction rained down on his comrades, with insurgents taking away body parts for souvenirs.
He described how this leads to an absolute hardening of the heart and an emotion of pure hatred for the enemy.

In the light of this, im not sure we can really apply normal standards of human behaviour in these cases.

As the guy on the radio said, who is more to blame...this marine or Tony Blair and the other politicians for getting us into this war in the first place?

Yes, what he did was wrong but im afraid i just do not subscribe to the view that he should be banged up for life.
As the guy on the radio said, 'i will not condemn a man until i have walked a mile in his shoes'
Well, i cant imagine what these guys have gone through and have no desire to condemn them.
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David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany:

We make examples of people all the time. Anyone in the armed forces is well aware it is one of its most effective tools of enforcing discipline. How many times have you seen the jack soldier left standing will everyone around him is punished?

Embarrassment is the least of our concerns. The very fact that the footage can't be made public is indicative of the damage these sorts of actions produce.

Falling back on the old line of "unless you were there you have no say" is pathetic and is the closed shop mentality that only permits atrocities. The rules are set and should be followed. And as for it being the toughest conditions marines will have faced, give me a break. Close to 100,000 troops have rotated through Afghanistan since 2001. Some 450 have died - around 37 per year. Its a war. If you think the rule book can be thrown out simply on account of that, then I despair.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:
> (In reply to Kimono)
> In the light of this, im not sure we can really apply normal standards of human behaviour in these cases.

In that case, spare a thought for the Afghans themselves who have lived under this horror 24/7 since the day they were born. Consider the possibility that the extremes of behaviour we so revile in them (which in this case may be the driver behind attacking the FOB in the first place and which seem to justify any extremes on our part) are somewhat normalised and given it is their country perhaps we shouldn't be there trying to impose our contrary ideals in the first place. Tribal areas of the world are rife with forms of law, justice and retribution that we find repugnant but which in the context of their harsh surroundings are about the only system that will work.

Arguments in support of this soldier look like us having our cake and eating it: Afghans killing casualties would be vilified, but our soldiers stooping to Afghan norms are to be sympathised with.

> Well, i cant imagine what these guys have gone through and have no desire to condemn them.

So what should be done then? Should the marine get a shorter sentence than a teenage drunk driver causing deaths on the road? What about the child who has grown up in an abusive home who then commits murder on his local housing estate? What's the likelihood, given we are only hearing about this murder by accident, that Marine A hasn't been committing these sorts of acts since day 1?
elsewhere on 12 Nov 2013
The military are subject to civilian oversight of parliament which is ultimately answerable to the voters. Civilians have a right and sometimes a democratic duty to comment on the military.
Anybody unhappy with civilian oversight or comment shouldn't be in the UK military.

If people thought that killing the wounded was acceptable for UK armed forces then the turn out on Sunday would have been far smaller and I certainly wouldn't have put a poppy on a soldier's grave in an English graveyard containing almost 400 Commonwealth War Graves.
george mc - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Kimono:

I've not seen this linked to above - maybe I missed it.

I think this article gives a good appraisal of the context to the event.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kevin-godlington/royal-marine-murderer_b_4246911.html
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> The military are subject to civilian oversight of parliament which is ultimately answerable to the voters. Civilians have a right and sometimes a democratic duty to comment on the military.
> Anybody unhappy with civilian oversight or comment shouldn't be in the UK military.
>

Thats what I think, its a court martial, the military will decide, but he was judged by the moral compass of the UK, as we'd want him to be. But I see nothing wrong with saying that was murder.
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to george mc:
> (In reply to Kimono)
>
> I've not seen this linked to above - maybe I missed it.
>
> I think this article gives a good appraisal of the context to the event.
>
> http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kevin-godlington/royal-marine-murderer_b_4246911.html

I didn't think it was. It didn't mention how premeditated this was. They moved him to execute him so camera's were out of sight according to the CM.. the diary extracts basically both wanting to shoot him. Of course non-military can judge that wrong. That doesn't mean I think they should be hung out, and if judged to be suffering PTSD then a reduced sentence.
Gary in Germany - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

I repeat what you said: "Deal with them in the harshest possible way to aviod embarrasment".

