Way back when the Bush administration launched the invasion of Iraq, the prevailing assumption among those who were in charge was that it would be a cakewalk. The people would embrace us as liberators. People who had some clue about how the world works knew it would be an ugly mess, as is the case with all wars. War is, by definition, the ugliest of human activities. It’s purpose is to kill and destroy.
Inevitably, stories turned up about abuses. One essential way to prepare soldiers for war is to dehumanize the enemy. Men, even trained killers, are not going to kill people they see as sympathetic. There’s no way to finely calibrate the mind of a soldier so in every war there are abuses, even when care is taken to avoid them. That’s why things like the Abu Ghraib prison incident happened. War is and always will be an ugly business.
That knowledge should lead Western governments to use their technological and economic advantages to avoid getting into wars with the barbarians on the edge of civilization. Instead, they start wars they never intend to win, so they can preen and pose about their virtue and morality, when something terrible inevitably happens. It means some guy in uniform gets to be strung up in order to please the vanity of our rulers.
Sergeant Alexander Blackman shot dead an insurgent on September 15 2011 after he had been injured by Apache helicopter gunfire.
The 42-year-old was originally known as Marine A to protect his identity from terrorists.
He grew up in Brighton and has two sisters and a brother, according to the Justice for Marine A website.
The keen sportsman is a skilled canoeist who competed at national events.
He joined the marines aged 23 and married his wife Alex in 2010 after the pair met in the Somerset town of Taunton.
At the time of the 2011 killing Blackman was serving in Helmand province with Plymouth-based 42 Commando.
Blackman was ”dismissed with disgrace” from the Royal Marines after serving with distinction for 15 years, including tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.
He was handed seven years for manslaughter, but having already served almost three-and-a-half years since his conviction for murder, he could be free within weeks of the sentencing on March 28.
Sgt Blackman shot an injured Taliban insurgent in the chest in 2011 before quoting Shakespeare at him.
He said: “There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil you c***.
“It’s nothing you wouldn’t do to us”.
He then told soldiers: “Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”
The shooting was captured on film but has not been released out of fears it could be used as terrorist propaganda.
Dramatic footage that has been released shows troops cheering as an Apache warship fires some 139 rounds at militants trying to sneak up on British positions.
Another clip shows Sgt Blackman and Jack Hammond, known as Marine C, find an AK47, a hand grenade and spare ammunition next to the injured fighter.
Blackman ordered colleagues to move the enemy fighter out of sight from British Army surveillance cameras mounted on balloons.
Blackman was convicted of murder in November 2013 by a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire, and sentenced to life with a minimum 10-year term.
It was the first such conviction of a serving British soldier since the Second World War.
Judge Jeff Blackett told Blackman at his sentencing: “If the British Armed Forces are not assiduous in complying with the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law they would become not better than the insurgents and terrorists they are fighting.”
There you have it. He handed down a sentence as a public act of piety, signalling to the other lunatics in the ruling class that he is some sort of special snowflake for throwing the book at this soldier. It’s also why the West has not won any wars in a long time. Instead of focusing all energy on killing the enemy and breaking their stuff, all energy is put into maintaining moral superiority, even if that means losing.
The point of war is to kill the enemy and break up their stuff. The hope is they quit before you kill all of them and break all of their stuff, but you plan otherwise. If the Afghans knew all along that helping Osama bin Laden was most likely going to mean their cities and large towns would be flattened, they would have chose differently. Let’s assume they played it the same and Bush had firebombed Kabul, what would have been the result?
Yeah, there would have been a lot of hand-wringing and pearl clutching in Washington, but every other nutjob in the Middle East would have been re-calibrating his plans. A lot less death and destruction would have come as a result. Instead we have decades of killing to no logical end. We have an endless war of attrition just so Western leaders can have chances to let us know that they paragons of virtue.
What’s truly insane about all of this is the people in charge seem to care more about the opinion of the enemy than they do their own people. Maybe Sgt Blackman should have been punished, but the only reason to punish him is to maintain good order in the ranks. It’s not that he killed a wounded man. It’s that he violated the rules of engagement and encouraged others to do the same. It should be ZFG about what the terrorist think.
But, that’s not the world today. Our rulers care more about foreigners than they do their own people. If it were otherwise, the rulers would be quick to paper over these sorts of incidents, defending their fellow citizens against these sorts of accusations. Given their policy preferences, and the way they conduct foreign policy, it is safe to say they truly hate the rest of us. We have to hate them back.