Monday, April 19, 2010

De oppresso liber.......

Mr Mark Leader  has been discharged from the UK Armed Forces for throwing a wellington boot at a member of the Taliban who was found planting an IED in Afghanistan.  Now, many people are calling for this man to be reinstated, Facebook pages, petitions and all the usual clichés. 

You have read quite a few of the comments on this Facebook Group, and have come to the conclusion that people are maybe a little ill informed.  They seem to think that this man threw the wellington boot at the Taliban fighter whilst he was actually planting the IED, which would have been a legal way of dealing with the situation and understandable.  However what a court martial believes happened is that a SNCO in the Royal Marines, one of the most well known, revered and respected fighting forces in the world, sought out a human being, and assaulted him, while he was almost defenceless.  No matter what this member of the Taliban had done, no matter who he was, no matter how he had treated others, he was to be treated with respect and within the confines of those rules which this SNCO had fought to protect, signed up to abide buy and taken an oath to uphold.

People are throwing around clichés such as ‘Necessary evil’, but a question they should ask themselves is this, how can we possibly put an end to persecution and oppression, if we become the persecutors and oppressors ourselves?  Was the punishment too harsh? Did it fit the crime? Did he actually act in self-defence? Has there been a serious miscarriage of justice here? Was an example made of this man? Should seventeen years of service helped him at Court Martial, or should all those years of service taught him that rules are there for a reason, for a purpose?

Members of the UK Armed Forces, especially those in positions of authority, who should be setting an example, Officers, SNCOs, NCOs and the Military Police, have to be held to a higher moral standard than others, because they are at the spearhead of the fight to free the oppressed, help the helpless, to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

'Moral principle is the foundation of law.'

Ronald D Workin.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Did I ever see a Taliban fighter.......

As soon as you heard the alarm, you dived onto the floor, as you were laying there, face down in the dust, you knew you were out in the open, no blast walls to cover you, no bunker near by, your heart started to beat faster, if you had any emotions at that moment, you would have been close to tears with fear. A loud explosion in the distance, you breathed a sigh of relief, it wasn't your turn this time, but you knew someone else wasn't so lucky.

The man who was sat in the isle seat had clearly been through this before, you asked him, he said he was on his fourth tour, an infantry soldier, married, with a two year old baby girl.  Even now you remember his face, because you knew then that he was going to do something that you will never have the courage to do, the bravery to do. You tried to sleep, but after a few minutes you realised it wasn't happening, you were sure it was due to the can of red bull you had drank just before getting on the plane.

You had been feeling sick most of the journey, you didn't know whether this was due to the fact that you hate flying, or that you were scared of the unknown, eventually you managed to settle down with an autobiography, written by the second most beautiful woman in the world.

The lad who was sat next to you looked about the same age as you, he clearly hadn't done this before because he looked as white as a bed sheet, like he was going to be sick all over the floor at any moment, and he was shaking as he tried to put his helmet chin strap on. He was laughing as he was trying, but not like he was finding it amusing. You told him to calm down, and take deep breaths, he told you he had only been in the job for twelve months, and didn't expect to be heading out to Helmand so soon. You are immune to having any feelings, but if you weren't, you would have been scared for him.

As you sat in the pitch dark, the plane descended, and you suddenly realised you were in the window seat and therefore, foolishly you thought, were most likely to be hit by surface to air small arms fire, you turned to the young lad next to you, tapped him on the arm, and said to him in disbelief:

'What the fuck are we doing here?'

'What for? Did I ever see a Zulu walk down a City road? No! So what am I doing here?'

Private Henry Hook, Zulu.