Somehow I thought you had not personally been through what these marines have.

You quote casuality figures very selctivly. For the worst tours (which these marines had been on) for the soldiers actually patrolling there was up to 25% chance of sustainig a life changing injury over six months.

Do that a few times, loose a few close friends, see the results of the worst excesses of the Taliban and try and remain unchanged by it all.

I am not excusing what the Sargeant did. But an attempt at understanding by those who whatch it all on telly would not go amiss.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany:

Fine. So if an Afghan has this http://goo.gl/grTpWp or this http://goo.gl/qg4KlM happen to their nearest and dearest you'd be just as sympathetic to them wanting to string up the nearest member of ISAF from a tree?

I'm glad you show sympathy for the marines. Just a pity anyone who finds themselves fighting against them is nothing more than a terrorist and mince meat in a grinder.
andy - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to ...: Something that struck me earlier, as I was thinking about this; I have a lot of sympathy for the viewpoint that says treat this guy leniently as he's been through stuff we couldn't possibly imagine. However, do we give the same level of understanding to the people who were shooting at him and his mates, who in their mind may have seen friends/family hurt by what they may see as an invading force?

We seem to give little "understanding" to people who may have suffered horrendously, but because they're "on the other side" their excesses and behaviour are "barbaric", whereas when one of our breaks the rules then it's understandable (and don't get me wrong - I think it is understandable that people do the wrong thing under massive pressure and stress).
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

Arguments in support of this soldier look like us having our cake and eating it: Afghans killing casualties would be vilified, but our soldiers stooping to Afghan norms are to be sympathised with.

If you want people to take you even slightly seriously, then you should perhaps stop wildly exaggerating and stick to facts. The guy shot an injured combatant. He broke the law, got caught and will be punished. Insurgents kill captured troops too - so as long as you ignore the other stuff they do to them before they stop breathing, then you could just about claim some equivalence, but it's not a particularly honest argument and you do your credibility no favours. The sergeant killed the insurgent cleanly - He didn't stoop to Afghan norms, and saying that he did is a bit like spitting on the guy after someone else has taken him down for you.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

But there seem to be calls for moderation of punishment due to "circumstances". Its known some Afghan's do terrible things to those they capture, dead or alive (awkwardly that extends to our Afghan allies as much as the Taliban however). But the simplistic view that anyone fighting against us is therefore "Terry the terrible Taliban terrorist" is naive in the extreme. Those who pick up weapons against ISAF do so from all kinds of backgrounds and for all sorts of reasons. Putting myself in situation of an Afghan villager who has watched B-52s dumping their loads on my country I'm pretty sure I'd do the same.

Whether the body parts hanging from a tree are the result of the local Taliban headman taking a machete to dead soldier or reckless 30mm or FFAR from an Apache, there's little difference. I won't be holding my breath for those calling for sympathy for Marine A to extend that sympathy to those living in Afghanistan who oppose our presence in the country. Perhaps if there were more sympathy in that direction, platitudes towards innocent Afghans caught up in our attacks might not ring so hollow.
teflonpete - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

You're looking at the desire for leniency amongst some people purely as a 'them and us' situation. Your point, which obviously is valid, is that there are people exposed to the horrors on both sides and the law should apply equally. Has it occurred to you that some of those expressing an interest in leniency do so because they understand that exposure to the horrors of war are extremely likely to be a mitigating factor for anyone involved in this type of conflict?

There's been a fair bit of effort expended trying to understand what drove Lee Rigby's killers to do what they did, should one of our servicemen be denied at least that level of enquiry? I don't think so.
Jim Fraser - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Read We Were Soldiers Once - Hal Moore. You won't believe how ridiculous this paragraph sounds.
>
> E


It is clearly not 1965 and we are not Americans.


