July 18, 2005
Military action and civilian law
The recently collapsed prosecution of a young soldier for actions taken in the heat of battle in Iraq flags up the very real problem of the military being judged and "managed" by incompetent morons who have never, and will never, wear a uniform or defend their country. The MoD's legal wizards decided, after a military investigation had already recommended no further action, to try to bring a prosecution in the Old Bailey against a soldier for doing what he considered necessary under threat of enemy action.
It is gratifying to see and hear some very senior and very experienced old soldiers, sailors, and airmen now gracing the House of Lords, as they attacked the government for its determinedly crass and plain bl**dy stupid efforts to undermine the morale of every single uniformed member of the armed forces. Mr Blair and his chums are quick to hide behind the troops when they need to, and very quick to take the credit for the work these lads do under appalling conditions, with frankly poor equipment and under threat of constant reviews and cuts. Our fleet is now woefully under strength, our army is dependent on the Part-timers of the Territorials to meet its commitments, and the Airforce has more transports than frontline fighters and bombers, yet Mr Blair and his cronies have "reviewed" defence budgets and strength downwards every year since they came to power - and they are at it again.
Yet, the same sauve Minister who assured "My Noble Lords" that the country had never been better defended, was unable to answer the challenge of a retired Admiral who threw down the gauntlet and demanded to know whether or not the civilian lawyers who now infest the MoD were aware of the damage to morale done by their lack of understanding of the realities of a battlefield rather than the niceties and luxury of being able to cerebalise events in a court room. All the Minister could do was bleat that "The MoD's legal advisers have learned a great deal from this experience."
The Admiral's quiet "I bet they have!" was all but missed as he gave a grim laugh at this response!
After all, we are talking about the same bunch of utterly worthless and incompetent Whitehall Wallahs who cut spending on the armed forces to "save money" and "pay for improved frontline equipment" (The boots that melted in the desert and the rifles that stop working if it gets too hot or too dusty!), cut the Fleet from 104 ships to 89, and then spent the equivalent of the price of a newbuild Type 45 Destroyer on "refurbishing" their office block and buying special chairs at ?1,500 each for the 3,000 papershufflers who now fill it. I never ever thought I would see the day come when I live in hope that the senior officers of the Army, Navy, and Airforce tell their political masters and the civil service cretins who carry out the damage, to "fight your own damned wars or go and keep the peace in Baghdad yourselves, our boys and girls are coming home and you bastards can clear up your own mess!" Sadly, they will not, because their professionalism and their sense of duty will not permit them to mutiny, for that is what it would be.
Civil law is not and never has been the way to judge the actions taken on a battlefield. To even consider doing so is little short of lunacy; no civilian lawyer, no matter how intelligent is ever going to be able, in the dry and rarified atmosphere of a courtroom, to understand the pressures on a young man or woman in the heat and stress of battle. That is not to say we should permit or overlook atrocity; I am saying that civilian courts and lawyers are not competent to judge it!
All power to the noble Lords who have stood up and defended the troops. Let us hope that they have started the first stones rolling of an avalanche which will drive these parasitic civil servants and their equally worthless political cronies out of power! At least let us start by throwing out the cretins who decided to bring this prosecution in the first place - identify them and sack them. Their actions have done untold damage to our troops' morale, and they have undermined the excellent work of the services under conditions that are entirely the responsibility of Whitehall! Let them pay the price with their cushy jobs - the troops are paying with their lives!
Si vis pacem, para bellum!
Posted by The Gray Monk at July 18, 2005 01:31 PM