War Crimes Scandal: Did The Army Cover Up Torture And Murder In The Middle East?

Victory

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It is a very tricky subject.
Remember seeing a documentary about Afghanistan, where the rules of engagement for British land forces were restrictive in that they were not permitted to fire unless being fired upon.
It is a war where the enemy often (but not always) wear civilian clothes and/or embed themselves in civilian populations rather than military bases, or basically are civilians who work on farms and sometimes pick up a weapon, fire it at the Allies, then go straight back to ploughing a field.

So how do Special Forces raids fit into that?

It is a mass of questions of which I have no answers:

Who ordered the killings, was it Ruperts (officers) or did an unauthorised collective with Special Forces decide they would take the law into their own hands?
If they did, what was the "operational" reason?
And the motive?
Was it a protest against the rules of engagement?
Was it designed to striker fear/respect into the hearts of the enemy?
Was it blood lust/revenge?
Was it racially motivated?
Was it a test of machismo?

To what extent are the allegations true?

It looks right now as "No smoke without fire", and the whistleblowers are senior Special Forces veterans,

but

Remember Carl Beech (Nick), the fake child abuse accuser?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...serial-child-abuse-accuser-became-the-accused

And remember there are interests who want to smear British forces, and other military forces, who have been accused of firing on civilians.
But then subsequently a considered investigation shows that the so-called civilians were far from the media depiction of friendly chaps who just happened to be mucking around with a gun they found on the street after a night out and a kebab on the way home.

Let's procede with caution until more details emerge, or not.
 

AnonyJoolz

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I, for one, believe that we should commit evil actions because we are fighting people who commit evil actions. It's the only way to show them and the rest of the world that evil actions are unacceptable.

I also believe that we should only obey our own laws when we are fighting people who obey the laws we have given them. Clearly the laws were drafted with bad people in mind, not with us good folks who should be free to disregard them in the name of a higher cause.

Having now contributed in my personal capacity, I will leave the other moderators to take care of this thread, but I would caution that Stu Neville has made it quite clear that this will not be allowed to become another 'Whatabout the Muslims' thread of the kind that the two contributors above so love.

The thread has already been reported and will no doubt come to his attention before too very long.
I, personally, tend to subscribe to the view that someone (ie 'us' I hope) has to be the better person, collectively.

Someone has to take the moral high ground and be the more civilised, in general, as I do believe there are moral absolutes; that is, not everything is morally relative.

My opinion is that resorting to repeated and knowingly evil actions just makes us as bad and reprehensible as those 'we' are fighting and semblances of humanity are lost.

I would surmise that (generally) UK troops have a (fairly) good reputation in this regard as do most other European nations post-WWII. I know from conversations with serving friends and family that US troops are regarded as more trigger-happy and prone to Rambo-like posturing.

There are occasions when serving personnel commit awful acts and I would never defend them unless they are committed in an altered mental state; if their actions are concious, deliberate and arise from a dehumanised view of 'others' then they deserve the full weight of whatever international law could apply. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some hushed-up war crimes that have occurred in the Middle East, committed by personnel from all nations resident or serving in that area of the world. 'The Army' in the thread title isn't very specific.

I am now writing specifically of the actions of the soldiers responsible for the gang-rape of 14 year old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and the murders of her and most of her family in Iraq in 2006. There was an initial cover-up, but a few months later one soldier learned of the war crimes and managed to report it to an Army-employed mental health specialist thereby bypassing the chain of command and the people already involved in hushing it up. So there was at least one middle-east war crime that was covered up for a short time. There is also evidence the war crimes triggered a revenge attack, resulting in two more lives lost.
*warning - this article is upsetting* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_rape_and_killings

To the credit of the US justice system on this occasion the sentences they received matched the abhorrence of their offences.
 

AlchoPwn

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This thread isn't an excuse to launch into religion-based ranting any more than it is an excuse to head off into politics.
So how is stating a simple fact about a reality I have lived thru somehow "religion baiting" or "politics" now? Thought police much? I was discussing the FACT that if you look at the conduct of Middle Eastern regimes and their terrorist organizations with regards to human rights, and the fact that they are almost never held properly to account as individuals for their war crimes, that this entire attitude is hypocritical and self destructive to our collective national interests. As to the Blue Helmets, they have their own misconduct to answer for, and it is not inconsiderable. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, which goes for you too Frideswide.
 
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AlchoPwn

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I, for one, believe that we should commit evil actions because we are fighting people who commit evil actions. It's the only way to show them and the rest of the world that evil actions are unacceptable.
Try a different idea. Ethics are effectively suspended in a war zone. The business of killing people and securing territory is implicitly unethical even if notionally done with the best possible intentions.
I also believe that we should only obey our own laws when we are fighting people who obey the laws we have given them. Clearly the laws were drafted with bad people in mind, not with us good folks who should be free to disregard them in the name of a higher cause.
When an enemy who is subject to no law is using the laws you inflict on your own people as a means to attack your most effective troops for mistakes they made in the field, then the laws are made implicitly ridiculous, as that law has become a further weapon in the hands of a dictator.
Having now contributed in my personal capacity, I will leave the other moderators to take care of this thread, but I would caution that Stu Neville has made it quite clear that this will not be allowed to become another 'Whatabout the Muslims' thread of the kind that the two contributors above so love. The thread has already been reported and will no doubt come to his attention before too very long.
Yep, the thought police are back in town. I really like living in a free country where I don't have to put up with this sort of thing from touchy virtue signallers who will deliberately misinterpret whatever you say if it isn't lockstep with political correctness.:cool:
 