If there is a direct parallel then it's that one shouldn't mess with somebody else's country without a proper purpose and appropriate skill sets.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

I agree with you to a point.

But csw him/herself did say "for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him". There is a clear double standard.

Equally, given we are in Afghanistan with the claimed goal of ridding the country of these tribal behaviours, we have to uphold the very highest standards regardless of what the enemy does or the intensity of the warfare. I don't believe the conditions for our soldiers are worse than in any other war and therefore there these are not conditions to allow the rule book to be thrown out. I don't believe either that there are not far more of these cases than are reported.

Our failure in Afghanistan is in no small part linked to the way the war was conducted from its very outset - which itself is a result of the apparent cultural and moral superiority we seem to feel to Afghans. Much like officers in Vietnam claiming "the gooks don't feel pain" or "don't grieve like we do". I'd like to be proven wrong, but calls for special allowance, indicate otherwise.
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

I note that you have your hypothetical Taliban mutilating a dead soldier rather than a live one - and nothing in your comment above addresses mine.

As for the simplistic picture of the generic terrorist - that may be the case amongst readers of e.g. the Sun and the Mail - It's actually no less simplistic than yours, even if your vocabulary is better. Suggesting that body parts hanging from trees might be the result of friendly fire, was I think, a laughably stupid thing to say and if nothing else it shows you don't have much idea of what blast damage and traumatic amputation look like and how they differ from deliberate amputation. you seem to have done a little reading around the subject - maybe you should do a little more, with reference to the historical savagery of the Afghan tribespeople - Even Kipling referred to it. Do you think they've stopped cutting people up because it's so last millennium?

csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
>
> I agree with you to a point.
>
> But csw him/herself did say "for what it's worth, assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him". There is a clear double standard.
>
>

Would you like to explain where the double standard is exactly? - with quotes if you don't mind.
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to Gary in Germany)
>
> We make examples of people all the time. Anyone in the armed forces is well aware it is one of its most effective tools of enforcing discipline. How many times have you seen the jack soldier left standing will everyone around him is punished?
>


Once - in Full Metal Jacket - Where have you seen it?
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

You've lost me a bit on your previous post. The "my thousand yard stare is longer than your thousand yard stare" wily waving on blast damage isn't going to get us far. Suffice to say a spotty teenager with an internet connection can see more gore than many ex-military types might.

As for the double standard try this.

Your statement. "assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him".

In an absence of double standards you would therefore agree that there is nothing wrong with Taliban killing ISAF casualties?

Or perhaps it is the method where you draw the line. Taliban perhaps more prone to using a knife to to the throat would be "bad", while the goodies using a bullet or bayonet would be "good"?
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to David Martin)
> [...]
>
>
> Once - in Full Metal Jacket - Where have you seen it?

Every single day in basic, not that much less in infantry training, utilised by PTIs pretty regularly and as a general all purpose tool for kicking the slack in to gear thereafter. The military loved it as a tool for dealing with cowardice in WWI and WWII. No doubt a certain transgender specialist in the US Army has suffered it, not to mention Private Pyle.

csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:
> (In reply to csw)
>
> You've lost me a bit on your previous post. The "my thousand yard stare is longer than your thousand yard stare" wily waving on blast damage isn't going to get us far. Suffice to say a spotty teenager with an internet connection can see more gore than many ex-military types might.
>
> As for the double standard try this.
>
> Your statement. "assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him".
>
> In an absence of double standards you would therefore agree that there is nothing wrong with Taliban killing ISAF casualties?
>
> Or perhaps it is the method where you draw the line. Taliban perhaps more prone to using a knife to to the throat would be "bad", while the goodies using a bullet or bayonet would be "good"?

