Alleged SAS War Crimes Report

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Always interesting to see where people draw their ethical boundaries and if it's conveniently exactly the same as the law.
More interesting to see them dissolve or stick to an increasingly panicked sense of the wrong answer when a gnarled LE or TL really goes after their response.

But they do neatly demonstrate that whatever we like to pretend in public, to some problems there is no right answer.

(I don't think this video is one of those before we occupy another two pages with a strawman)
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Other than shooting someone with their hands up, this is almost as clear-cut as it gets. If people on arrse think this is a debatable example then I worry about what they'd do when faced with an actual grey area.
Sorry, I'm reading things in reverse order, but thought this afforded a specific response:

I am where I am on the fence about this precisely because of the two examples I raised in my previous long post. I very nearly shot and likely killed a guy and his kid without either being aware of the kid, and being fairly convinced he could be a genuine threat. It should be quite hard to have that experience and not recognise the substantial degree of subjectivity and error in these judgements. Accordingly, I try to apply that lesson to others in potentially similar situations. I've also done site investigations of incidents and seen the wild degree of variation in accounts, particularly in contact or extreme stress events.

Video is a useful tool, but few people seem to really understand how much our individual perceptions can vary from what is objectively happening. It's not just a question of moral decision making, it's a question of whether someone is seeing a common reality.
 
It also relies on proving the soldier knew or should have known it was an illegal order, which my whole argument is, was substantially clouded by context and some ROE.
It relies on the fairly simple point hammered into recruits that you don't shoot compliant captives regardless of ROE.

This is not some legal sophistry we're debating. Sure, if a soldier on ops needs to know the correct way to address the second cousin of a baronet then they can defer to the chain of command to inform them if the subtleties. There are no subtleties when it comes to a person who's been in your control for several minutes and has no obvious weapon or immediate hostile intent.

It's fundamentally the difference between a soldier and an assassin.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
It relies on the fairly simple point hammered into recruits that you don't shoot compliant captives regardless of ROE.
Well if my experience had been that point was hammered into recruits rather than at key points the opposite, then perhaps I would be inclined to see this more clearly and assume that others must too. It wasn't, so I don't.

There was a not uncommon lesson that returned from, I think first, the Black Watch in Fallujah, but also other regiments and tours, that a significant minority of compliant captives exploded. This factually happened, and it led to both updated capture/search drills, and a number of DS teaching drills other than LOAC, as I referenced previously. A lot of soldiers took the lesson that a live captive who didn't respond perfectly to English orders was likely to be an SIED threat, rather than didn't understand English. This was the wrong lesson, but it was based on real information. Simply saying: you must treat captives according to LOAC clearly didn't have the practical effect you imagine.

When/where/what did you serve in, out of curiosity?
 
But they do neatly demonstrate that whatever we like to pretend in public, to some problems there is no right answer.
There's always a right answer. Sometimes we just don't like it and don't want to live with it, that's all.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
There's always a right answer. Sometimes we just don't like it and don't want to live with it, that's all.
Risk the secondary IED or leave the small child maimed in the first blast to bleed out?

Right answer please.

Also available in other forms of trolley problem.
 
Risk the secondary IED or leave the small child maimed in the first blast to bleed out?

Right answer please.
Don't commit murder. A sin of commission always outweighs a sin of omission.

Sometimes we just don't like the answer and don't want to live with it, that's all.
 

RaiderBoat

On ROPS
On ROPs
Looks like you have got him bang to rights, Perry Mason. Have you thought of a job with the Australian Federal Police.
Don’t have to be a dick when someone points out the obvious when people are stating it’s a defensive shoot…but then again, it seems you probably NEED outside intervention.

You can go now.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Don't commit murder. A sin of commission always outweighs a sin of omission.

Sometimes we just don't like the answer and don't want to live with it, that's all.

Interesting your moral rule means leaving a kid to bleed out is preferable to taking risk yourself.

Ok, you have stated a rule though. What about giving three morphine injectors to a mortally wounded and very in pain prisoner, let's say a severe burn victim, who - for whatever reason, inaccessibility, overload, non availability - isn't going to get sufficient medical treatment to survive? Is that different to shooting them, and if so, why? What about if they ask you to? I'd also like to hear your reasoning why leaving them to die in extreme pain is more moral than ending it for them.

Also, at what stage do you personally draw the line of 'murder'? UBL? An armed nominated target? An unarmed one (was Stauffenberg going to murder Hitler?) A kid killed accidentally during a strike on a nominated target? Are these all equally deserving of condemnation?
 
Interesting your moral rule means leaving a kid to bleed out is preferable to taking risk yourself.
The moral rule is to be moral.

Interesting to think you can thrown them out the window and still have them. Interesting, but not entirely unexpected.
 
D

Deleted 187397

Guest
The moral rule is to be moral.

Interesting to think you can thrown them out the window and still have them. Interesting, but not entirely unexpected.

However, the legal system is not synonymous with justice in the moral sense. I suspect that is something we can all agree on?

Maybe with regards to your stance on the single data point you are basing your conclusion on (the video) we need to distinguish between your own morality/moral values and the law.
 