stu neville

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, which goes for you too Frideswide.
Me. I oversee the moderators, and this thread. I'll restate what I said earlier - nobody is denying the crimes of factions who use their faiths to justify their actions. We all know that, and it is taken as read. This thread is entirely about the actions of Western military personnel.
Yep, the thought police are back in town. I really like living in a free country where I don't have to put up with this sort of thing from touchy virtue signallers who will deliberately misinterpret whatever you say if it isn't lockstep with political correctness.
It isn't even remotely about that. I've already explained above what this thread is about. We don't need to play at moral equivalence, so there's no need to behave like we're condoning the activities of fanatics, because we aren't. The PC Lockstep is another reason we banned politics from this board.

As for thought-policing, nobody is telling you what opinions you can have or what you can believe or disbelieve. However, on this site we can with complete justification adjudicate when topics are veering off into well-worn territory which generates far more heat than light and invariably becomes a shit-fest of accusation and counter accusation.

Some people use Islam as a flag of convenience to commit atrocities. We all agree. No need to keep harping on it - move on.
 

AlchoPwn

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As for thought-policing, nobody is telling you what opinions you can have or what you can believe or disbelieve. However, on this site we can with complete justification adjudicate when topics are veering off into well-worn territory which generates far more heat than light and invariably becomes a shit-fest of accusation and counter accusation.
Well, let's put it another way. I don't see anyone but the moderators kicking up a stink about what I wrote. Isn't that thought policing? Who is the offended party here? Me apparently now. I'm complaining. I wrote a comment that many people up-voted and got stacked on by the mods because of what is implicitly a political agenda. Yes, I wanted to be a bit polemic and challenging, but everything I said about the Middle Eastern regimes in question is factually correct, and the point I was making was to illustrate the fact that why do we protect the rights of civilians in countries we are at war with when their own governments, and even the individuals themselves often treat their lives as next to valuless, often due the preconceptions of their religious affiliation? To ignore the role of that affiliation is wrong when it persistently creates these terrible outcomes, surely? When you say "some people", how about we correct that and say "a hell of a lot of people", or "way too many people"? Yet, for some reason, we aren't allowed to talk about it. Why not? Isn't the issue of the religion in question, its role in regional politics and its atrocious human rights record something that needs to be discussed in the general forum of war crimes? Isn't the religious affiliation in question responsible for an awful lot of war crimes? Why can't we talk about that? Why has that become a taboo? Personally I communicate with victims of that religious affiliation who have left it in fear of their lives pretty much every day. When you silence the ability to criticise what is implicitly a very ethically compromised religion you are effectively silencing its victims, and that is supporting and legitimizing that ethical failure. And yes, as I am suffering PTSD as a result of my contact with the religious affiliation in question I include myself among the victims.
 

Yithian

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Try a different idea. Ethics are effectively suspended in a war zone. The business of killing people and securing territory is implicitly unethical even if notionally done with the best possible intentions.
When an enemy who is subject to no law is using the laws you inflict on your own people as a means to attack your most effective troops for mistakes they made in the field, then the laws are made implicitly ridiculous, as that law has become a further weapon in the hands of a dictator.
Yep, the thought police are back in town. I really like living in a free country where I don't have to put up with this sort of thing from touchy virtue signallers who will deliberately misinterpret whatever you say if it isn't lockstep with political correctness.:cool:
You have some very unusual views that would not pass muster in either legal or philosophical debate. Usually I would applaud divergent thinking, but the consequences of yours would be, frankly, abhorrent. That is not to say that you are a abhorrent person--you don't seem to be--but your personal hatred of Islam causes you to throw reason to the wind when discussing the treatment of its adherents.

I could rebut your points seriatim by, for instance, pointing out how a declaration of all war-zones as morality-free zones would award a licence to the monsters of the world (already held insufficiently to account) to commit genocide; or by demonstrating how such an absurd move would inevitably lead to the declaration of domestic disputes as wars in order to justify oppression of dissent, protest and political opposition; I might even target your odd assertion that wars are primarily about securing territory, but it seems more efficient to extirpate the beliefs that have produced this varied yet toxic fruit:
  • You seem to view laws as some kind of convenience to be cast aside when awkward exigencies arise.
  • You seem to view laws as properly applying only to law-abiding people.
  • You seem to view illegal actions on the part of western powers as indications of the moral depravity of their opponents.
All three of these are perverse.

Laws--especially of the sort that touch upon matters of life and death, liberty and confinement--are not mere operating principles or statements of 'best practice', they are some of the purist expressions of the beliefs of a society. A country with rotten laws is, almost always, a rotten country with a rotten society, or, at least, an oppressed society labouring under a rotten state.

