SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at illegal American tac

#1
From the Sunday Telegraph:

An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces.

After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human.

The decision marks the first time an SAS soldier has refused to go into combat and quit the Army on moral grounds.

It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan.

But it will also embarrass the Government and have a potentially profound impact on cases of other soldiers who have refused to fight.

On Wednesday, the pre-trial hearing will begin into the court martial of Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a Royal Air Force doctor who has refused to return to Iraq for a third tour of duty on the grounds that the war is illegal. Mr Griffin's allegations came as the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, visiting Basra yesterday, admitted that Iraq was now "a mess".

Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He added that many innocent civilians were arrested in night-time raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, or handed over to the Iraqi authorities and "most probably" tortured.

Mr Griffin eventually told SAS commanders at Hereford that he could not take part in a war which he regarded as "illegal".

He added that he now believed that the Prime Minister and the Government had repeatedly "lied" over the war's conduct.

"I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy," he said. He expected to be labelled a coward and to face a court martial and imprisonment after making what "the most difficult decision of my life" last March.

Instead, he was discharged with a testimonial describing him as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions".

Last night Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security, said: "Trooper Griffin is a highly experienced soldier. This makes his decision particularly disturbing and his views and opinions must be listened to by the Government."
 

Nehustan

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On ROPs
#2
Mr_C_Hinecap said:
After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human.
Only one thing springs to my mind, and I have been told that 'they' have a penchant for Nietzsche...

[align=center]'Übermensch'[/align]
 
#4
When's the book coming out?
 
#5
Not much chance of this happening further up the chain on matters of principle, I cant help the feeling that there is a strong whiff of personal politics in this. Whatever the press report this is also ammunition for Galloway and the stop the war loons/lefties.


Maybe I'm just very cynical
 

Nehustan

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On ROPs
#7
Vonshot said:
Not much chance of this happening further up the chain on matters of principle, I cant help the feeling that there is a strong whiff of personal politics in this. Whatever the press report this is also ammunition for Galloway and the stop the war loons/lefties.


Maybe I'm just very cynical
In all fairness to 'the Brass' their first duty is to their men in the field, dissent is ok in the NAAFI, I'd imagine in combat it would cost lives, they (the Brass) are not politicians as I said in an email to an army lawyer recently 'The army doesn't designate enemies...it fights them'. Imagine the chaos if the Brass started to dissent!!!!!
 
#8
Sorry to rock the boat, and I couldn't care less if he's in The Regiment or not. The day we have an army that runs on a moral "a la carte" when it comes to deployments is the day we might as well not have an army. Seen something dodgy? Report it, job done, conscience clear. The bloke disagrees with policy, doesn't want to play anymore, signs off. Again, Job done, no problem.

When's the book due?
 
#9
With you on that, Vonshot. I`ve been close to a couple of "resignation in principle cases" and in my book they were tired and emotional attention seekers who were not up to the job. Difficult one. Guess we`ll have to wait for the book - him being from Hereford.
 
#10
I only saw the headline as I collected the papers and before the above comments but something struck me as fishy. He claims he expected beasting of some sort but came up smelling of roses. My main thought was that he has an agenda here - surely, had he gone to His Boss and asked to be put on other duties they would have tried to accommodate him rather than waste a good man. What he has done is generate a lot of bullshine from the jump on a bandwagon politicos and heartache merchants. Does not say much for his mates who are soldiering on with the US liaison either - if you swallow his story whole.
 
#11
Perhaps it was go before he was pushed and make a fuss about something to put up a smoke screen to cover the real reason? sour grapes perchance.
 
#12
Of course it's significant that he was in the SAS, the Special Authors Service, I know it's already been said but there's a book opportunity whether he's right or wrong. Courage of conviction is so much easier with an excellent book deal. Still he has got balls which will no doubt appear in chapters three to five. Don't know about the US side of the book deal, it might have to be re-written to suit their peculiar tastes and their aversion to the truth.
 
#13
^ I'm perfectly prepared to accept that (A) this bloke is genuine and (B) the Americans are rubbish at counter-insurgency and that Iraq is an irrevocably broken mess.

Good luck to him, he's made a tough personal decision but it makes no difference to the principle.
 
#14
The fatal divide at the heart of the Coalition
By Max Hastings Sunday Telegraph
(Filed: 12/03/2006)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/...006/03/12/do1201.xml&sSheet=/portal/2006/03/1


Here is a quote from a British security contractor in Iraq about his American counterparts: "I hate those bastards more than the scumbag insurgents." A British colonel recently returned from a tour in the country said that, in our next war, he would sooner fight alongside the Russians than the US.

John
Cum on Sergei
 
#15
At least he left, unlike the guin Doctor, who thinks he could get the good life with all the perks and pick and choose where he went.
 
#16
if that story is true and accurate, i admire his principles. however i will reserve final judgement as i don't know the full details or the person involved.

there are far too many people in the army today who have flexible principles, do questionable things without thinking, and have not got the moral courage to stand up and say "this is wrong, i'm not doing it."

moral courage means doing the right thing regardles of the consequences - and often leads to repercussions, harassment, intimidation and isolation. i am not in the least bit surprised that he said he expected to be branded a coward and court-martialled.

personally, i am not going to call into question the bravery and integrity of a guy who did 8 years, including passing selection and doing two years with them.

we all know how sh*t the spams are. the only reason this story is news, is that this guy seems to have actually done something about it.

sure, he can now go back out there and do a similar job for a brit firm and popstar wages, if that's what he wants. there may well be other motives, other subplots in the tale. but i have absolutely no reason to doubt that working with the spams was a contributary factor in him deciding to leave.

whilst home on R&R mid-tour, he requested an interview with the CO and told him that he would no longer work with the americans. he had an exemplary career, including service in NI, macedonia and afghaninstan as well as iraq. he told his CoC that he could not take part in a war he regarded as illegal. and his discharge said he was a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions".

this does not sound to me like a "tired and emotional attention seeker" (tangofoweralpha). it sounds to me like someone disturbed by the tactics of the yanks, had enough, told his boss, and was told to put up, or shut up and get on with it. he put up, stuck to his principles, and when forced to make a decision by the chain of command, refused to take any further part in what he regarded as an illegal war in iraq. hence, discharge.

obviously, we only have this slant on the story so far. but if all that sounds to you like an attention seeker rather than someone with principles, then that's your lookout.

personally, i wish people would not be so quick to slate someone who does something like this. it takes balls.

here's the full interview:

http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/03/12/nsas112.xml
 
#18
He has earned the right to comment in public, which is more than can be said for the majority of commentators and politicians who would run in terror from even a whiff of danger.
 
#19
Veg. gets it right.

An illegal order, and one he would have the right to refuse would be something along the lines of "Shoot those kids Trooper X". International lawyers can argue the toss over the 'legality' until the cows come home, but a serviceman's duty is to obey orders and to take part in any deployment ordered by his democratically elected government. If people start picking and choosing the whole thing will fall apart, and it will fall apart PDQ, especially if the lead is given by someone as respected as a member of 'them'.

If your time is up and you don't want to sign up again because of your misgivings, then, fine, but don't go running to the Press to drop your mates and colleagues in the sh1t. The bottom line is that in principle there isn't that much difference between this bloke and Solomou, being in the Regiment doesn't put you above all criticism or give you carte blanche to embarrass your country.
 
#20
Fair one. The guy's done his time and if he no longer wants to continue, that's up to him. If he can make a few quid flogging some SAS-Porn, again, good luck to him. Beats working for a living.
As for his comments about the Americans viewing the Iraqi's as "Untermench" - what's his point? They do come from the shallow end of the gene-pool.
 

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