Don't be intentionally dim - blast damage can leave body bits hanging from trees, but limbs that have been blown off, look very different to limbs that have been cut off. I've never seen what a 30mm round does to a human, but I doubt the explosive component does more damage than a grenade does. do you honestly believe that body parts hung in trees as psywar by the Taliban could actually be down to some misplaced ordnance from a passing gunship?

I note with some amusement that no quote is forthcoming to establish my double standard - If it's not there you can't call me out on it, so an apology would be a nice surprise.
ads.ukclimbing.com
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

There seems to be some confusion.

Regarding body parts, I'm merely making the point that the emotive context given in this thread and in the linked article (Taliban reportedly leaving body parts in a tree), which appears to be given as some form of mitigation for the sergeant's actions, surely equally applies to the conditions Afghans experience resulting from our forces being there - be that body parts in a tree, strewn on the ground, smeared all over your mud wall, under the rubble of your house, etc etc. Whether one form of death and maiming looks slightly different from the other makes no odds to the person those body parts belong to, their family, or the people who witness them.

Yet seldom, if ever, is it that the possibility of an Afghan having experienced that sort of carnage, perpetrated by us, given as mitigation for why they may pick up arms against ISAF, or side with (and therefore be considered) Taliban.

Given your statement that "assuming the dead guy was a Taliban combatant I can't see anything wrong with shooting him" (your words, not mine), there appears to be a double standard. Unless you feel it is ok for the Taliban to kill wounded ISAF they come across?
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

There are times in any conflict when it simply isn't practical to take prisoners. Yes there's a rule in a book that says you have to, but there are circumstances where either the mission or the safety of your unit may be compromised by doing so. Sometimes people don't take prisoners - it's not nice but it's how wars are fought - it's always been the way and it always will be - Do I think there's no ethical issue with that? Of course not. War is an obscenity - sometimes it's a necessary one, but not in this case - there was no need for the US to get involved and even less so for Blair to throw our money and people into it - but here we are 12 years later obsessing over a Royal Marine sergeant and a dead insurgent - spouting rhetoric about the Geneva convention and civilised conduct, when the real war criminals are making millions on the lecture circuit.

Anyway, my experience has taught me to be careful about judging conduct in a war. Things like My Lai and Lidice are pretty easy to score on the evil spectrum. Finishing off a wounded enemy - less so. I won't deny that I have more concern for British casualties than US or Afghan ones, but that's just tribal. I don't blame the Taliban for fighting, and though I deplore what they do, it's how they've been fighting wars for their entire history - It's stupid to expect that to stop because a different bunch of infidels is invading them this time.

If the US had spent, on rebuilding the country, just 1% of what they did arming the Mujhadeen, then it's arguable that this war wouldn't even be being fought now - Same could be said about the Allied demands for reparations from Germany after WWI. one of my most enduring memories of my tours in Ulster was a boy of about eight or ten shouting "We've been fighting you bastards for five hundred years and you haven't beaten us yet!" One thing I'm pretty sure I'll never live to see is an end to that war.....

Sorry - I tend to ramble - Several psychologists have pointed this out - if it signifies anything I'm not sure what it is. to get back to the original point. I see no problem, in the context of a war, with a soldier finishing off an enemy combatant as an alternative to taking them prisoner - I see a big problem with either of them being in the situation to start with. This whole affair seems to me like punishing a kid for breaking a window of a house that his dad just set on fire....
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to David Martin)
>
> There are times in any conflict when it simply isn't practical to take prisoners.

Stop right there..

This wasn't one. They dragged him into the corn to remove him from view of long range cameras from base. They even talk about not wanting to cas evac him....

It was very practical to attempt.

Seriously you're going too far there trying to justify this one.
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: Remember, He was found guilty of murder in a military court. He wasn't judged by civilians. I don't go as far as David, not by a long way, but he still murdered the guy.