Laws prohibiting murder, torture, rape, arbitrary imprisonment and the destruction of private property are not simple utilitarian conclusions from the logic that a society with, say, murder or torture brings less happiness that one without, they are a public declaration that human life and dignity are sacrosanct, and, hence, we as a society will not enter into the accounting of the worthiness of this or that life, or the pros and cons of any particular act of torture. They are a statement that we are not the kind of people who murder or torture even when it may be to our advantage, because these actions are of that very limited class that can be judged as evil in itself without needing to refer to the circumstances in which it was committed.

A far greater mind than mine once said:

It has been said — and it is a fact — that these 11 men were the lowest of the low; subhuman was the word which one of my honorable Friends used. So be it. But that cannot be relevant to the acceptance of responsibility for their death . . . In general, I would say that it is a fearful doctrine, which must recoil upon the heads of those who pronounce it, to stand in judgement on a fellow human being and to say, “Because he was such-and-such, therefore the consequences which would otherwise flow from his death shall not flow.”
Nor can we ourselves pick and choose where and in what parts of the world we shall use this or that kind of standard. We cannot say, “We will have African standards in Africa, Asian standards in Asia and perhaps British standards here at home.” We have not that choice to make. We must be consistent with ourselves everywhere.

This is precisely because the laws we pass to voluntarily bind ourselves have nothing whatsoever to do with those with whom our subjects/citizens interact and everything to do with ourselves. The geographic location, religion, beliefs and actions of those with whom we interact are an irrelevance.

By analogy, on one's wedding day one makes a vow of love and fidelity--and, moreover, asks the congregation to hold one to it. That vow is taken willingly as a voluntary imposition upon one's future self, and there are no circumstances or technicalities whereby its violation can be judged reasonable; it was an expression of one's own morality and a call to judge one by one's own standards. To be found wanting against another's ethical standards is of debatable concern; to be found wanting against your own publicly attested beliefs is fatal. So-called ethical stances that change according to the country one is in or the religion of the man in the gunsight are nothing of the kind--they are transparent propaganda: you don't judge people by what they say, you judge them by what they do. It's rather like the old idea of free-speech. Upholding the rights of those you agree with to speak their minds means very little; it's fighting for the rights of those whom you loathe that proves your commitment.

Murder is bad... except for when it's against those bastards.

From this it can be seen that it is particularly important that the military be subjected to national law, as it is they who much more frequently find themselves with the power of life and death, liberty and detention over others. And by that token it is doubly important for those who work in the shadows of espionage, special operations and counter-insurgency, because it is they for whom the unethical action must prove the most tempting.

I am a loyal supporter of the British military. I believe that much more often than not they behave admirably. I am also no admirer of Islam and am highly suspicious of the claim that it has a legitimate place in a modern civilised society. None of that stops me believing concurrently that it is important to investigate those claims that have prima facie merit and weed-out those who have lost sight of what they are supposed to be doing. Yes, that makes it more difficult to fight and win wars; no, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing it--convenience isn't often a good excuse for anything.

Your approach would make monsters of our men and monsters of ourselves for sanctioning it.
 

AlchoPwn

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You have some very unusual views that would not pass muster in either legal or philosophical debate. Usually I would applaud divergent thinking, but the consequences of yours would be, frankly, abhorrent. That is not to say that you are a abhorrent person--you don't seem to be--but your personal hatred of Islam causes you to throw reason to the wind when discussing the treatment of its adherents.
On the contrary, I have never harmed a Muslim, beyond seeking police intervention in the prevention of criminal activity,which is not true of their behavior towards me. I see a direct correlation between the attitudes of intolerance expressed in the religious teachings of Islam and the behavior of its adherents therefore. I prefer honesty when confronting this. Perhaps not "every Muslim" is directly involved, but you know what? Too many are. Too many pay lip service to intolerance. Too many are apologists or tacitly in approval of beliefs and actions that are utterly antithetical to the rule of law within the countries that harbour them as refugees. I am generally an extremely tolerant person to all other immigrants, understanding that in my travels that there are good and bad people in every community, but there is common ground in most communities with regards to personal and social values. My personal experience has revealed to me that this is not the case with Muslims, and in fact I have paid a price for my interactions with the Muslim community that I would spare other people from, despite their ignorance of the threat that Muslim attitudes and likely behavior pose towards them. I also feel no shame in saying that I think the policy of allowing Muslims to migrate to Western countries is extremely foolish and should be reversed asap. I do not advocate this treatment for any other group of Migrants or refugees, many of whom are victims of Muslim aggression. Due to a politically correct agenda that flies in the face of the facts, there is a clamp down on any rational debate or discussion on this rising problem.

So let me address the issues that you have raised...
You seem to view laws as some kind of convenience to be cast aside when awkward exigencies arise.
Not so. I see the laws as essential to the functioning of a civilization. Having been in a war zone or two over the years, thanks to my work as a translator, I was very aware that war zones are not places where notions like "law and order" have any meaning whatsoever. Warzones are anarchies. Is this a desirable state of affairs? No. War is bad... Duh. War is also implicitly an unethical pursuit. In fact the most detrimental power of a dictator is that they can force a peaceful person/nation into a situation where they must make implicitly unethical decisions for their own safety and survival, e.g. going to war. I see it as a fate accompli that what you euphemistically term "awkward exigencies" will emerge. For example, nobody really wants to shoot anybody unless they are somewhat unhinged, but shooting people is implicitly one of the jobs of a soldier, and under normal circumstances in a civilized lawful setting this would be an unlawful act, but during a war, such acts are legally sanctioned and approved of; even rewarded. Awkward...

