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Excellent news. Sgt Alexander Blackman has his sentence reduced.

(227 Posts)
POGS Wed 15-Mar-17 12:47:12

I know from my ' Phil Shiner Thread ' I will find objections to my view but I am so pleased that Sgt Blackman has had his sentence reduced to Manslaughter.

Well done to those who have stood by him and not thrown him under the bus.

I hope he returns to his family ASAP.

I have used the link to the Daily Mail as they have championed his case.

eddiecat78 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:13:46

Pogs - I am so pleased you have posted this. I wanted to earlier but knew there would be fierce objections.
I am delighted to hear the news and hope that Sgt Blackman will be home - and left in peace very soon.
My son spent 6 months in Afghanistan as a Royal Marine. I know he witnessed terrible things but he has never felt able to talk about them. When I asked him if any of it bothers him still, he said "That is all in a box that I have to keep the lid on".

morethan2 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:21:28

I too am relieved to see this reduction in sgt Blackmans sentences. War is brutal. in my opinion none of us truly know what we're capable of when faced with such brutality there for the grace of god.

Iam64 Wed 15-Mar-17 13:41:14

I'm relieved to see the murder conviction has been overturned. Manslaughter may lead, I hope, to him being released, allowed to return home and begin the process of re-building his life.

Anyone who watched Gareth Malone working with ex service personnel, who later sang at the Invicticus Games must have been moved by the impact on those decent people of their tours of the various war zones this country has been involved in recent years.

eddiecat, I wish your son well.

Ana Wed 15-Mar-17 14:03:14

Thank you POGS.

sunseeker Wed 15-Mar-17 14:59:57

I think he should have been released pending sentencing - and then the sentence be reduced to time served.

Christinefrance Wed 15-Mar-17 15:06:26

Yes, justice is done in the main. How can we judge people when they are fighting a war, usual rules do not apply. Our service personnel need our support and understanding. There are times of course when things go wrong and this needs to be dealt with but within the context of military circumstance.

janeainsworth Wed 15-Mar-17 15:24:19

His sentence hasn't been reduced yet. As Iam says, the charge has been reduced from murder to manslaughter. That's all.

I don't think anyone will be breathing final sighs of relief until they know what the sentence is. And God only knows how anyone ever starts to get over the trauma of events like that, let alone being charged with a crime afterwards.

vampirequeen Wed 15-Mar-17 15:28:33

Unless you've served in a war zone it's impossible to know how it affects the mind. DH was in Kuwait and has a similar box to eddiecat78's DS. Sometimes his nightmares give me an insight but I still can't (thank goodness) feel the emotions he felt.

Hopefully, he'll be released soon.

thatbags Thu 16-Mar-17 07:30:11

There are reports this morning that two witnesses, who wanted to give evidence about the failures of Blackman's commanding officers, were blocked from doing so at his first court martial.

rosesarered Thu 16-Mar-17 07:36:48

I was pleased to hear about this on the news yesterday.Things that could be war crimes have to be looked at,but in a case like this one, it seems right that the sentence is commuted.We ask a lot of our soldiers, and most of the time they live up to it ( I have often thought how difficult that must be.)Well done POGS for starting a thread.

Riverwalk Thu 16-Mar-17 07:56:52

I'm glad it's been changed to manslaughter considering the circumstances he found himself in and what he'd experienced.

However, I hope we would also show compassion to an Afghan fighter - anyone under the age of 38 in that country has grown up knowing nothing but invasion, war, mayhem, corruption, and worst of all, violent Taliban rule.

Imagine how mentally-damaged they must be.

vampirequeen Thu 16-Mar-17 08:22:04

War damages everyone involved.

magpie123 Thu 16-Mar-17 08:51:10

Pleased hope he's released soon. No I don't think we should show compassion to a Taliban fighter.

yggdrasil Thu 16-Mar-17 09:00:10

At the risk of getting trolled, the taliban fighter was fighting for what he believed in in his country. He wasn't a professional trained soldier.

magpie123 Thu 16-Mar-17 09:05:23

Tell that to the families who have had their loved ones filmed having their throats slit.

rosesarered Thu 16-Mar-17 09:11:30

It would not be trolling for anyone to disagree with you ygg but at the same time,
Who would argue?No, more's the pity, they are not professional soldiers, just killers.
The Taliban are guilty of the most horrendous crimes against The Afghan people.

