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Serving Your County

(32 Posts)
Jackthelad Sun 10-Jan-16 11:07:25

When the time came I went off to do my national service, reluctantly, but knowing it had to be done. In todays political climate I feel very strongly I would rather take what ever punishment than don the Queens uniform. To be a member of the armed services means you are trained to kill. In doing your duty in defence of your nation today should it be your misfortune to have to take life the purpose for which your county trained you, you stand grave danger of being persecuted through courts for just doing what you were sent out to do. The rules of engagement are all very fine, but when in a fire fight, fear and self preservation are upper most in your mind, not the rule book. Politicians are good at sending out soldiers to take care of them by doing their dirty work, but equally good at washing their hands of them when they have served their purpose and pretending they had nothing to do with it should it go wrong anyway. This Prosecution of our service men must stop. Until you have been under fire with little or no protection you will never fully understand.

ninathenana Sun 10-Jan-16 11:50:48

Here, here !

Lona Sun 10-Jan-16 12:03:33

I agree totally! Our service personnel are very poorly treated.

Anniebach Sun 10-Jan-16 12:18:48

This is so difficult , our service men and women must be supported but we cannot dismiss war crimes . The soldier who shot and killed an injured prisoner did commit a war crime , he was in no danger , jail

If we claim they are under stress - which they must be - we must also allow the enemy to carry out war crimes and not criticise them

rosesarered Sun 10-Jan-16 16:20:00

The trouble is, that the enemy DO carry out war crimes.
I think the Army can differentiate between genuine fear/ stress related stuff and things done for the hell of it, or revenge.

NanaandGrampy Sun 10-Jan-16 16:40:58

well said Jackthelad.

I totally agree that until you have been in that situation you cannot truly understand war and make no bones about it these are not 'conflicts' we send our men and women to but wars !

I served my time in the army in the 70's and at that stage women weren't armed but as a policewoman they gave me a truncheon ...mighty handy against a kalashnikov rifle at great distance !!

I agree that war crimes cannot go unpunished but I also heartily disagree with the £5million I think it was that the government put aside to let foreign nationals get legal aid to sue our soldiers.

Id better get off my high horse now...its chilly up here grin

Anniebach Sun 10-Jan-16 17:32:08

Yes the enemy do carry out war crimes and we are angry when we read of them, either we accept guilt on both sides or we dismiss war crimes on both sides

NanaandGrampy Sun 10-Jan-16 17:42:23

I agree Anniebach , both sides must be accountable .

Where I struggle is when 'ambulance chasing lawyers' actively seek out cases . I read an article on this recently in regard to the Iraq war.

Worth a read.

Anniebach Sun 10-Jan-16 18:06:33

I have no time for ambulance chasers Nana but they are permitted to do so, why do we not have a different set up where anyone can personally lodge their allegations, free, and then take them from there

Iam64 Sun 10-Jan-16 18:20:35

Anniebach - Marine A (the soldier you refer to above) was suffering from PTSD when he shot the injured "insurgent"

I don't agree he ought to be serving a prison sentence. I share your concern about the need for our army/uniformed personnel to abide with the Geneva convention BUT men who have experienced absolutely awful, terrifying experiences over long periods of time in a war zone, may sometime react in a way they wouldn't have done in different circumstances.

I've had a fair bit of contact with ex service personnel in the course of my work. They weren't all likeable individuals and some of them had behaved dreadfully in their domestic/personal lives. It would have been remiss of me, imo, not to acknowledge the impact of their service on their psychological and emotional welfare. I am in no way excusing domestic abuse and all that goes with it but it wouldn't be fair to those men (or women) not to acknowledge they served their country and suffered as a result.

Anniebach Sun 10-Jan-16 18:43:34

Iam, I have acknowledged their stress

Luckygirl Sun 10-Jan-16 19:58:24

They are taught to kill, or they would not be soldiers. They are then thrown into impossible situations where they have to make snap decisions under extreme stress - and some of these soldiers are very young.

It has always been the case that war is a brutalising experience; and the crowd psychology of the "team" is very powerful. Given that some recruits are not necessarily people who are able to have good judgement, it is a potent cocktail. When I was a SW I was often horrified by some of the young people who went into the services because they had poor education and very poor job prospects, and sadly often poor ability.

Some of the training exercises and punishments have been shown to be brutal and irresponsible. What must this do to these young people's psychological well-being? We live near the Brecon Beacons and some of the decisions about the training there have been totally inhuman.

But, however flawed the recruitment and training, there is no choice but to prosecute where a war crime is suspected.

I am of course aware that some intelligent young people with a sense of vocation do join the armed forces; but even they, under stress and under the peer pressure, can make serious mistakes.

POGS Sun 10-Jan-16 23:27:41

Ambulance Chasing Lawyers indeed!

Can't do links but good article by Colonel Tim Collins in today's Mail on Sunday.

If the grotesque ambulance-chasing lawyers are not enough of a problem, along comes the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) paid for by the tax payer through the MOD. MP's are calling this a 'witch hunt' and that's exactly what it is.