You say that law should not be treated as a convenience to be cast aside when it becomes inconvenient during a war. I put it to you that there has never been any law in a war zone. The very notion of that is an absurd fiction that has no congruence with reality the moment a shot is fired. There is no law in a war zone, there has never been any. To suggest otherwise is mere pretence, or represents total ignorance. Law is, at best, somewhat re-established after the fact, and will remain shaky for years afterwards. War is anarchy, and when arbitrary rules are used to kill one's own side for infractions of a notional morality that the enemy doesn't observe and is all but impossible to obey during conflict, then the very forces of law and order become an expression of institutionally enforced insanity, as they have no basis in reality, as that loss of a sense of reality is what a number of insanities entail.
You seem to view laws as properly applying only to law-abiding people.
This is simplistic. My position is more nuanced. I quite like Rousseau's idea of the social contract, as an implicit understanding and a cultural assumption, rather than a literal document. Laws exist largely out of habit in civilized settings, and the underlying assumptions about the law are part of the culture one is raised with. Do laws only apply to law-abiding people? Well, no, as the people who don't abide by the law are criminals, and it is due to them that the laws exist in the first place. I would suggest that this entire point is something of a truism at this point.

Now let's talk about law and order during an insurgency in an occupied (formerly sovereign and culturally distinct) country. The underlying assumptions should not be the same as the situation is very different indeed. The citizens of the occupied country have their own ideas about what constitutes law and order, and will regularly be very antithetical to any occupying force. This is likely to extend to the insurgents completely ignoring any notions of "rules of war" as they are likely to be irregular forces, and not part of any organized military. This will include insurgents committing atrocities on their own people, as a means of forcing their compliance out of fear, and often as revenge for imagined betrayals. In the vast majority of cases, the legal cost to the insurgents for these actions will be nothing. The forces of the occupation may well be ready to prosecute them if they can catch them, but the occupied population will never bring a charge. Where is your rule of law now? It's a joke. A sick joke, and that is the reality of most war zones.

The civilian population is caught between the two forces but can't be seen to get too close to either of them or there will be reprisals, because in an age of asymmetric warfare, the difference between a civilian and a combatant is the distance between a civilian and a firearm. This is of course a deeply unethical situation for all concerned, but ethics and the rule of law have precious little reality in the anarchy of a war zone. To pretend otherwise is deliberate ignorance.
You seem to view illegal actions on the part of western powers as indications of the moral depravity of their opponents.
I think I should accuse you of racism for making this characterization of my argument. It bears no resemblance to what I am suggesting as I understand it. This is flippant, dismissive, and assumptive.

My assumption is that nobody in a war zone is anything other than morally depraved. All sides are morally depraved, including the civilians, as that is the nature of the beast that is war. A war zone is anarchy. Everyone involved's survival is threatened if not actively compromised most of the time, and everyone is twitchy and anxious as a result. Mistakes will inevitably be made, so why should only professional forces be paying for their mistakes?

During an asymmetrical conflict an insurgent is not likely to be caught for the crimes they perform unless the counter-insurgents are surprisingly effective, which history has shown is an extremely likely state of affairs. In fact, most of the so-called insurgents who end up in jail will be innocent patsies served up by the real insurgency to placate and divert the occupation, and likely radicalize the falsely accused civilian. That's the reality of the situation most of the time; the so-called rule of law being entirely counterproductive and actively serving the insurgent's interests, because laws don't adapt quickly enough to emerging situations in a conflict, and so become weaponized by the insurgents. And I will go so far as to suggest that you will say that changing the law to suit the emerging situation would be a collapse of ethical standards that is unacceptable, which simply perpetuates the tactical abuse of the legal system by the insurgency. Why shoot an enemy from the SAS (they're really hard to kill) when you can trick him into shooting an innocent civilian and his own people will lock him up? I can admire the audacity and cunning, if not the outcome.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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On the contrary, I have never harmed a Muslim, beyond seeking police intervention in the prevention of criminal activity,which is not true of their behavior towards me. I see a direct correlation between the attitudes of intolerance expressed in the religious teachings of Islam and the behavior of its adherents therefore. I prefer honesty when confronting this. Perhaps not "every Muslim" is directly involved, but you know what? Too many are. Too many pay lip service to intolerance. Too many are apologists or tacitly in approval of beliefs and actions that are utterly antithetical to the rule of law within the countries that harbour them as refugees. I am generally an extremely tolerant person to all other immigrants, understanding that in my travels that there are good and bad people in every community, but there is common ground in most communities with regards to personal and social values. My personal experience has revealed to me that this is not the case with Muslims, and in fact I have paid a price for my interactions with the Muslim community that I would spare other people from, despite their ignorance of the threat that Muslim attitudes and likely behavior pose towards them. I also feel no shame in saying that I think the policy of allowing Muslims to migrate to Western countries is extremely foolish and should be reversed asap. I do not advocate this treatment for any other group of Migrants or refugees, many of whom are victims of Muslim aggression. Due to a politically correct agenda that flies in the face of the facts, there is a clamp down on any rational debate or discussion on this rising problem.