Just saw a post on FB about this... 'let them do what they were trained to do'.. some sick comments coming out at the moment.
Ridge - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>

> Seriously you're going too far there trying to justify this one.

I agree. On a personal level, I'm afraid shooting the wounded Taliban just doesn't register on my Give-a-shit-ometer. I'm well aware of their methods so I can't muster any genuine sympathy.

However, the Booty in question was well aware of the laws of armed conflict, and made a deliberate decision to kill a wounded enemy combatant. In that case, as determined by the court martial, he's guilty of murder. No two ways about that.

That said, we have a fine tradition of allowing mitigation when it comes to sentencing. That should also apply to servicemen, not just civilians.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

Not withstanding Iain's comment above, I don't disagree with what you are saying.

However you view his actions, this whole affair exposes the dirty underbelly of our involvement in Afghanistan, why we are there, what we are trying to achieve, how that compares with what our stated aims were at the outset, and the blurred lines between who the good and bad guys are on all sides. Ultimately it points to the horribly simplistic picture of cause and effect, and the very narrow timescale in which to view Muslim-Western relations in the Middle East, used by those politicians who beat the war drum post 9/11.

As I originally said, I strongly suspect that most of the UKs population is really not that fussed by what the sergeant did. They probably consider his crime closer to the "Don't park on yellow lines" end of the legal spectrum. This is probably in no small part due to the public perception of those who fight against us, and by extension Afghans in general.
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I agree. On a personal level, I'm afraid shooting the wounded Taliban just doesn't register on my Give-a-shit-ometer. I'm well aware of their methods so I can't muster any genuine sympathy.

>
> That said, we have a fine tradition of allowing mitigation when it comes to sentencing. That should also apply to servicemen, not just civilians.

yeah agree with that. I don't have any real pity for the victim if what is said is true, but I don't like seeing the justification of murder. If, during sentencing a case is made about the stress and experiences the guy had then a more lenient sentence than might otherwise be expected for such a shooting should be given.
David Martin - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Ridge:

Was watching something on the Somme the other night, re-enactments from diaries and suchlike. One particular scene had British soldiers, where they had managed to break through, bayonetting and shooting those who tried to surrender, with first hand accounts of how those doing it had interpreted their orders.

The kill/don't kill attitude to wounded was one of the many issues I have never been able to square, and became one of the reasons I ultimately took the job no further. Its a moral minefield.
IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Ridge: Teh thing is it is being made out that he was judged by civilians.. OK we may comment on it, which I don't think is incorrect anyway for reasons mentioned above, but he was found guilty in a military court, presumably by those experienced to know what the situation was.

It's also mentioned how a pathologist stated he was still alive when he was executed. Therefore suggesting they did evacuate his body and therefore could have evacuated him when alive..
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Yes - I take your point and I think it's a good thing that there was a trial - compare that with Lt Calley for instance.

Anyway, I'm not saying that I'm right, only that I see things the way I do. There have to be standards for the conduct of soldiers in a war, and they can't be revised for every conflict we enter. Once the evidence was presented to the military their hands were tied. I don't think the Marine in question is being punished for shooting the insurgent - just for being caught and thus bringing the service into disrepute.

IainRUK - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: Maybe, but he must have known he was being recorded and videod?
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

Having said that - If I was sentencing him I'd give him six months in the brig and bust him down to corporal - also maybe some compulsory sessions with a media consultant
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to csw) Maybe, but he must have known he was being recorded and videod?

Yes - that was unbelievably stupid

csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

Remorse.

LOST in the swamp and welter of the pit,
He flounders off the duck-boards; only he knows
Each flash and spouting crash,—each instant lit
When gloom reveals the streaming rain. He goes
Heavily, blindly on. And, while he blunders,
‘Could anything be worse than this?’—he wonders,
Remembering how he saw those Germans run,
Screaming for mercy among the stumps of trees:
Green-faced, they dodged and darted: there was one
Livid with terror, clutching at his knees...
Our chaps were sticking ’em like pigs ... ‘O hell!’
He thought—‘there’s things in war one dare not tell
Poor father sitting safe at home, who reads
Of dying heroes and their deathless deeds.