I believe there was a thread where there was a defence of the solicitors Leigh Day solicitors, I think it's in connection with the promotion of Emily Thornberry to Shadow Secretary of State for Defence ( ye gods). It is widely reported that some employees of Leigh Day 'may' be struck off due to 'irregular' handling of abuse claims.

Does anybody remember the 'Al Sweady Inquiry' (The Battle of Danny Boy) held against our soldiers who were hounded for 5 years and concluded last year.?

The allegations were found to be 'wholely and entirely without merit' and based on 'deliberate and calculated lies'. The same 'vested interests' who make a fortune out of our legal system such as Leigh Day and the well known Phil Shiner's Public Interest Lawyers refused to apologise at that time and I don't know if they ever have. I remember at the time Sir Nicholas Soames asked Ed Miliband if Labour would donate the money the Labour Party had received from Leigh Day to the charity for wounded soldiers. I don't think that happened or Emily Thornberry would have used it in her defence. People have long memories and there should be no surprise this has been raised again.

There are most certainly people who act in an unethical, disreputable manner (shyster's) who sit behind a desk and would be scared witless to have to serve in our armed forces but they excel at money grabbing, unethical means to fill their pockets at our expense but more callously without any sense of loyalty to the brave men and women who do serve in our armed forces. For the Ministry of Defence to be going down the same road beggers belief.

As for Marine Sgt. Alexander Blackman I hope he is released sooner rather than later.

Anniebach Mon 11-Jan-16 09:56:21

No one can say all servicemen/women are innocent of war crimes, all criminal acts cannot be put down to stress. The armed forces is no different to police or any other profession , made up of people of honour, but also bullies and liars .

gillybob Mon 11-Jan-16 10:12:27

I agree with everything you have said Jackthelad.

What is it about this country? The lawyers? and the press?

There must be very few countries in the world who are so damned politically correct that they would seek to prosecute a soldier for effectively doing what he was trained to do.

Can anyone really imagine what it must be like to see your friend and colleague blown to bits?

Who among us might not to feel the need to "get one back"?

Lawyers are lawyers aren't they? All they see is ££££££££ signs. They would defend/procecute anyone for £££££££££.

Anniebach Mon 11-Jan-16 10:18:02

Armed forces do their work, lawyers do theirs,

Just before Christmas in a village here, two soldiers beat up a sixteen year old with learning difficulties, hit him to the ground , kicked him and he was rushed to hospital with severe head , abdomen injuries and broken limbs .

Stress ? Or just thugs ?

grumppa Mon 11-Jan-16 10:37:27

Unless I have misunderstood where you live, anniebach, the undoubtedly thuggish soldiers to whom you refer were not on active service in a war zone.

POGS Mon 11-Jan-16 10:45:43

Without knowing the story I would suggest 'Thugs' because the environment was totally different, the evidence will be factual and they will receive due punishment.

There is a difference between a night out in Wales and a posting to a war zone and the 'Stress' is understood, by most people. We can only imagine living in a 24/7 environment where you are trained to kill or be killed. Training can only go so far the psychological battering these men and women have to deal with is immense. They are not there to simply let out their anger for goodness sake. They are there to do a job and that cannot be done by giving out sweets or saying please and thank you, they have to defend themselves in the manner of the opposition.

And no I am not condoning anybody who may have blatantly acted in a manner that breaks with the law but I sure as hell hate lawyers known to be making a fortune on the backs of false evidence and some idiots somewhere will listen to it believing it must be true 'a lawyer' said so.

POGS Mon 11-Jan-16 10:46:44


Same wave length.

Anniebach Mon 11-Jan-16 10:58:26

Grumpa, I spoke of it because it shows the armed forces do not only have heroes, like all walks of life they have people who are bullies .

Can we say this brutal attack should be put down to - they are trained to kill ?

POGS Mon 11-Jan-16 11:03:12


Elegran Mon 11-Jan-16 11:14:04

It can be put down to those individuals being brutal to start with, and learning to do it efficiently when they were trained for combat, then using it on someone who was not their enemy.

There are plenty of people with the same basic instinct for brutality, but because they were soldiers that fact is linked in the mind to their actions.

There are also many many soldiers who can use their training in the field, but would not dream of using it on an unarmed and outnumbered civilian.

gillybob Mon 11-Jan-16 11:17:05

Wise words Elegran

Bullies are bullies whether they are Teachers,Soldiers, Police Officers or whatever.

LullyDully Mon 11-Jan-16 11:21:48

In my experience from talking to serving personnel, they are tied very firmly by the Geneva Convention.

There will.always be rogue members of any professional.

At least we are prepared to face up to this in the UK. However the numbers of soldiers accused of involvement does seem excessive.

Anniebach Mon 11-Jan-16 11:24:11

Just so, and the same applies to war crimes , to dismiss all allegations is wrong .

What angers me is a soldier who has witnessed horrors can be prosecuted for war crimes yet America can bomb a MSF hospital and say sorry it was a mistake , no outcry