So let me address the issues that you have raised...
Not so. I see the laws as essential to the functioning of a civilization. Having been in a war zone or two over the years, thanks to my work as a translator, I was very aware that war zones are not places where notions like "law and order" have any meaning whatsoever. Warzones are anarchies. Is this a desirable state of affairs? No. War is bad... Duh. War is also implicitly an unethical pursuit. In fact the most detrimental power of a dictator is that they can force a peaceful person/nation into a situation where they must make implicitly unethical decisions for their own safety and survival, e.g. going to war. I see it as a fate accompli that what you euphemistically term "awkward exigencies" will emerge. For example, nobody really wants to shoot anybody unless they are somewhat unhinged, but shooting people is implicitly one of the jobs of a soldier, and under normal circumstances in a civilized lawful setting this would be an unlawful act, but during a war, such acts are legally sanctioned and approved of; even rewarded. Awkward...

You say that law should not be treated as a convenience to be cast aside when it becomes inconvenient during a war. I put it to you that there has never been any law in a war zone. The very notion of that is an absurd fiction that has no congruence with reality the moment a shot is fired. There is no law in a war zone, there has never been any. To suggest otherwise is mere pretence, or represents total ignorance. Law is, at best, somewhat re-established after the fact, and will remain shaky for years afterwards. War is anarchy, and when arbitrary rules are used to kill one's own side for infractions of a notional morality that the enemy doesn't observe and is all but impossible to obey during conflict, then the very forces of law and order become an expression of institutionally enforced insanity, as they have no basis in reality, as that loss of a sense of reality is what a number of insanities entail.

This is simplistic. My position is more nuanced. I quite like Rousseau's idea of the social contract, as an implicit understanding and a cultural assumption, rather than a literal document. Laws exist largely out of habit in civilized settings, and the underlying assumptions about the law are part of the culture one is raised with. Do laws only apply to law-abiding people? Well, no, as the people who don't abide by the law are criminals, and it is due to them that the laws exist in the first place. I would suggest that this entire point is something of a truism at this point.

Now let's talk about law and order during an insurgency in an occupied (formerly sovereign and culturally distinct) country. The underlying assumptions should not be the same as the situation is very different indeed. The citizens of the occupied country have their own ideas about what constitutes law and order, and will regularly be very antithetical to any occupying force. This is likely to extend to the insurgents completely ignoring any notions of "rules of war" as they are likely to be irregular forces, and not part of any organized military. This will include insurgents committing atrocities on their own people, as a means of forcing their compliance out of fear, and often as revenge for imagined betrayals. In the vast majority of cases, the legal cost to the insurgents for these actions will be nothing. The forces of the occupation may well be ready to prosecute them if they can catch them, but the occupied population will never bring a charge. Where is your rule of law now? It's a joke. A sick joke, and that is the reality of most war zones.

The civilian population is caught between the two forces but can't be seen to get too close to either of them or there will be reprisals, because in an age of asymmetric warfare, the difference between a civilian and a combatant is the distance between a civilian and a firearm. This is of course a deeply unethical situation for all concerned, but ethics and the rule of law have precious little reality in the anarchy of a war zone. To pretend otherwise is deliberate ignorance.
I think I should accuse you of racism for making this characterization of my argument. It bears no resemblance to what I am suggesting as I understand it. This is flippant, dismissive, and assumptive.

My assumption is that nobody in a war zone is anything other than morally depraved. All sides are morally depraved, including the civilians, as that is the nature of the beast that is war. A war zone is anarchy. Everyone involved's survival is threatened if not actively compromised most of the time, and everyone is twitchy and anxious as a result. Mistakes will inevitably be made, so why should only professional forces be paying for their mistakes?

During an asymmetrical conflict an insurgent is not likely to be caught for the crimes they perform unless the counter-insurgents are surprisingly effective, which history has shown is an extremely likely state of affairs. In fact, most of the so-called insurgents who end up in jail will be innocent patsies served up by the real insurgency to placate and divert the occupation, and likely radicalize the falsely accused civilian. That's the reality of the situation most of the time; the so-called rule of law being entirely counterproductive and actively serving the insurgent's interests, because laws don't adapt quickly enough to emerging situations in a conflict, and so become weaponized by the insurgents. And I will go so far as to suggest that you will say that changing the law to suit the emerging situation would be a collapse of ethical standards that is unacceptable, which simply perpetuates the tactical abuse of the legal system by the insurgency. Why shoot an enemy from the SAS (they're really hard to kill) when you can trick him into shooting an innocent civilian and his own people will lock him up? I can admire the audacity and cunning, if not the outcome.
Whilst I can go along with many of the points you eloquently make, AlchoPwn, I cannot concur that anything goes, just because war is anarchy.

Let's face it, there is a huge range of alleged "war crimes". I doubt anyone here would try to defend rape and murder, as quoted by Frideswide above.
On the other hand, shooting enemy combatants who have ostensibly surrendered I would say is perfectly acceptable, given the treacherous and honour-free nature of this particular enemy. A favourite ploy has been to be taken prisoner and then explode their concealed suicide-belt.
Similar things happened in WW2, when there came a point when the Brits, Americans and other allies got fed up of being shot at or having a grenade exploded by Japanese troops who had their hands up seconds before. So, shooting Japanese soldiers who were either genuinely or more probably not genuinely surrendering, should never have been treated as a war crime. A few years ago, there was a malicious prosecution against a British soldier who, in Afghanistan, shot a wounded Taliban. I was very pleased that the case was dismissed.
So can we agree that we are discussing a wide spectrum of incidents, some of which are understandable and forgivable, but others are not?
 