Siegfried Sassoon
Jim Fraser - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to David Martin)
>
> ... like punishing a kid for breaking a window of a house that his dad just set on fire....


A point akin to mine about it being 'not the job of the armed services to start wars but to end wars'.


(A bootneck sergeant is not a kid.)
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
>
> A point akin to mine about it being 'not the job of the armed services to start wars but to end wars'.
>

I thought that point was well made.

>
> (A bootneck sergeant is not a kid.)

No - but if the burning house is an analogy for the conflict in Afghanistan, and the arsonist dad represents the US/UK governments that precipitated it, then a kid throwing a stone through a window seemed to be a reasonable analogy for our Royal Marine.

It's not great, but bear in mind I'm one of JLS's "Least capable" and my only academic qualification is my O level in English [language] - maybe if I'd done Lit. I could have come up with something better.....


Ridge - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to Jim Fraser)
> [...]
>
> No - but if the burning house is an analogy for the conflict in Afghanistan, and the arsonist dad represents the US/UK governments that precipitated it, then a kid throwing a stone through a window seemed to be a reasonable analogy for our Royal Marine.

Possibly being a bit pedantic, but intervention in Afghanistan has a UN mandate, it's not exclusively a US/UK party. Something for the 'the UN should get involved in 'X' country' advocates to consider.
D.botts87 - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to JLS: what a toilet
csw on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> Stop right there..
>
> This wasn't one. They dragged him into the corn to remove him from view of long range cameras from base. They even talk about not wanting to cas evac him....
>
> It was very practical to attempt.
>
> Seriously you're going too far there trying to justify this one.

I missed this comment - whoops!

I said right at the start that my comments weren't directed at this specific incident, simply because I don't know what happened here. I commented because there seemed to be people who thought that shooting an injured insurgent was ipso facto wrong - I don't agree and that's been my position all along.

That said, given the situation that the troops are in, there's no way that I'd condemn the Marines for doing what they did. I don't know what I'd have done, but if the other side isn't playing by the rules, then as far as I'm concerned the rules have been abandoned.
Gary in Germany - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:

I challenge anyone to read "Dead Men Risen" then come on here and state that a hard and kinetic tour in Helamnd will not change them in ways that can not be predicted.

You will not excuse what the Sgt did. But you will probably have some understanding for what he has been through.
ads.ukclimbing.com
elsewhere on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> I don't know what I'd have done, but if the other side isn't playing by the rules, then as far as I'm concerned the rules have been abandoned.

I expect that was the sort of justification that was applied "their combatants" and/or "their civilians" such as Jews, captured Soviet troops, Kulaks, Armemians, Tutsis, Bosnians, Serbs, Croats etc etc etc.
Good to see you learning from history.

Can you give is some recentish (last 50 years?) examples of successful long term peace arising from a government adopting a gloves off no rules conflict that you seem to think is a good idea?
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Gary in Germany: I haven't read it, but its why I think civilians should have little to no say in his sentencing. I just can't see how people can say he did nothing wrong.. I just saw a post on FB how it was no doubt a split second decision..

But he is being dealt with in the best place, don't you think? A military court.

The article by the Huffington Post was diabolical. That it was legally murder, but not ethically or morally. It clearly was and he admits that on the tape immediately afterwards. he clearly knew he was morally wrong. TBH I think murder by definition is morally wrong, if its not it is self defence (or defence of others) and it wouldn't be murder. As it was the tape was very damming and I can't see how, in any good faith and defence of the Uk hearts and minds philosophy could there be any other verdict.