Maybe with regards to your stance on the single data point you are basing your conclusion on (the video) we need to distinguish between your own morality/moral values and the law.
The video which shows due grounds for investigation (apparently unarmed man killed while presenting no visible threat) and the law which says such an investigation should be carried out?

Sure, I'm happy with that.
 
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Deleted 187397

Guest
The video which shows due grounds for investigation (apparently unarmed man killed while presenting no visible threat) and the law which says such an investigation should be carried out?

Sure, I'm happy with that.
With the greatest of respect I don’t think anyone in this conversation has issue with the fact an investigation is ongoing. I certainly don’t and I certainly am not stating that what we seen in the footage was legitimate. What I am saying is we don’t have access to all the facts and context.
What you do appear to have is a predetermined conclusion of guilt. It seems the chain of events you have settled on is an unarmed civilian was murdered. Maybe you are right but I suspect more facts and evidence is required.

We do not know the ROE that was authorised for this SF operation. We do not know if pre approved kill/capture was in place. We do not know if PGSS, for instance, had observed the FAM and confirmed he was involved in an attack or the attack was imminent (remote detonator etc). We also do not see exactly what the journalist providing the voice over is saying. From the angle of the camera much our view is obstructed by the grass. Regardless of what the voice over is saying we cannot see the clear absence of a weapon or radio. We do not know about recent or ongoing En fire missions.

I am not saying this is the case, only that there are things we cannot see or possibly know. What is telling and substantially weakens the troopers account is the discrepancies in their AAR. Nonetheless, no matter how much the footage shocks you there is clearly a bigger picture that you might be wilfully ignoring here.
 
What you do appear to have is a predetermined conclusion of guilt.
I'm neither a judge nor a jury, but I am an adult with a functioning brain and can form an opinion based on what evidence is available to me. I can also revise it as new evidence emerges.

What I can also do is spot where people are prepared to give a free pass to some suspects on the basis of lack of knowledge information but will happily e-lynch others if they're someone else's troops.

What would you say if it turned out the VDV had been eliminating certain Ukrainians strictly in accordance with their RoE?
 
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Deleted 187397

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I'm neither a judge nor a jury, but I am an adult with a functioning brain and can form an opinion based on what evidence is available to me. I can also revise it as new evidence emerges.

What I can also do is spot where people are prepared to give a free pass to some suspects on the basis of lack of knowledge information but will happily e-lynch others if they're someone else's troops.

What would you say if it turned out the VDV had been eliminating certain Ukrainians strictly in accordance with their RoE?

I’m not quite sure why you have introduced this tangent about hypocrisy and double standards. I’m not particularly interested in following you down that path as it doesn’t seem relevant to this discussion.

I think what you are tugging at is the relationship between law and morality. As I said in a previous post they aren’t always synonymous. Taking our own country as an example- I don’t think it is controversial to claim that we do not have a moral uniformity within society. Not all behaviour you may find immoral is criminalised. The law doesn’t always reflect a persons moral values. This includes, for example, the legal use of force our own troops have used on operations. Staying with the UK as an example our various ROE are not cooked up by military commanders. The framework is ultimately approved by UK government ministers who obviously need to consider legal implications. There may be valid political reasons for ROE not to be restricted to self defence (421-429a for instance)

Your Russia/Ukraine digression is more a moral question than a legal one. I am sure you can appreciate that ROE varies from nation to nation. I’ve personally deployed alongside elements of the US forces who have a much wider and more permissive ROE than ours. I have also been on operations in Afghanistan 2010/2011 with very permissive ROE in place in certain Op boxes. We also were authorised to take a robust approach towards dickers in NES (S) and NAD (N) during contact/offensive Ops. Moral? Perhaps not to you. Legal? Yes.

When considering the SASR in the video it goes without saying that all the blokes on the ground have an individual responsibility for ensuring that they are aware of relevant ROE, and are informed about the extent of it. Even when
making important and often time-critical decisions, they are still accountable through law for their actions. The video doesn’t provide enough information or context- do you agree?
 
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I’m not quite sure why you have introduced this tangent about hypocrisy and double standards.
Because the argument, "Oh but maybe ROE justify it!" reeks of it.

If there genuinely are ROE which allow our armed forces to shoot surrendered personnel without even so much as checking fingerprints or referring to a photograph then the legal basis for those ROE is morally bankrupt and any organisation could claim similar for any purpose.

We're not the ******* SS.
 
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Deleted 187397

Guest
Because the argument, "Oh but maybe ROE justify it!" reeks of it.

If there genuinely are ROE which allow our armed forces to shoot surrendered personnel without even so much as checking fingerprints or referring to a photograph then the legal basis for those ROE is morally bankrupt and any organisation could claim similar for any purpose.

We're not the ******* SS.

Out of curiosity when and where did you serve?
 
Out of curiosity when and where did you serve?
British Army, Infantry, late 80s to early 00s. I was on most of the package tours of the time.

I managed not to shoot anyone lying on the ground after casually asking if I ought.
 

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