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Mouldy13

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Soldiers are made well aware in training what their responsibilities are in the field of combat. Yes in Afghanistan they are fighting an enemy who will not hesitate to ignore the rules of engagement, but that is no defence. If, and its a big if, we in the west are so morally superior to these madmen then it we must demonstrate it.

historically we've seen what happens when troops have mentally "de-humanised" a population, My Lai in Vietnam, Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Friends of mine who are current and ex servicemen are unanimous that these cases should be dealt with severely
 

stu neville

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Before I say anything else, PTSD is a horrible affliction, and you have my sympathy, and as such it does add shade and nuance to what you say here and why it is a subject about which you feel so impassioned. That I get, and we can all see that you feel strongly moved to make your case. In that context:
I also feel no shame in saying that I think the policy of allowing Muslims to migrate to Western countries is extremely foolish and should be reversed asap. I do not advocate this treatment for any other group of Migrants or refugees, many of whom are victims of Muslim aggression. Due to a politically correct agenda that flies in the face of the facts, there is a clamp down on any rational debate or discussion on this rising problem.
On November 24th last year, on this very thread, we had this exchange over much the same point:
...you are stuck worrying that someone is going to be offended when the streets are already painted in blood. You're behaving like a pacifist in 1936; but the writing is already on the wall if you have the courage to read it.
I'm not stuck, nor am I worried about people taking offence in person or by proxy. What I'm doing is enforcing the agreed rules and tone of this board, which is my ultimate responsibility, and you're contravening them.

For that reason, and that reason alone, I'll ask you one more time to cease that line of argument. Your point has been made, let it rest there.
This is on the page before this one. No-one has deleted or edited the above. Now, as far as I am concerned that aspect of the discussion is closed. You are of course welcome to engage with the topic at the point to which it has progressed - we've moved into the ethical about which you clearly have a well-developed system of thought and your input from that angle is welcome, however I will suggest if it does cause anguish or exacerbates your PTSD, and as such you will find it impossible to not bring Islam back into the discussion, then step away from the thread.
 

Victory

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Soldiers are made well aware in training what their responsibilities are in the field of combat. Yes in Afghanistan they are fighting an enemy who will not hesitate to ignore the rules of engagement, but that is no defence. If, and its a big if, we in the west are so morally superior to these madmen then it we must demonstrate it.

historically we've seen what happens when troops have mentally "de-humanised" a population, My Lai in Vietnam, Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Friends of mine who are current and ex servicemen are unanimous that these cases should be dealt with severely
De-humanising people is a historical slippery slope and I agree we have seen what it can lead to.

But then troops can be placed under terrible provocation.
I knew someone who was a Para in Belfast in the 70's.

He had seen colleagues approached by teenage women from houses, who were carrying trays of tea cups, offering them tea.

They accepted, then the women threw the tea in their faces.
Nasty enough if it was very hot tea, but it was acid.

When soon after he was confronted with a hostile crowd throwing bricks and petrol bombs, he let off some shots.
Self-defence yes, but to what extent was it revenge or a deep rooted feeling the crowd were people who did not care for the rules of war?

He was found guilty of whatever charge he had incurred, and sent to Colchester military prison.

After release, he was sent straight back to Belfast.

Two days later, confronted by another hostile crowd, he started shooting again.

He was dismissed form the army, not sure if court martialled or medically discarged.

But he said in hindsight he was suffering from PTSD, and should never have been sent straight back to Belfast.
He had received no treatment for his initial "frayed nerves".

The effects stayed with him for a long time - he moved around different friends' houses, worked temporary jobs, and worked hard, kept himself clean and well groomed and reasonably fit, but it took him a decade to keep a permanent home or hold down a permanent long-term job.
 
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DougalLongfoot

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I knew someone who was a Para in Belfast in the 70's.

He had seen colleagues approached by teenage women from houses, who were carrying trays of tea cups, offering them tea.

They accepted, then the women threw the tea in their faces.
Nasty enough if it was very hot tea, but it was acid.
I'm unable to find any reference to such incidents online, nor are acid attacks mentioned in Julian Thompson's history of the Parachute Regiment (in which he does give an extremely pro Para version of the Bloody Sunday killings).
 

Victory

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I'm unable to find any reference to such incidents online, nor are acid attacks mentioned in Julian Thompson's history of the Parachute Regiment (in which he does give an extremely pro Para version of the Bloody Sunday killings).
The entire history of the world is not contained online.
My friend served.
 