Ginny42 Thu 16-Mar-17 09:27:37

He knew what he had done was wrong. He was recorded by a camera in a colleague's helmet shooting an unarmed, injured man who posed no threat, at point blank range and said,

“Obviously this doesn’t go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention.”

He knows the truth and has to live with that. Punishment indeed.

glammanana Thu 16-Mar-17 09:38:49

yggdrasilI wonder if the taliban fighter who shot and fatally wounded two young girls believed in his Country,he left them to be treated by my son and his collegues in a make shift shed crying for their parents,something my boy will never forget,I am so glad Sgt Blackman has had this result may he soon be home with his family,shame on the authorities who have kept him where he is, have they ever been into a war zone and experienced the horror,both my boys went to Irag/Afgan and both also have their boxes of things they don't want to remember or talk about.

thatbags Thu 16-Mar-17 09:56:35

Fighting for what you believe isn't necessarily right. Fighting against what someone else believes in isn't necessarily wrong. Half a minute thinking about WW2 should make that abundantly clear.

Many people believe that what the Taliban and other jihadists are fighting for is fundamentally wrong. So they fight it both literally and figuratively in the "war of words" and ideas.

Gagagran Thu 16-Mar-17 10:00:42

I really have a problem with understanding why a soldier on active service, as Sgt. Blackman was, can be charged with murder or manslaughter.

The "victim" in this case had been trying to kill our soldiers and had been wounded by a helicopter gun. What was the difference between the gunner in the helicopter and Sgt. Blackman? It seems illogical to me and I think his conviction should be erased from his record. He was just doing his job as a fighting soldier.

whitewave Thu 16-Mar-17 10:11:32

I would never encourage a young person to join the services as an ordinary rank. They are under prepared for what they have to deal with, it would appear poorly commanded and lack support on return.

In other words thrown to the dogs.

Luckygirl Thu 16-Mar-17 10:31:39

I do agree whitewave - when I was working with many vulnerable adults, some of the young men whose intellectual skills were lacking and who came from very difficult backgrounds would turn to an army career as a way out of unemployment and chaotic lives. I used to shudder to think that they were the most likely to be "thrown to the dogs" rather than for example graduate entrants who would be destined for officer rank.

What this young man did is not acceptable; killing a defenceless man and then acknowledging that what he had done was not a "legitimate" act of duty, but a breach of the conventions that are there to try and make war "civilized", as if it ever could be. But if we do not cling to that vestige of civilization, then we are doomed.

However, none of us can possibly know what lay behind this; what aspects of his training might have contributed; what desperation at being placed in this situation by his superiors; what horrors he might have witnessed; how many of his mates had been killed or injured; what his state of mental health was; how he was affected by the adrenalin that must have been coursing his body - all unknown factors.

It is right and proper that he should be tried - he broke the rules in a very basic way by taking a human life; and there is no argument to excuse this on the grounds that it was an "enemy" - he clearly knew the rules. Acts such as this are regrettable in the extreme as they undermine the legitimacy of the overall action (which is worthy of debate in any case).

I feel that it is not clear cut - the army have no choice but to take action to bring this young man to book for a breach of duty; but on a human level we can all at least begin to understand what the dehumanising effect of war can be and how such actions are almost inevitable.

Let us hope that there can be a resolution that strikes a proper balance between these competing factors. It is all very sad.

rosesarered Thu 16-Mar-17 10:42:31

He was actually a sergeant.
The army encourages it's soldiers to kill the enemy ( naturally) but theres are rules.
If the enemy surrender, for instance, and show they are unarmed ( throw down guns etc.) However some things are unclear, does the injured man still have his gun on him, or grenades?In the heat of battle you can do the wrong thing easily.If the helicopter guns had fatally injured this taliban fighter, we would not even be discussing it. Soldiers have to make instant decisions.

Badenkate Thu 16-Mar-17 10:46:20

I do have a problem sorting out how I feel about this. I fully understand that he was suffering from an abnormal mental state brought about through his experiences in combat. However, as Ginny42 points out, he was quite clear that what he was doing was classed as a war crime and would be treated as such if reported on. I don't accept any arguments such as expressed above of the type that we're only doing to them what they do to other people. This is not what civilised countries and their soldiers do. I also fail to understand how anyone cannot see the difference between shooting at an active enemy from a helicopter and standing over them and executing them at close proximity.

However, if we accept that he was not fit to be on active service, then the command that put him in that position is responsible for the murder - which is what it was and would have been recognised as such in WW2 for example - of someone who was incapable of defending himself, and this is who should undergo prosecution.