It’s a real conundrum living as we do in an age of omnipresent information (in this case an audio-video record of an event that in earlier times would never, ever have been known to anyone other than those directly involved) whilst warfighting remains the same as it has been for a thousand years: hell on earth (some of us know this from direct experience).
Now we bring hell in to people’s sitting rooms and in to police stations and in to solicitors’ offices and eventually in to the courts. And when we do bring the battlefield in to the sitting room, we’re mortified at what we observe and so we send our soldiers to jail … for doing what in the end is their job … to kill the enemy; to survive to fight, to protect and preserve the lifestyles we so cherish.
It’s mad when you think about it. Look, I’m not arguing for the execution of battlefield casualties. I’m just saying that that c*nt who Marine A shot would no sooner look at you as cut off your head given the chance, film the proceedings and stick the results up on YouTube. Marine A knew all this and destroyed his enemy, your enemy and mine too. Remember, neither Al Qaeda nor the Taliban do the Geneva Convention.
I’m just grateful that Her Majesty’s Royal Marines are on our side. That is all – to use a maritime term.
PS This is a corollary to my post above following comments I have received by email and elsewhere. It was right that Marine A was arrested and tried; what he did was wrong. Look again at the second sentence of the third paragraph above: “I’m not arguing for the execution of battlefield casualties.” My point is that it is extremely difficult for any of us here to put ourselves in the situation of that Marine from sitting rooms in Hampshire. God knows what was on his mind at that moment of madness; what he had seen and experienced before then; what he thought he was doing in Afghanistan. Bear in mind too that we live in a country now where our own politicians, thanks to European human rights laws, are able only to deport a tiny fraction of the foreign criminals who reside amongst us – and we know the nature of some of those criminals, don’t we. Our political class has a lot to answer for in terms of their propensity to launch soldiers in to foreign adventures whilst at the same time paying lip service to our own homeland security; they send mixed messages to our society … “You go over there and kill the bad guys and we’ll faff about back here with the ones walking our streets …”.