As said many times a reduced lenient sentence may be the right option, to be honest thought I don't think the mass outcry is helping his cause at all.
csw on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> I expect that was the sort of justification that was applied "their combatants" and/or "their civilians" such as Jews, captured Soviet troops, Kulaks, Armemians, Tutsis, Bosnians, Serbs, Croats etc etc etc.
> Good to see you learning from history.
>
> Can you give is some recentish (last 50 years?) examples of successful long term peace arising from a government adopting a gloves off no rules conflict that you seem to think is a good idea?

It's not particularly honest of you to try and foist a position on me that I don't hold. if you want an example of a peace arising from a conflict fought by rules that I subscribe to, then the lack of open warfare in most of central europe since WWII would seem to be a reasonable example - or is that not long-term enough for you? Vietnam has been pretty peaceful since the yanks left, and it's not like the NVA or the NLF were noted for their chivalry.

The major difference between modern conflicts and historical ones is the presence of cameras and the speed with which battlefield footage makes it into the public domain. If you think that British troops haven't been finishing off wounded enemy that they didn't feel like taking prisoner - for whatever reason - then I feel it would be a kindness to inform you that not only has this always been a feature of warfare, but it is likely to remain one - and also Santa Claus was your dad all along.

I think it's particularly dishonest of you to imply I'd be in favour of the sort of large scale organised killing that you used as an example - and if you'd taken the trouble to read my posts on this thread, and done me the courtesy of assuming I meant what I've written, then it ought to be obvious I don't advocate unrestricted warfare.

You could probably write a small book on the ethics of this one incident - It's not as black and white as many people on here seem to think.
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to elsewhere)
>
> You could probably write a small book on the ethics of this one incident - It's not as black and white as many people on here seem to think.

Right in one paragraph why ethically this is not black and white.. taking into account.
1) He was no longer a danger
2) Base was near by
3) He was alive
4) They returned his body to base

I'm not saying there aren't mitigating circumstances but his guilt was established before now. You still seem to be debating his guilt.
csw on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Not really, he broke a rule - he knew he was breaking it ipso facto he's guilty. Given the nature of the conflict I'm not prepared to say he was wrong.

That's it I'm finished posting - you may claim a victory if you wish
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: Its not about victories is it.

There's some idiotic comments coming about though, not you,but others that we are 'just fighting fire with fire'.. like bombing raids on Dresden...

Justifying this destroys any justification for being in Afghanistan. we went in for many reasons but public support came from the human rights abuses, the executions in the football stadiums etc.. and then people are willing to condone this..

He didn't break a rule.. he broke a law, at national and international level. Do you honestly think the CM could have found him innocent?
csw on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

OK - assuming your question wasn't rhetorical - this really is my last word

There is no justification for our presence in Afghanistan - they were never a threat to us and I don't have the words to communicate the contempt and loathing I have for the spineless vermin that committed our troops to the war there.

Differentiating between laws and rules is just semantics - of course the Court Martial couldn't have acquitted him. Once the video came to light, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

Generally British troops have a history of treating the enemy relatively humanely - Hearts and Minds is a proven strategy - but there's no way to implement that in an alliance with the yanks - world leaders in consequence-free collateral damage and friendly fire.

The whole f*cking war is a crime - it's beyond stupid to fixate on this one incident when villages are getting blown apart on the off-chance that someone on the hit list is staying there.

And that really is the end of my involvement
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw: Sort of agree.. I think people have reacted because others have been shouting free him.. as I said I don't think they have helped his cause.. keeping this as quiet as possible was probably his best option.

His only hope was a lenient sentence, that may still happen and would be understandable. We certainly have scope for that in law, only yesterday a mother was allowed to walk free after a murder conviction.

The rest is besides the point, not that I disagree.
birdman - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Is he guilty of murder? Most definitely.

I can't begin to imagine the stress etc that a tour of afghan creates and the physical and physiological damage that occurs. If Marine A had seen the guy mortally wounded gone mental and lost it taking out his anger and vengeance and still shot him, i would see that a man slaughter, ie it wasn't pre meditated and due to the fog of war had deminished responsibilities.