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AlchoPwn

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Soldiers are made well aware in training what their responsibilities are in the field of combat. Yes in Afghanistan they are fighting an enemy who will not hesitate to ignore the rules of engagement, but that is no defence.
Isn't it? Why not? Why should our soldiers have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs by laws that are completely divorced from reality in a war zone? Should they be expected to shoot themselves as well? Because they do you know... I am not advocating atrocity for atrocity's sake (though admittedly that was the way the Khanate and Timurids subdued Afghanistan, so it is historically known to work), but mistakes will happen, and I don't think a person with what is called "actionable intelligence" who kills someone who may or may not have been innocent, should be potentially jailed for it. If the enemy observes no such rules, why should we? Its absurd.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Isn't it? Why not? Why should our soldiers have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs by laws that are completely divorced from reality in a war zone? Should they be expected to shoot themselves as well? Because they do you know... I am not advocating atrocity for atrocity's sake (though admittedly that was the way the Khanate and Timurids subdued Afghanistan, so it is historically known to work), but mistakes will happen, and I don't think a person with what is called "actionable intelligence" who kills someone who may or may not have been innocent, should be potentially jailed for it. If the enemy observes no such rules, why should we? Its absurd.
Because one day the fighting stops and people remember. I've said before that growing up we had several ex-German-POWS living in our town. They were completely accepted - part of our community. They were accepted because they fought but committed no atrocities.

People were over hate and destruction. Would they have been accepted if they were SS? probably not.

I really would look at stepping away from this and looking after yourself. PTSD is truly awful and you should not have to carry that alone. I was involved in a car accident and I still relive it every time a car comes up to my left. I'm back there again.
 

Mouldy13

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De-humanising people is a historical slippery slope and I agree we have seen what it can lead to.

But then troops can be placed under terrible provocation.
I knew someone who was a Para in Belfast in the 70's.

He had seen colleagues approached by teenage women from houses, who were carrying trays of tea cups, offering them tea.

They accepted, then the women threw the tea in their faces.
Nasty enough if it was very hot tea, but it was acid.
No, I'm sorry, this did not happen, I'm not suggesting you are lying, but you've been lied to
 

AlchoPwn

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Yeah, sounds like these ASF guys were too trigger happy, and they will have to live with what they did, but what they did pales to utter insignificance next to the brutality routinely dished out to the civilian population by the Taliban, Al-Quaeda and ISIS, and the casual brutality of Afghan society in general. We are talking about a society of tribal warfare, slavery, all the "good stuff". If the Afghans themselves treat each other as if their lives don't matter, and suicide bombing points to the same opinion by many people in that community about their own lives, how are outsiders supposed to value the lives of these people? I mean, this is a land where you can literally pay blood price of a couple of hundred dollars and the local community will say "no harm, no foul". I know, I've seen it happen, then the driver of one of my friends skittled a kid on the edge of Kabul. It basically amounted to a $300 blood money fine and another $50 to the police to organize a peaceful meeting. I seriously got the feeling that after they had the money in their hands the family were about to ask if they wanted to run over any more of their kids. People need to understand quite how alien the values of the Afghan culture actually are, because they don't seem to "get it".
 

Mouldy13

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I know, I've seen it happen, then the driver of one of my friends skittled a kid on the edge of Kabul. It basically amounted to a $300 blood money fine and another $50 to the police to organize a peaceful meeting. I seriously got the feeling that after they had the money in their hands the family were about to ask if they wanted to run over any more of their kids.
Once again absolutely not, an outrageous statement
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Yeah, sounds like these ASF guys were too trigger happy, and they will have to live with what they did, but what they did pales to utter insignificance next to the brutality routinely dished out to the civilian population by the Taliban, Al-Quaeda and ISIS, and the casual brutality of Afghan society in general. We are talking about a society of tribal warfare, slavery, all the "good stuff". If the Afghans themselves treat each other as if their lives don't matter, and suicide bombing points to the same opinion by many people in that community about their own lives, how are outsiders supposed to value the lives of these people? I mean, this is a land where you can literally pay blood price of a couple of hundred dollars and the local community will say "no harm, no foul". I know, I've seen it happen, then the driver of one of my friends skittled a kid on the edge of Kabul. It basically amounted to a $300 blood money fine and another $50 to the police to organize a peaceful meeting. I seriously got the feeling that after they had the money in their hands the family were about to ask if they wanted to run over any more of their kids. People need to understand quite how alien the values of the Afghan culture actually are, because they don't seem to "get it".
Well what are we doing there anyway?

If there is no hope whatsoever of the allies bringing even a modicum of civilisation to Afghanistan, then our troops are being killed and maimed for nothing.
Maybe we should bring our boys (and girls) home and let the Afghans emerge from dark ages barbarity at their own pace?
 

ramonmercado

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Well what are we doing there anyway?

If there is no hope whatsoever of the allies bringing even a modicum of civilisation to Afghanistan, then our troops are being killed and maimed for nothing.
Maybe we should bring our boys (and girls) home and let the Afghans emerge from dark ages barbarity at their own pace?
The original intervention with Special Forces embedded with much larger Afghan units was probably the way to do things, it worked. More boots on the ground didn't. Same is true of the US Special Forces embedded with Kurds in Syria, unfortunately they were withdrawn and the Kurds were left at the mercy of the Turks who back some of the non-ISIS jihadis.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The original intervention with Special Forces embedded with much larger Afghan units was probably the way to do things, it worked. More boots on the ground didn't. Same is true of the US Special Forces embedded with Kurds in Syria, unfortunately they were withdrawn and the Kurds were left at the mercy of the Turks who back some of the non-ISIS jihadis.
Good point, notably about the malicious Turkish involvement.

Also regarding the Kurdish people, one can't help but recall the justification for the war against Saddam's regime.
His genocide against the Kurds obviously needed to be opposed, but did Allied intervention ultimately make things better or worse?
 

EnolaGaia

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Yeah, sounds like these ASF guys were too trigger happy, and they will have to live with what they did, but what they did pales to utter insignificance next to the brutality routinely dished out to the civilian population by the Taliban, Al-Quaeda and ISIS, and the casual brutality of Afghan society in general. We are talking about a society of tribal warfare, slavery, all the "good stuff". If the Afghans themselves treat each other as if their lives don't matter, and suicide bombing points to the same opinion by many people in that community about their own lives, how are outsiders supposed to value the lives of these people? ... People need to understand quite how alien the values of the Afghan culture actually are, because they don't seem to "get it".
In asymmetrical conflicts (e.g., conventional military versus militaristic partisans) there are multiple asymmetries in play. From the conventional military perspective, consideration is typically limited to asymmetries in capabilities, tactics, and strategies. This consideration invariably runs into (but rarely acknowledges, much less resolves ... ) a separately-delineated asymmetry in culture and sociocultural values.

In overseas / expeditionary campaigns personnel are expected to adhere to their own (native) constellation of orientations and values while engaging adversaries who do not recognize, much less share, them. The stress of engaging enemies who don't play by your own set of fundamental rules falls almost wholly upon the conventional military personnel in-theater, who are confronted with tactics they are officially prohibited from employing themselves. These innate stressors lead to results ranging from burn-out and PTSD to breakdowns in which soldiers abandon prescribed protocols and emulate the barbarity of the enemy.

This isn't new. For example, the very same points you make about such asymmetry in Afghanistan were made a half-century ago about Americans in Vietnam. I'm personally acquainted with some who suffered the personal and professional carnage it caused.

This asymmetry is a feature of the battlespace context. It's essentially a given - take it or leave it ...

Regardless of the problems such sociocultural asymmetries (and their implications) induce, they do not justify acceptance - much less approval - of any outsiders' adoption of tactics or practices just because the enemy gets away with doing it. There's no place for childish whataboutery in the context of something as deadly serious as war and warfare.
 

Victory

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No, I'm sorry, this did not happen, I'm not suggesting you are lying, but you've been lied to
Really?
Based on what?
You were in the Paras too?
You saw everything that happened there?
Very easy for someone on the internet to write "That didn't happen."
I have never been to Northern Ireland, but my friend served and told me about some of his experiences.
What possible reason did he have to lie?
I do not have an in-built lie detector, but I know the context of the conversation we had about it, and there was no element of bragging at all.
It was not something he offered up readily, or publicly.
It was a private conversation about some serious issues in life, on the back of him knowing he did not have long left to live because of cancer.
 
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Mouldy13

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Really?
Based on what?
You were in the Paras too?
You saw everything that happened there?
Very easy for someone on the internet to write "That didn't happen."
I have never been to Northern Ireland, but my friend served and told me about some of his experiences.
What possible reason did he have to lie?
I do not have an in-built lie detector, but I know the context of the conversation we had about it, and there was no element of bragging at all.
It was not something he offered up readily, or publicly.
It was a private conversation about some serious issues in life, on the back of him knowing he did not have long left to live because of cancer.
Based on my own and my family's pretty extensive experience of the troubles

No but I was a member of Fianna Éireann

Do you not think that if this had happened the british would not have publicised it heavily to prove they were up against "beasts and animals" as we were described more than once.

I will leave this here and say no more, I'm not here to proselytise or to fall out with anyone and certainly not to drag this thread way off topic.
 

balding13

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Really?
Based on what?
You were in the Paras too?
You saw everything that happened there?
Very easy for someone on the internet to write "That didn't happen."
I have never been to Northern Ireland, but my friend served and told me about some of his experiences.
What possible reason did he have to lie?
I do not have an in-built lie detector, but I know the context of the conversation we had about it, and there was no element of bragging at all.
It was not something he offered up readily, or publicly.
It was a private conversation about some serious issues in life, on the back of him knowing he did not have long left to live because of cancer.

If anything like this happened it would be widely known. There are multiple reasons why he might have told you this story and he may even have believed it. Full disclosure, I have worked with and know many of the ex combatants, on both sides. I also lived in NISC for a decade.
 

Patrick30

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Damn, you Brits are as loony as us Americans.
Occupying and or invading forces often do bad things, its pretty much a guarantee.
Justifying or condemning those things based on ideology, or what State, or side you’re on, that carries them out is childish and doesn’t do anybody any good.
My recommendation is to lock this shitshow.
But it’s just a thought, y’all have a nice day.
 

AlchoPwn

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Once again absolutely not, an outrageous statement
You weren't there, and you didn't see the huge smile they got when my friend handed over the money. It was a slightly more than trivial sum for us, but a small fortune for them. Families over there regularly have trouble feeding their kids, and if it is bad in Afghanistan, it is many times worse in Baluchistan. What do you say when the person who killed their kid is brought in and encouraged to have their daughter sit on their knee? You see, you don't get the "implication". The entire business was stomach churning, and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
 
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