However, the fact that the act, was calculated, in clear understanding that it was contrary to the values and standards of the british armed forces, and those of the geneva convention, makes it murder.

I do however, believe that leniency would be appropriate. unless you have been in afghanistan at the same time (ie still kinetic combat ops going on) then you can't understand the impact that this has on someone, whilst you can employ the same law (to an extent), the sentence / terms should be separate to those guidelines for law in civilian life.
elsewhere on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
Sorry, I interpreted your words "then as far as I'm concerned the rules have been abandoned" as meaning you thought "the rules have been abandoned".

Unless there is no fighting and no civilian population, massacres are a natural consequence of warfare without rules.

The major difference between WW2 and now is not TV. The major difference is that today wars are asymtrical between conventional military forces and an insurgency. There are few examples of successful counter insurgency campiagns that were finished off by a conventional military abandoning the rules. Can you think of any?
IainRUK - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to birdman:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
>
> Is he guilty of murder? Most definitely.
>
> I can't begin to imagine the stress etc that a tour of afghan creates and the physical and physiological damage that occurs. If Marine A had seen the guy mortally wounded gone mental and lost it taking out his anger and vengeance and still shot him, i would see that a man slaughter, ie it wasn't pre meditated and due to the fog of war had deminished responsibilities.
>
> However, the fact that the act, was calculated, in clear understanding that it was contrary to the values and standards of the british armed forces, and those of the geneva convention, makes it murder.
>
> I do however, believe that leniency would be appropriate. unless you have been in afghanistan at the same time (ie still kinetic combat ops going on) then you can't understand the impact that this has on someone, whilst you can employ the same law (to an extent), the sentence / terms should be separate to those guidelines for law in civilian life.

Thats basically my view.. I think its right this is a military court and sentencing.
Jim Fraser - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to IainRUK)
>
> ... it's beyond stupid to fixate on this one incident when villages are getting blown apart on the off-chance that someone on the hit list is staying there ...


And beyond stupidity that rich European and American city dwellers have persistently, over a period of 12 years, failed to engage with the population in a manner that is likely to be effective in the social organisation and decision-making traditions prevailing locally. DCSU and MSSG don't get that it's not all about pashtu, islam and a few dollars (although those all help a bit).
David Martin - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Is that a surprise though? At the point of invasion, the only plan seemed to be that in simply presenting lofty ideals of voting, women's emancipation, coca cola, playstation, rock music, shopping malls and personal wealth accumulation, if necessary backed up by bundles of cash in briefcases, those who were "good" would fall on side. The rest could be killed or sidelined as they obviously weren't with the "programme for freedom".

Meanwhile the UK is full of regional experts, some of whom I work with, who have spent years in and around Afghanistan and understand the local contexts (as well as can be) and had plenty of words of concern. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, archaeologists, development practicioners, linguists and even musicians. Their cries fell on deaf ears. Laymen in the street could come to the same conclusion, many of whom went out protested. Still it fell on deaf ears. In many cases those who opposed were simply views as unpatriotic, not supporting our boys - they're over there now, you have to get on side.

While the tone here is that the military, every bit as much as the general public, was let down by political or individual idiocy, the military fed in to the political mood with its own rhetoric of being "ready and raring to go", itching for action and wanting to give some Taliban a bloody nose.
Only once things came unraveling did it start to make dissenting noises from the political establishment. As well as individual squaddies may have given of themselves, the military establishment can't wash its hands of this one and simply say it was a tough job and it wasn't given adequate resources.
Jim Fraser - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to David Martin:

Some crofters and lads from the reservation might have made all the difference.

It was never going to help that the foundations laid in southern Afghanistan were by a bunch of Yanks acting like they were in some internet shoot-em-up game in support of those who would corrupt local commerce and administration for years to come.

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